Watch this glorious sunset captured over the Skellig Islands

22 Apr 2016

Did you know that you can catch minute-by-minute webcam updates from the islands made famous by Star Wars?

Last week, we received a Facebook message telling us, “We captured the most unbelievable sunset of the Skelligs last night”, which led us to this captivating animation.

What you are seeing here is a sequence of images captured by the Skellig Islands webcam between 8pm and 9pm on Thursday 14 April. Stitching all of the shots together produced this calming timelapse of the sky changing colour from day into dusk, and the gentle movement of the sea and clouds.

All of these images, and more from many hours and many days, are stored on the Skellig Islands Webcam archive, a back catalogue with ongoing updates every few seconds. You can explore by month, day and hour, broken down image-by-image or compiled in an animation.

This animated hourly archive of the Skellig Islands comes from SCC Broadband, an internet service provider in southwest Ireland, serving residential and commercial clients. The Skellig webcam is the second venture for this project, which began with a long-range webcam on Derrynane Beach.

Derrynane Webcam

Image captured by the Derrynane Beach Webcam from Wednesday 20 April 2016, between 10am and 11am

Impressed, and curious, we replied to SCC Broadband director Peter Sweeney, who sent us the animation, to find out more.

“We established this webcam to show off the beauty of the scenery around us and we have been capturing to-the-minute webcam views of the area back to 2013,” Sweeney explained.

There are two different cameras in operation, the Derrynane Webcam and the Skellings Webcam, continuously capturing three views each. For example, the Skellig version shows a view of the two islands side-by-side before zooming in further on each island for two standalone shots.

“We use a high powered PTZ camera, which we control automatically from a virtual server on one of our Dell PowerEdge servers to follow a pattern, which we pull a capture from after the camera has moved to the next view (we capture six views in total). We store it then on high-volume hosting behind a CDN,” Sweeney explained.

The result is more than 290GB of webcam imagery stored so far, with the addition of the Skelligs cam set to increase the rate of data captured even further.

Skellig Islands Webcam

Screenshot of the Skellig Islands Webcam archive from Tuesday 19 April 2016, from 9pm to 10pm

If you’re wondering why SCC Broadband runs this pretty pet project, the answer is simple: to showcase some of our beautiful landscapes here in Ireland.

“We proudly display it to demonstrate our surroundings in Kerry,” said Sweeney, whose own background in photography has driven improvements in the hardware to capture better results.

“The location couldn’t be more exposed to the brunt of the Atlantic, taking the full force of weather from all directions around the year, so it’s a testament to the weather sealing,” he said.

Sweeney assured us that the webcam is a permanent fixture on the SCC Broadband network, and the CDN supporting it is currently hitting 8.1m requests in a 30-day period, and rising since the addition of the Skelligs camera.

Gigglebit is’s daily dose of the funny and fantastic in science and tech, to help start your day on a lighter note.

Skellig Islands image via Shutterstock

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.