Lens-Artists Challenge #65 – Pick a Place: Skellig Michael

The highlight of my trip to Ireland in 2015 was a visit to the rugged island Skellig Michael.  I had wanted to visit for three reasons.

First, it is home to many species of birds, including Atlantic puffins, gannets, kittiwakes, and others.  I was able to add some cool species to my life list and get very close and personal with these birds that are not afraid of humans.  It was even puffin breeding season.

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Second, the island is historically and culturally important, being the home of ascetic Christian monks for several centuries.  They built the winding staircases up the rocks and also built stone dwellings.  It is now a UNESCO heritage site.

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Third, the island stood in for the Jedi refuge of Ahch-To in the new Star Wars films.  They had been filming there the year before I went, and even though the movie The Force Awakens hadn’t even come out yet, I was excited to visit a Star Wars filming location.  And I loved seeing and recognizing the footage of Skellig Michael on the big screen later.

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But in the end, the reason that Skellig Michael is most memorable to me is the mental journey I took to get there.  You can read the whole story of my trip here, but I will just say that I will always be proud that I was able to overcome my anxiety to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

You can find more special places at the original Lens-Artist challenge.

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Lens-Artists Challenge #48 – WILD

I can’t think of a place that better encapsulates the idea of “wild” than Skellig Michael, off the coast of Ireland.  It was once inhabited by ascetic monks and is now home to colonies of seabirds, like these puffins that have little fear of people.

You can find more wild things at the original Lens-Artist challenge.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Elemental

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From Skellig Michael.

 

I really liked this picture this week because I see three of the four “traditional” elements represented here.

  • Earth: the sea campion and the rocks of Skellig Michael in the foreground and Little Skellig in the distance
  • Water: the rough waters of the Atlantic, pushing up against the two islands
  • Air: the puffins (Fratercula arctica) that nest on Skellig Michael. You can also see gannets and kittiwakes as little dots flying about in the distance.

My husband saw the image of Little Skellig as a battle between Earth and Water, with the Earth pushing up through the Water, and the Water fighting back, battering the rocks.  There is definitely something primal about these islands, another connotation with the word “elemental.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Elemental

Skellig Michael Birthday Cake

Are you sick of hearing about Skellig Michael on my blog yet?  Yes?  Well, too bad!

My mom made another of her amazing cakes for my birthday.  It was a “traditional” Funfetti cake that she decorated to look like Skellig Michael, where the ending scene of The Force Awakens was filmed and which I visited last summer in a very memorable experience.  

She used some small Bundt molds to make the mounds for Skellig Michael (on the right with the puffins and steps) and Little Skellig (on the left with the seals).

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Can’t you just see Rey walking up those steps?

 

She knew I was going to blog about this, so she made sure to put only ecologically accurate animals on (though the proportions are still a bit off…)

We have:

The puffins were hand-made out of marzipan, so they were tasty as well as adorable.  The cake itself was delicious, though the icing made our mouths turn blue.  

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I ate some of Skellig Michael with a puffin.

 

The lettering says “Breithlá Sona” which is apparently an Irish translation of “Happy Birthday” (at least according to Google 😉 ).  

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Gathering

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From Skellig Michael, County Kerry, Ireland.

A gathering of puffins on a sea-side rock cliff on the island of Skellig Michael, with Little Skellig in the background.  This island was featured at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Gathering