Skellig Michael

Skellig Michael

… was here a week and a bit back. Southwest Ireland, this rock off the coast. Worth grepping about the web, if you’ve a sec, and this is new to you. You’ve probably seen the clocháns at the top if you’ve seen either of the recent Star Wars films (they used them for Luke’s ‘Jedi monastery’, and they were a monastery, for some centuries, some centuries back, now).

The whole area of Southwest Ireland is beautiful. Mostly fairly sparsely populated, craggy, eroded Old Red Sandstone stuff. Narrow, windy roads, bits of stone construction from the iron age and earlier scattered around everywhere. Learning to drive on the left (in a standard, with the shift, therefore, on the left, too) in those was a bit of an adventure. As also was climbing the also narrow, also windy staircases the monks built more than a millenium back on the larger skellig.

I got to wondering, looking at those staircases, what the sociology of the place was like. Whether the building was advertised as a devotional exercise, more taken as a work gang detail thing, seen as some ‘civilizing the wilderness’ deal, or more, just, look, you’re on an island, it’s craggy, it’s stormy, there’s hardly anywhere safe even to stand, let alone lie down or farm. So you’re going to have to make it a little less lethal, somehow. And, listen, you’re on an island—what else are you gonna do with your time? Like real-life Minecraft for monks.

Weird parts of driving a right-hand drive vehicle: hitting the wrong gear, sporadically, for a while—wanting third, hitting first (this is generally startling to unfortunate passengers); not even sure what was going on there, cognitively; might have just been generic clumsiness of my not-very practised left hand. And, oddly, reaching across my body for the window controls with my left, too.


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