Joanna Martin explored Ireland’s wild west coastline, where rugged cliffs meet deserted beaches. She joined her husband Mark and son William on their Ireland circumnavigation, sailing from County Mayo up to Kinsale.
Skellig Islands from afar look like two pieces of rock sticking up out of the Atlantic. Skellig or Sceilg means ‘splinter of stone’. We had driven from Dingle in County Kerry to Little Skellig on a sunny, calm day. I wanted to draw the gannets because it has the biggest colony of them in Ireland. The sheer, jagged rocks soared over us. Each ledge was packed with birds. The wingspan for gannets can be as large as two metres.
It is a pleasure to cruise and watch the gannets fly gracefully, in twos or threes, at the surface of water, thousands of miles away. They are the largest seabirds in the North Atlantic. Their white bodies have cream-coloured heads, and their wings are black-tipped.
They were all perched in a row, all white and without shelter from the weather. Beware, though, as these birds can be vicious and will stab any chick who wanders too close to the nest. The…