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Extreme pilgrimage – 1905

Skellig Michael Photo: Jerzy Strzelecki Wikimedia commons

Skellig Michael
Photo: Jerzy Strzelecki
Wikimedia commons

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Daily Press, 5th March 1905 P5
IRISH PILGRIMS TO THE SKELLIG ROCKS RISK THEIR LIVES

Ten miles off the coast of Kerry, in the west of Ireland, lie the Skellig rocks, one of which has been for years the scene of a difficult penance. A zig-zag path leads up some 700 feet to a lighthouse, but 700 feet more must be climbed before the summit is reached, where stand the ruins of St. Finian’s monastery and a cross of St. Michael.
Here on the anniversary of St. Michael devotees risk their lives in performing their devotions. First they have to squeeze themselves through the Needle’s Eye, a tunnel in the rock thirteen feet long, the passing up which is like the ascent of a chimney. Then they creep on all fours up the Stone of Pain, on whose smooth surface one false step is fatal: then, getting astride the Spindle, a rock 1,500 feet above the Atlantic and projecting some ten feet, each pilgrim must “ride a cock horse to St. Michael’s cross,” say a Paternoster and shuffle back as best he can.
Pearson’s weekly.

About The Burren and Beyond

B.A., M.A.(Archaeology); Regional Tour Guide; Dip. Radio Media Tech; H.Dip. Computer Science.

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