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Danann 
Posted: 22-Sep-2004, 11:27 PM
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Well, First off, Skellig is an Island in County Kerry... a very remote and harsh place from what I hear. She wrote the song to depict the great lengths that people will go to in order to completely isolate themselves from humanity in order to gain a better understanding and connection of/with God. Here is a monk who has traveled the world over, and finally come to basically the end of civilization, in order to be alone with God. He's telling his young acolyte all his travels, his journey, and passing it along. He's watching life slip through like sand in the hourglass (so are the days of our lives... note.gif ).

Loreena McKennitt when she was writing and producing Book of Secrets was trying to show Celtic or Irish influence that the Celts had on European society. She visited a monastery in Italy, Bibbio I believe which was the first Irish settlement in Italy. She equated its mountainus isolation with the islandic isolation of Skellig. So the song Skellig picks up on that correlation. It was the Irish who reintroduced classic literature back to Europe. The medieval Irish monks were very avid on copying and preserving all the ancient classical religious and historical texts.

Skellig its self has a rich history. First... since this is the Gaelic Area.. hehe.. Skellig is the anglocized version of sceilg which means "rock". It was presumed to be one of the first monastic settlements in Ireland. From a distance they look like floating pyramids of sandstone. When you are closer to them, they look rugged and uninviting. Skellig Michael (Sceilg Mhichil) and Little Skellig (Sceilg Bheag) became a haven for many Catholics whose beliefs and rights were being suppressed.

These monks of St. Fionan's monastery led simple lives and lived in stone, beehive shaped huts. They would descend the 670 steps early every morning and fish for the morning's breakfast. They would spend most of the day praying in the church, tending to their gardens and studying. These huts, which were round on the outside and rectangular on the inside, were carefully built so that no drop of rain ever entered between the stones. The monks left the island in the thirteenth century and it became a place of pilgrimage.


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Danann 
Posted: 22-Sep-2004, 11:28 PM
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here's an image of the huts... or cells since they were the monk's chambers.

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Annham 
Posted: 26-Sep-2004, 07:15 PM
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Hi Danann,
WOW, Thanks very much for the explanation, history and pictures, very interesting!!
Anne rolleyes.gif


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“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”

~ Dalai Lama
21st century spiritual and political leader of Tibet and Nobel Peace Prize winner (1989)
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Darby 
Posted: 22-Dec-2004, 09:00 AM
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I am absolutely interested in this forum and very grateful for it biggrin.gif . I've been trying to teach myself Gaelic off and on for about 6 months. I bought a book (Beginner's Irish, Rosenstock, Hippocrene Books), but it just sucks (how do you say THAT in Gaelic?)!! It has a great history of the language, but no real useful pronunciation guide (unless, of course, I'm just plain stupid sad.gif ). I've finally resorted to printing pages from the internet and reading and practicing at night before bed. I was wondering if it would be possible to post some good reference material (books, tapes, CDs, etc.). I don't mind spending the money on them as long as I know they're useful and good resources. . . . .I just hate wasting the time/money on something that really doesn't work and at this point, I'm a really poor judge until it's too late.

Thanks again,
Rogue


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"If you pray for a Cadillac and God sends you a jack-ass, ride it." Anon
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Rindy 
Posted: 22-Dec-2004, 10:32 PM
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Ok you see the word Slainte a lot. I have heard that it means cheers which I don't think is correct and I have heard good health, I think it is health. When we are posting how do you get the astric above it without a space???

Thank you
Rindy
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Jamie09 
Posted: 14-Mar-2010, 10:17 PM
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Hi, So I recently went to Ireland and got a tattoo in Gaelic. The tattoo artist said she knew Gaelic and so I trusted her with the translation but I'm still a little nervous that it says/means something totally different. I wanted it to say, " I will hold your hand and walk with you" and this is what she translated it to, " Togfaidh me do lamh agus suilfaidh me leat." I really hope that's right.
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