7th-8th century chapel discovered on uninhabited Little Skellig Island in Ireland

While the Irish island of Little Skellig was long thought to have been inhabited by nothing but a variety of seabirds, a new archaeological discovery demonstrates that monastics once labored in asceticism on the inaccessible crag.

The archaeologist Michael Gibbons and a group of climbers recently located the remains of an early Christian church located on a narrow precipice overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, reports Afloat.

Gibbons estimates that the church dates to the late 7th-early 8th century, when there was already a functioning monastery on nearby Skellig Michael.

He described the location, 8 miles west of the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland, as the “ultimate monastic site.”

The church may have been used by one or two monks as a type of “extreme penitence,” Gibbons believes and was supported by the main monastery on Skellig Michael, where vegetables were grown. The remains of the building discovered and the stone-paved path are similar those seen on Skellig Michael, Gibbons explained.

Most of the building has collapsed due to strong Atlantic winds.