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World's Eeriest Abandoned Places

Skellig Island, Ireland, abandoned places

Stephen Emerson/Alamy

Skellig Michael, Ireland

Why It’s Eerie: Rising like a sunken Gothic cathedral off Ireland’s Iveragh peninsula, the island of Skellig Michael was home to Irish Christian monks for some 600 years until A.D. 1100, when it was abandoned out of fear of more Viking raids. Today it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site, and all that remains are the 600 carved stone steps to the summit, some stone clocháns (beehive-shaped huts), and the haunting cries of gannets and gulls.

How to Experience It: To heighten the otherworldliness of the Skelligs, go on an organized dive (from $250) in the Gulf Stream–warmed waters around the islands to spot seals, minke whales, hard and soft coral, and steep seawalls coated with colorful anemones.


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