In the spring of 2015, I had the good fortune to attend and photograph a mass held on Skellig Michael within the remains of the monastery there.
The mass was conducted by six Franciscan Friars hailing from America and France, who live in, work with and support the community of Moyross, Co.Limerick. They had travelled to the Skelligs on a mission to go back to the roots of their faith; to explore its history and to anchor themselves in this historical landscape.
The whole experience was humbling and quite emotional. I hope that I have captured some of the spirit and solemnity of the service in this photograph.
The five Americans and one Frenchman were great company, along with skipper Dan McCrohan, on a rather choppy boat crossing out to the Skelligs and back. Far from the dour image that we may have of the religious orders, these gentlemen were interesting, humorous and very entertaining. I felt extremely honoured to have been invited into their assembly and to be able to observe their worship.
With filming of the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens taking place on Skellig Michael, the eyes of the world have been turned onto this ancient landmark. It is generating a great deal of excitement locally. However, these men of faith are a timely reminder of the spiritual foundations of this remarkable site.