Thursday, June 20, 2013

Guest Post: Marcy Light

I'm thrilled to introduce my first guest blogger, Marcy Light.

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
For years, my husband and I have used a little trick whenever we’ve faced a challenging situation with our boys. We’re not miserable, we tell them. We’re on an adventure.  This technique was especially useful when we put them through an exhaustive climb up steep steps to the top of Skellig Michael, a small island an hour’s boat ride off Ireland’s coast.

Skellig Michael

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.

You can read more of Marcy Light's adventures in her blog, (Don't Be) Too Timid and Squeamish.  Marcy is also the author of the recently published Timid No More: How I Broke Out of My Comfort Zone by Doing 101 Things and How You Can Break Out of Yours.


Marcy said...

Thank you so much for featuring my story. I love reading about your adventures and am honored to be included on your blog.

Patricia Ellis Herr, Alexandra Herr, and Sage Herr said...

Marcy, thank YOU for sharing your experience! :)

Beverly Diehl said...

I remember reading somewhere that cows and horses can go UP stairs, but not down, and speculation on how the first person found that out.

In any event, so glad you got to go on this adventure, steps and all. Loreena McKennitt has a beautiful song called Skellig about the loneliest of being the last monk alive on the island, and while her lyrics paint a wonderful picture, seeing actual photos and another story was exciting. Thanks for sharing.

Marcy said...

That is a very beautiful song, Beverly. Thank you.

Jacleen freeda said...

Travelling is good. It creates excitement in life. It brings a change in monotonous life. It gives nice and memorable experiences. I also like travelling a lot.

Michelle @ Modern Acupuncture Peru said...

Beautifully written. I love the comment about, "if the dairy cow can make, we can make it." Thank you for sharing - I didn't even know this place existed. I'll add it to my bucket list for Ireland, because I absolutely love ancient sites. Thank you!