Press Release for Thursday, January 25, 2007

Harris Presents Illustrated Lecture on Ireland's Skellig Michael

Contact: Joanna Norris, Assistant Director
Department of Media Relations and Events
(904) 620-2102

Irish Studies at the University of North Florida presents Robert Harris with the Irish Heritage Service at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 1, in the UNF Fine Arts Center Recital Hall. He will conduct an illustrated lecture titled “A Voyage to Skellig Michael.” This event is free and open to the public.

Skellig Michael, known as “Michael’s rock,” is an island eight miles off the Kerry coast and is one of Ireland’s magical places. It rises more than 700 feet above the stormy North Atlantic and is one of only three places in Ireland designated as a World Heritage site. The island is best known for its well preserved monastic settlement, founded perhaps as early as the sixth or seventh century.

Harris has lived in Ireland since 1980 and has been employed by the Irish Heritage Service as a guide on Skellig Michael since 1987. He lives on the island of Skellig Michael for two or three weeks at a stretch, followed by a week ashore. Except for lighthouse keepers who lived on the island from the 1820s until 1987, Harris has spent more time on Skellig Michael than anyone since the 12th century—learning its terrain, studying its flora and fauna, becoming familiar with the vagaries of its weather, photographing it from all angles, reflecting upon the place and its heritage.

He was raised in Peru, the United States and Bermuda. Harris earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and history at the College of William and Mary. He also studied at Sussex University in the UK and the University of Edinburgh.

For more information about this event, contact Irish Studies Program Director Richard Bizot at (904) 620-1272.