A long time ago, the courageous pioneers of Christianity went far far away to the raw edge of the known world, to an isolated rock defiantly rising out of the Atlantic Ocean, to reach out to the Kingdom of God, to their higher self, to find inner peace. The Monks recognised that the Skellig Rock was a sacred and spiritual place. Since the Monks set up their monastery there in the 6th Century, Skellig Micheal has been a place of pilgrimage for those in search of their best life.
It came as no surprise when Skellig Micheal was chosen as the spiritual home of the Jedi Knights in Stars Wars Episode VII, The Force Awakens. The puritans may dismiss the populist nature of a blockbuster movie but it cannot be denied that Star Wars strikes a spiritual chord for many that resonates with Christianity and Buddhism.
In Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope Jedi Master, Obi Wan Kenobi explained that “the Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.” While we know of course that Obi Wan and the Jedi Knights are not real the meaning of The Force rings true.
Pilgrims and visitors flocked to this remote Early Christian Site for hundreds of years before Star Wars filmed there during August of 2014 and since the release of The Force Awakens, a whole new generation of Pilgrims has been introduced to Skellig Micheal.
The meaning of Pilgrim can be best described as follows:
1. A person who journeys, especially a long distance, to some sacred place as an act of religious devotion.
2. A traveller or wanderer especially in a foreign place.
There is no doubt that anyone who visits the Skellig has come on a long journey from lands near will discover a place that is sacred, spiritual and unique.
“Why are pilgrim walks popular again?” was a question asked by writer and author John G O’Dwyer. In his article published in The Irish Times on October 10th 2015 he interviewed Fr. Frank Fahey, the man behind the reopening of a famous Irish Pilgrim walk called the Tochar Phadraig in Co. Mayo. Fr. Fahey was asked why he believed so many people were now choosing to embark on a pilgrim journey in this secular western world. “People are taking up the pilgrim challenge in the 21st century for two reasons. First is the modern trend towards incorporating walking the outdoors as part of a healthy lifestyle. But, at a more profound level, people are searching for a deeper meaning that the material world is not giving them. They are finding meaning, instead, within the simple fulfilling experience of walking an ancient mystical path.”
Ireland has many Pilgrim Paths. Along the Skellig Coast, Cnoc na dTobar outside Caherciveen is one of 12 officially recognised Pilgrim Paths in Ireland. If you are coming to visit the Skellig Coast you may be interested in including this impressive Pilgrim Walk with your activities. Visit www.pilgrimpath.ie for more information about Irish Pilgrim Paths.
For New Pilgrims and lovers of Star Wars you can enjoy visiting Star Wars related sites along the Skellig Ring on our Chauffeur Guided Skellig Wars Tour.
Regardless of what brings you to Skellig and the Skellig Coast, every one leaves with a deep impression that they have experienced something sacred, very special and truly unique.