Skellig Michael Lighthouse


Skellig Michael Lighthouse off the Kerry coast in Ireland’s South West.

A4 (210 x 297mm) : 250g/m² archival art paper

A3 (297 x 420mm) : 250g/m² archival art paper

Artist: Roger O’Reilly

The artist signs each poster.

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A Bit of History

Skelligs Lighthouse is one of the main sea lights off the South West coast and is located on the outer and larger of the Skellig rocks, 13km west of Bolus Head and 20km by sea from Portmagee. This is where St Fionan established his monastery with its collection of beehive dwellings, oratories and crosses in the late sixth century. The beautifully crafted community of dwellings and places of worship continue to draw visitors and scholars from around the world. Since featuring in a number of the Star Wars sequels, the rock also attracts aficionados of the movie series.

Located close to the beehives is a medieval chapel and two wells dedicated to Saint Michael who appropriately is the patron saint of high places. The monastery, as it is usually referred to, is positioned on the south side of the Northeast peak at a height of around 167 metres above sea level.

There were originally two lights on Skellig Michael; the upper and lower. When Inishtearaght, 35 km north of the Skellig rocks and the most westerly island of the Blaskets, was established on 1st May 1870, the upper light of Skellig was discontinued.

During the Second World War, the Skelligs would have been a familiar sight to supply convoys plying the route from Newfoundland to Britain. In February 1944 an American flying boat, while on a reconnaissance mission to identify U boats tailing the convoys, clipped the rock, exploded and crashed into the sea. A search by Keepers and British aircraft found neither survivors nor wreckage.

By 1969, fortnightly reliefs by helicopter had taken over from the Service Steamer out of Castletownbere and a reinforced concrete landing pad was built on the rock near the diesel derrick at Cross Cove. The light was converted to solar power in November 2000.

Location:    51°46.108′ North, 10°32.519′ West.

Elevation:   53 m

Character:  Fl (3) 15s.

Range:         22 km

A Note from the Artist

Trips to the Skelligs can be a hairy experience. Boats only venture out if there’s a decent chance of landing, but ‘decent’ can be a relative term and getting on and off the boat with a sizeable swell at the landing stage can be as challenging as climbing the famous 618 steps. I’ve illustrated the lighthouse from above. No matter where you move on the island there is a vertiginous drop below you. Maybe the monks grew wings, but certainly they must have been impervious to any fear of heights!



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