Skellig Michael is one of my favourite locations anywhere in the world. It has long been my desire to photograph the 6th century monastery here in good light, and in mid-2012 I was given the opportunity to do just that. Access to the island is restricted with tourists only permitted between the hours of 10am and 4pm - which is unfortunately when the light is at its worst during the summer months.
On this occasion I was able to overnight on the island and was granted a spectacular sunrise, which you see here.
The 'beehive' huts here are drystone construction and have stood in more or less this condition since the monastery was abandoned in the 13th century. Even the ground on which they are built is remarkable, as it's a man-made terrace produced by building up hundreds of tons of rock held in by a series of retaining walls. The monks had no choice in this, as there is virtually no naturally occurring flat space on the island.
Skellig Michael (Sceilig Mhichíl) is one of the jewels of Ireland's landscape and heritage. Seen here from a helicopter, the Small Skellig and Lemon Rock are also visible. Puffin Island, Valentia and Portmagee are all visible in the distance.
A double-pyramid of rock soaring up from the surface of the Atlantic, it houses two lighthouses (one decommissioned), a 6th century monastery and a hermitage from the same era.
The monastery on Skellig Michael dates from the 6th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Perched on a man-made terrace 600 feet above the Atlantic, it's possibly my favourite place in the world. This photograph was made looking into the rising sun - a rare privilege!