When we booked our tickets to Ireland my very first decision was to schedule a landing tour of Skellig Michael Island, which in George Bernard Shaw’s words is “the most fantastic and impossible rock in the world.” Steep and rugged, this island preserves a sixth century monastic settlement complete with beehive huts, oratories, and a puffin colony. The night before our tour, we received word that no boats would be venturing off the coast for at least the next three days due to turbulent weather. We were heartbroken. But, our wanderlust was assuaged by the gorgeous AirBnB in Ballinsekelligs that would be our private paradise the next three days: Boolakeel House.
Booking a stay at Boolakeel House was a remarkable gift. Our desired dates were not available. But, I fell so hard for the property that its beauty made me bold. I messaged the host, Peta, asking if any space might be made available and to my deepest joy she welcomed us in and opened up the dates for our stay.
The property is a lavish 50 acre sanctuary boasting exotic gardens, a greenhouse with fruits and herbs which supplied our morning breakfast, a tastefully designed and decorated home, and a fascinating host. On one dusky evening I stumbled into a maze of hydrangea bushes and left wide eyed feeling like Mary Lennox. We were overcome to have such a lovely place from which to explore The Ring of Kerry and the local sites including:
Ballinskelligs Castle, a stronghold which is legend to have been constructed in the 16th century to defend the bay from pirates.
Ballinskelligs Abbey, a peaceful 12th century Abbey where the monks settled after one too many invasions of Skellig Michael by marauding vikings. We sang “Holy, Holy, Holy” as an echo of the saints who lived amidst the walls.
Skellig Chocolate Factory, where we sampled decadent treats and left with a couple boxes of jewel-toned wrapped truffles to share with the family back home.
We hope to return and make it on Michael Skellig some day in the future and of course we will stay at Boolakeel House.