In a galaxy far, far away...
Star Wars: The Force Awakens VII sent the global box-office into hyperdrive. Since 1977, the record-breaking movie franchise has travelled through more than a few galaxies. For Episode VII the cast and crew jetted into a little town called Portmagee, County Kerry, on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way. While the hotly anticipated Episode VIII came back for more than just a taster of this incredible stretch of coastline, with filming taking place from the tip of Donegal down to the rocky shoreline of Cork...
Rising improbably from the Atlantic, one of the highlights of Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way, Skellig Michael has attracted both admirers and those seeking solitude for centuries. It was on this jagged rock that 6th century monks carved hundreds of stone steps to the summit, where they established an isolated monastery.
Skellig Michael – and neighbouring Little Skellig – have featured in ancient Irish legends and were even visited by Vikings. But it wasn’t until 2014 that these remote peaks welcomed their strangest visitor yet… one of the biggest movie-making phenomena in history.
A special place
The Skelligs are renowned as a unique and special place, so when New York Times writer Lucinda Hahn visited the site, courtesy of local boatman Declan O'Driscoll, she could easily imagine "Luke Skywalker in one of the dank beehive cells, crouching as the monks had centuries before, marooned on the island with his demons."
A bunch of us boatmen were standing around [Skellig Michael], and Mark Hamill said: ‘Any advice for climbing the stairs?’ We told him, ‘Just pace yourself, and don’t ever, ever look down.’
There were no demons over on the mainland in Portmagee, however. Outside of filming, according to local man Vincent O'Keeffe: "This is where most of the action took place. It would be fun for fans to see just how small the place is and how weird it must have been for us to have a movie as big as Star Wars ending up here."
...The story continues in Episode VIII
The excitement along the Wild Atlantic Way didn't stop once Luke Skywalker had been found on Skellig Michael. No, filming rolled on once again when Rian Johnson and the production crew, accompanied with a less secretive Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley returned once again to this incredible island.
Even better, LucasFilm loved this stretch of coastline so much, it decided to set the cameras rolling from Cork, Kerry and Clare and all the way up to Donegal! May the Force be with you at these Episode VIII movie locations...