“An incredible, impossible, crazy place that still induces devotees to crawl into dark caverns and kiss” panic stones “that throw themselves 700 feet high over the Atlantic,” wrote writer George Bernard Shaw in 1910 to describe Skellig Michael , in Gaelic Rock of Michael, the largest islet of the Irish archipelago of Skellig.
A rock against which the ocean shows all its power, defined by all as anything but a “safe haven”. Yet a handful of adventurous Christian monks managed to colonize it in 588, reaching it aboard rudimentary but agile boats and then climbing to the top and building the most daring of the monasteries there.
To admire all this we will have to wait at least until next year. The authorities have decided that this year the island will not open to tourists, just like its twin sister Little Skellig, both chosen as the location for filming the Star Wars saga The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.
“On a mobile platform that is constantly moving like a small boat, social distancing cannot be guaranteed” and obviously “everyone needs direct assistance to get on the ship safely and get off at the pier”. Conditions that make it impossible to land on the island devoted to San Michele in the time of Covid-19.
To make the reopening even more difficult are the narrow passageways that climb the cliff overlooking the ocean, “dangerous” not only for visitors but also for service staff and tourist guides. In short, for now we will have to settle for these photographs or watch them again in streaming.
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