The song title refers to the Skellig Islands off the west coast of Ireland, where the story takes place. Loreena McKennitt is Canadian, but is steeped in Irish culture, which permeates her music.
In a Songfacts interview
, she said she drew inspiration from a 1995 book called How The Irish Saved Civilization
by Thomas Cahill. "That was about monks who ferreted away in their obscure locations, copying out the classical literature," she explained.