When the cast and crew of Star Wars: The Last Jedi returned to Ireland, they headed straight to Skellig Michael in County Kerry, where Rey finally discovered Luke. But this didn't signal the end of the Irish Star Wars journey. The location scouts were so taken with the Wild Atlantic Way that destinations such as Cork, Kerry, Clare and Donegal were also handpicked to appear in the movie. And so, cast and crew made the western coast of Ireland their home during filming. And the locals? Well, they were delighted the Jedi were back in town!
Star Wars does Dingle
Take the lively, colourful town of Dingle, for starters. While no actual filming took place here, Dingle was a destination of choice for cast and crew who were shooting at the spectacular headland of Ceann Sibeal (Sybil Head). Perched on the Atlantic Coast, this gorgeous little spot has a real edge-of-Europe to it and feels like an effortless blend of bohemian cool, tradition and innovation, with great food and drink favourites from Dingle gin to Murphy’s ice cream. Justin and Luke Burgess from Bean in Dingle from what’s known as “the most westerly coffee roaster in Ireland” recall how Star Wars came to town. "It wasn't until someone came in a few times that we realised that they were from the crew," they remember.
But there was certainly no mistaking the identity of the large 7ft 3 inch furry creature who visited the local primary school in the small Gaeltacht village of Ballyferriter on the Dingle Peninsula. The kids definitely won’t forget the day that Chewbacca dropped in to say hello.
The stunning headlands and peninsulas of the Wild Atlantic Way were a definite draw for the Star Wars crew who also filmed at Loop Head, to the north of Dingle, and Brow Head to the south, in the stunning, craggy surrounds of West Cork.
The Force is strong in Donegal
And not forgetting about the tip of the island, Malin Head in County Donegal was a Star Wars superstar, too. Hugh Farren, proprietor of Farren's Bar, recalls the experience well: "It was unbelievable that Star Wars was filming a mile and a half away from us. The buzz that we had for the month was surreal". Naturally, Hugh wanted to mark the occasion, so he painted a mural of Yoda on the side of his pub.
And, as it turns out Yoda didn't go unnoticed. During his downtime, Mark Hamill (AKA Luke Skywalker) popped into Farren's Bar for a pint and some inter-galactic banter! "It was out of this world," said Hugh. For a few weeks, Malin Head really did feel like a galaxy far, far away.
The Star Wars folks obviously enjoyed their time on the island of Ireland. In fact, when the entire shoot wrapped, LucasFilm took out no less than eight thank you ads in local newspapers up and down the Wild Atlantic Way, as well as an ad in national newspaper, the Irish Examiner! To paraphrase their stay here, the cast and crew were "captivated by the Wild Atlantic Way and their journey to Ireland".