Marcy's the dynamic lady behind (Don't Be) Too Timid and Squeamish, the down-to-earth, inspirational blog that encourages people to challenge their personal limits. I've been a follower of Marcy's blog for over a year, and it's a pleasure to host her writing on Trish, Alex, and Sage.
In the paragraphs below, Marcy writes about her family's adventurous visit to the remote and craggy Skellig Michael.
Out to Sea: Visiting an Ancient Monastery
by Marcy Light
Our boys, ages 8 and 9, were good travelers. They hardly ever complained and were interested in pretty much everything, but we knew waking them in the wee hours to coax their tired bodies up the many steps to see some ancient ruins would be pushing it. We showed them the short description in the guidebook:“ It will be an adventure!” Just getting there was an adventure in itself.
We drove our rental car through narrow, winding village streets, pointing south. Although we had allotted four hours, what we thought was time to spare, the slow journey from County Clare to Portmagee made us late. We just missed the one ferry of the day to Skellig Michael.
The ferry’s office worker was friendly, but the ferry had left and there was nothing she could do. Sometimes fishermen agreed to take people out, she said.
Overcoming our shyness, we approached some gruff fishermen loading equipment onto their boat at the pier. Yes, they could take us out.
So there we were bumping along on the rough waves heading out into the open sea. I hugged the edge of the small boat, cold and wary in a steady drizzle; the boys were thrilled, though, and bounced along with the swells.
Soon enough, we approached Skellig Michael. It rose up out of the grim, grey sea like a craggy beast shrouded in fog, with puffins and seabirds dotting its cliffs.
As we started our climb up a winding path of 800 roughly hewn stone slabs, I marveled at the early Irish Christian monks who had settled on this island in 588 AD seeking solitude and an ascetic lifestyle. They had certainly found it.
We took breaks as the boys tired, reminding them that this was all part of being on an adventure. A thousand years before, Irish monks had brought a dairy cow up these same slippery steps. If she could do it, we could do it, I said.
At the top, we visited an ancient monastery, beehive huts, and a small cemetery. The remoteness of this UNESCO World Heritage site helped to keep it well preserved.
The way down was much easier. As we took one step at a time, my younger son held my hand and babbled a stream of consciousness story about a superhero fighting off one enemy after another, the cliffs and harrowing views becoming a part of his tale.
|The steps of Skellig Michael|
Back on the boat, we anchored next to the nearby smaller island, Little Skellig, its cliffs turned nearly white by thousands of nesting seabirds. A man with us fished its waters while we listened to the birds calling overhead.
We returned to our cottage late that night and had a quick bite in the village pub. Warm and dry, the Guinness tasted especially good, and the boys slept well, ready for a new adventure in the morning.