The supposed Skellig Michael day

So we had somehow worked out two sets of reservations to get a boat ride to Skellig Michael (where the end of The Force Awakens was filmed). There are only a few very small boats that go there and it turns out they are booked very early. Most just said online they were booked, I wrote to a few who did not have websites and one replied they were booked but we could go on a ride near the island. I explained why we had to land – take pictures in Star Wars costume. The woman called all her customers who had booked that day and one of them wanted to cancel. That was reservation #1, the second one was our Airbnb hostess who wrote me “I’ll go down to the Harbor and check with the boys”. She managed to get a second reservation for the next day. So two chances… but it was Ireland and the wild Atlantic side.  Too windy the first day to dock at the island, still too windy the next and gale force winds the day after that.  But we made do with Valentia Island for our photos.

So close and yet so far. The landing on the island is quite primitive and precarious so with the waves we could see pounding the shores, it was not safe but still hard to accept…

The little boats going out to go around the islands without landing.

So instead we climbed the mountain on Valentia Island for similar pictures of Colleen as Rey. It was quite a climb for me with my still ornery knee (seemingly a permanent condition) but beautiful and well worth it.

The first obstacle for me.

a typical Irish stone wall

walking through fields of heather was another obstacle

Sheep had no trouble with it.

And up we went.

Yes, I was a little slower…

Fun on the way up – beautiful Ireland

The cows roamed higher up – probably didn’t like the heather as much. Despite cow (and sheep) pies everywhere, there were NO flies.

The Walk

Taking a walk near our house

We found this house with beautiful blue fence, obviously abandoned with weeds overgrown right across the front door. Odd thing was we looked this up on google earth and it was all well kept then – less than a year earlier.

Of course it made a perfect photo stop…

Continuing on

Another beautiful rainbow appeared

Chris climbed a wall to get a photo

Bill was so nervous she would fall, his arms were at the ready to catch her

The house next to ours was almost identical

Soon, the sun was going down on the day

Time to go to dinner at The Moorings in Portmagee – a place that advertised quite a bit about Star Wars having been filmed nearby and the stars stayed there and were often in this bar/restaurant. Evidently here Mark Hamil learned to pour a Guinness.

And of course the seafood was amazing.

Then a little time for the “boys” to play their iPad games…look who got the little couch 🙂

To Portmagee

It looked like rain was the order of the day but at least we were warm in the cars.

But there was a rainbow

And eventually it actually cleared up and we got some views of how beautiful Ireland can be.

Good to get to our house though – with its perfect place to sit in the sun.

The kitchen

A thought to remember in Ireland

Beautiful view from every window




A Gothic cemetery in the rain

Driving from north to south County Kerry, we stopped in Ardfert to see a famous ruin.

The cathedral at Ardfert is built on the site where St Brendan founded a 6th century monastery. Most of the cathedral dates to the 13th century but part of the north wall dates back to the 12th century. Some areas have been restored and there is a nice museum on the site also.

There was a fairly steady drizzle and we wandered around a bit to get some pictures.

Suddenly Colleen said she’d be right back – and went to the car. She came back in a costume she had brought “just in case” something came up for it. And this dark ruin on a rainy day just fit the Gothic mood she was looking for. At least five hundred photos later, we had accomplished our first photo shoot in Ireland, and wet and cold but happy, went on our way.

Here’s a sampling, ok, a kind of big one.


Waiting out the worst of the rain in a little shelter – still windy though.

Bill’s hat was used to shield the camera from rain.

Warmed up and had lunch at Kate Browne’s Pub – wonderful atmosphere and good food too!

Quick – which one means men and which one is women on these restrooms?

You were probably wrong – Mná is women and Fir is men…

Next up – the rest of the drive and another photoshoot in the beautiful town of Portmagee.