- Location: Castlebar, Mayo
- Country: Ireland
The name Skellig derives from Sceillic which means a steep rock.
The first reference to the Skelligs occurs in legend when it is given as the burial place of Ir, son of Milesius, who was drowned during the landing of the Milesians. A text from the eighth or ninth century refers to an episode of strife between the Kings of West Munster and the Kings of Cashel. Duagh, King of West Munster is said to have ‘fled to Scellecc’. This event is attributed to the fifth century but we have no means of knowing if a settlement existed on the island at that time. A monastery may have been founded as early as the sixth century, reputedly by Saint Fionán, but the first definite reference to monks on the Skelligs dates to the eighth century when the death of ‘Suibhni of Scelig’ is recorded. Skellig is referred to in the annals of the ninth and tenth centuries and its dedication to Saint Michael the Archangel appears to have happened some time before 1044 when the death of ‘Aedh of Scelic-Mhichíl’ is recorded. It is probable that this dedication to Saint Michael was celebrated by the building of Saint Michael’s church in the monastery. The church of Saint Michael was mentioned by Giraldus Cambrensis in the late twelfth century. His account of the miraculous supply of communal wine for daily Mass in St. Michael’s Church implies that the monastery was in constant occupation at that time.