A pleasant surprise in some attic archives
WHILE recently rummaging through my attic archives I came across a most interesting, informative and well put-together book on the Skelligs entitled Skellig-Island Outpost of Europe, written by Valentia Islander Des Lavelle of the Cable Station, Knightstown, and now Glanleam.
The book, published by the O’Brien Press, first appeared in 1976, long before Star Wars was ever associated with the place. It was signed and presented to my father, the late Jim Lynch, by Betty and the late Ronnie Falconer of Waterford and the Valentia Cable Station.
The introduction in the book states thus: “Des Lavelle, son, grandson and great-grandson of a lighthouse family on one side, and sixth generation of a Valentia Island family on the other, has more than a drop of the sea in his blood.
Aged 42 years, married with two daughters, he lives on Valentia Island and works as skipper on his own 32-foot fishing boat-spending most of his summer days in close proximity to the “island outpost of Europe.”
He speaks Irish, French and Spanish, but his interests also include photography, and he has used every opportunity to shoot a wide file of his own photographs as illustrations for this book. In an extract from the book’s foreword Des writes:
“These Skellig Islands fascinate me. I have sailed around them, flown over them and dived on every sheer underwater cliff face beneath them.
“I have visited them to wander and wonder at least 40 times in 1975, and the same the year before, and the year before, and by researching and writing and poring over a wide variety of photographs, I can be out there immediately in spirit, savouring, as George Bernard Shaw said about the place, “the magic that takes you out, far out, of this time and this world.’’
This hardback publication is a thumping good read for anyone interested in all aspects of the venerated Skelligs.