Saturday, July 27, 2013



The title of this post refers to a remote, difficult to reach location, 11.6 km off the west coast of Ireland.  It was uninhabited prior to the foundation of its monastery here in the 8th or 9th century when Duagh, King of West Munster, fled there after a feud with another local king.   So says the legend.   The seas can  be rough so it is amazing how the journey was managed at that time by either sail or oars.

A Christian monastery was founded there and it is said that the monks helped keep literacy alive during the Dark ages.  I think that can be said of many monasteries and nunneries as well.   It was abandoned in the 12th century and is now a UNESCO world heritage site.    Skellig Michael is difficult to get to but my plan is to visit it at the beginning of August.

A song by Canadian Loreena Mckennitt describes the dying words of a monk from Skellig Michael:


O light the candle, John
The daylight has almost gone
The birds have sung their last
The bells call all to mass

Sit here by my side
For the night is very long
There's something I must tell
Before I pass along

I joined the brotherhood
My books were all to me
I scribed the words of God
And much of history

Many a year was I
Perched out upon the sea
The waves would wash my tears,
The wind, my memory

I'd hear the ocean breathe
Exhale upon the shore
I knew the tempest's blood
Its wrath I would endure

And so the years went by
Within my rocky cell
With only a mouse or bird
My friend; I loved them well

And so it came to pass
I'd come here to Romani
And many a year it took
Till I arrived here with thee

On dusty roads I walked
And over mountains high
Through rivers running deep
Beneath the endless sky

Beneath these jasmine flowers
Amidst these cypress trees
I give you now my books
And all their mysteries

Now take the hourglass
And turn it on its head
For when the sands are still
'Tis then you'll find me dead

O light the candle, John
The daylight is almost gone
The birds have sung their last
The bells call all to mass.

(I'll be away on vacation for the next two weeks and not posting during that time.  Catch you later!)

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