On our 2nd day, we drove the Ring of Kerry. The entire ring. It was long, intensely beautiful, and…well, intensely beautiful. Pictures and words simply don’t do it justice. I wish I could do it justice because my feelings attached to this experience feel trapped inside of me…like an aching drumbeat. I want to return to the spot and time of standing at land’s edge, looking out over the choppy waters of the Atlantic.
The Ring of Kerry features the Skellig Islands, which were featured in “The Force Awakens” Star Wars movie.
SPOILER ALERT! DON’T READ IF YOU HAVEN’T YET SEEN “THE FORCE AWAKENS”
When Rey discovers Luke at the end of the movie, Luke is on one of the Skellig Islands. Ok, end of spoiler.
While currently enjoying renewed fame and popularity thanks to Star Wars, the Skelligs are ancient tourist attractions in Ireland, serving as the site of a monastic community that was built over the course of centuries, starting in the 6th century. We enjoyed the “Skellig Experience,” a museum about the Islands, which provided the history of the monastic community, the wildlife inhabiting the islands, as well as the sea life in the waters around the islands. It was wonderful — the scenes were breathtaking, and the Skellig Experience Visitor Centre put it into such wonderful perspective.
Our tour guide Dermott drove us up to the most advantageous viewing point of the islands so we could hop off the bus and click a few photos. One of them is below. The Skellig Islands are the small dots of land in the very back horizon, near the upper right of the photo. The distance from land gives some sense of how profoundly isolated the islands are, particularly for 6th century monks.