The sea has forever been a part of life in County Kerry and nowhere more than on the Iveragh peninsula, a cul de sac off the picturesque Ring of Kerry tourist trail.
The Agnes Olibhéar slips from her berth into the Portmagee channel daily at 11 a.m., past Valentia Island and Bray Head into the Atlantic Ocean.
Across the channel is the Skelligs Experience exhibition and ahead lies a sea journey of approximately one hour and 15 minutes with land always in view. While on board Eoin Walsh regales his passengers.
Ahead, often shrouded in mist, lie the islands with Skellig Michael towering 714 feet above sea level. Frequent choppy seas and the sheer power of Nature confound visitors while the determination and devotion of those who sought spiritual refuge here gives credit. Majesty and humility join together.
Once on the island, visitors are free to explore the island’s scenery, wildlife and archaeology for two and a half hours before departing on the return journey to Portmagee. Visitors can expect the Skellig Michael experience - depending on weather conditions - with arrival back to port to take a total of five hours.
The Irish Office of Public Works, which has responsibility for the day-to-day running of all national monuments and historic properties, notes: It is important to stress, however, that Skellig Michael is also a wilderness site and a designated Nature Reserve. For safety reasons, because the steps up to the monastery are rock, steep, and old, climbs are not permitted during very wet or windy weather. Climbs are permitted under the supervision of the OPW guides that are on site (proper hiking boots essential) There are also dive sites immediately around the rock. It presents a unique and challenging landscape, and visitors must take care at all times.