Every summer as a child I used to look in wonder at the Skelligs off the coast of Kerry. To me they seemed daunting, too dangerous for people, a place at the edge of the world. No one lived beyond its spiky façades, only hardy fearless sea birds and an unknown infinite ocean.
It seemed impossible that people had inhabited these rocks to communicate with God, a place of such austerity and hardship, inconceivable to my young mind. Pretty hard to grasp as an adult, to be honest.
Little wonder they selected the Skelligs for a Star Wars film location. Here’s Mark Hamill talking about his first impression.
My own fascination has continued unabated and recently I decided to paint them in all their epic splendour.
It was a wonderful day, warm, sunny, and endless in that uniquely Irish summer way.
A day that was memorable on many levels, the kids’ faces as we neared the massive rocks, the raucous sounds of the gannets, the sheer scale to our little boat. I will add that we didn’t get too close, as they are a protected UNESCO site.
I took loads of photos, did some sketches, and hoped for the best. As an artist you never really know what will come back but the day was already special, so I felt sure something good would come.
Later, tired from the sun, wind, and sea air, I reviewed the day’s images and was immediately inspired by this view. I mean, who wouldn’t be?
I couldn’t wait to paint it. And while painting it, I decided to make it a limited-edition series. The whole experience was so significant for me I wanted to make sure that my customers could feel that too.