News and Views

Book of Skelligs officially launched

13 Dec 2022

The Book of the Skelligs a landmark publication by University College Cork (UCC) that explores Ireland’s most dramatic and beautiful Atlantic islands was officially launched at an event in Kerry last week. At the event in the Skellig Experience Visitor Centre on Valentia Island, it was revealed that a documentary based on the book is currently in production. 

The Book of Skelligs focuses particularly on Skellig Michael, the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site. The construction of a monastery near the peak of this island over a thousand years ago stands as one of the most remarkable achievements in the history of Christianity. 

The editors and contributors have incorporated a wide range of illustrative material including photographs, maps and paintings throughout the book, many of which have not been published before. Comprising over forty individual chapters and case studies in which the work of academics and independent scholars is combined with that of poets and artists, this book provides a wide range of insights on Skellig Michael’s distinctive character – both natural and human – during different periods. 

Pictured at the launch were Dr John Crowley, Catherine Evans, Dr Brian McCarthy, Professor John O'Halloran, President of UCC, Valerie O'Sullivan and Dr John Sheehan. Dr McCarthy is holding a copy of The Book of the Skelligs.




Pictured at the launch were Dr John Crowley, Catherine Evans, Dr Brian McCarthy, Professor John O'Halloran, President of UCC, Valerie O'Sullivan, Dr John Sheehan.





Edited by John Crowley (Department of Geography) and John Sheehan (Department of Archaeology) University College Cork with photography by Valerie O’Sullivan, The Book of Skelligs  is another volume in the award-winning atlas series by Cork University Press. It was nominated for An Post 2022 Irish Book award and a documentary based on the book is currently in production directed by Emmy-Award winning John Murray of Crossing the Line Productions. 

"The Book of Skelligs is a wonderful celebration of these magical islands off the Irish coast and is yet another fabulous contribution by Cork University Press to our understanding of Ireland's geography and history” stated Professor John O’Halloran, President of UCC.  

“The Book of the Skelligs is a testament to the extensive work involved by everyone in capturing the myriad of stories, histories, traditions, and richness that the Skellig Islands represent,” Dr Brian McCarthy, Non-Executive Director, and Founder, Fexco, who supported the launch of the book on Valentia Island.  

“It is a milestone publication that documents the impact the Skelligs has had on our nation and culture. The Book of the Skelligs will be a record for future generations as to the unique character of these islands that explores the geology, marine and terrestrial life as well as the historical background and cultural setting of Skellig Michael’s monastic remains that will be of interest for decades to come” continued Dr Brian McCarthy.  

“The great care taken in crafting this volume reflects not only the beauty of the Skelligs but also Skellig Michael’s significance as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has been a pleasure working with so many gifted scholars and artists in bringing this book to fruition. The Skelligs is an inspirational place, and this particular book will hopefully encourage readers to experience firsthand the wonders it has to offer’ stated John Crowley, Department of Geography, UCC 

'There are many layers of knowledge to the Skelligs and this book explores these, often in novel ways. The enthusiasm of the contributors, as well as the publishing skills of Cork University Press, resulted in a memorable experience for the editors. I hope that the book will stimulate new interest in one of Ireland's greatest treasures' commented John Sheehan, Department of Archaeology, UCC 

‘Focusing the photographic lens on such a beautiful place as the Skelligs was a labour of love really. Its otherworldly appearance, the story of the monks and the monastery and the sheer breathtaking beauty of the natural world has always drawn me towards these islands. For a photographer the Skelligs is truly the gift that keeps on giving’ states Valerie O’Sullivan, Photographer.

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