Luke Skywalker and "Star Wars Episode VIII" have just landed in Inishowen, County Donegal, Ireland's most northerly county, which means this remote but beautiful peninsula will soon become an iconic landscape in the "Star Wars" canon.
Here's a list of ten things Luke Skywalker and "Star Wars" need to know about Donegal and Inishowen.
1. You're not the first Empire to have invaded
Between the Vikings, the Normans, the Plantation and Cromwell (and some might add Rome) people in Donegal in the north have had their fill of invading hordes. Stormtroopers in search of a decent pint of Guinness won't raise an eyebrow, nor will the galactic empire.
2. Luke Skywalker is no match for Cu Chulainn
Cu Chulainn, the Hound of Ulster, was a badass long before George Lucas came up with his long-running space opera. He fought off enemies that were far more fearsome than Darth Vader and his myth has been passed down to us from pre-Christian times, which means he's unquestionably way cooler.
3. Forget Naboo
The most beautiful planet in the entire "Star Wars" canon is Naboo, but it will be eclipsed in 2017 when "Star Wars Episode VIII" is released and the worldwide audience gets its first look at Donegal. Let's face it, for most people (possibly including the Irish government) it will be their first look at the epic, unspoiled landscape of Malin Head and Inishowen.
4. You'll be back
Your first trip to Donegal will be one of many, Luke. The county is strong with The Force and so are the people. Once the air and the light and the romantic landscape work their magic you'll want to return time and again to a place that has remained remarkably unchanged for millennia.
5. It's the ultimate Netflix and chill
Luke, we know why you're here. After a lifelong battle with the evil galactic empire Donegal is the perfect place to build a Jedi hut and unplug. Just ask Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, who have vacationed here since the 1970s.
6. No Ewoks, no Hobbits, no nothing
Donegal is one of the least populated counties in Ireland. You can spend days here without seeing another soul if that is your wish. But it turns out it's remoteness (there isn't a direct motorway or train line to the place) has been a blessing in disguise. It's kept the beaches pristine, the landscape untrammeled, and the trinkets and tackiness circuit down to a minimum.
7. The local people are cure in themselves
The contrast between the understated, homespun character of Donegal people and the epic grandeur of the landscape in which they live is immensely comic. These are among the most unflappable people you will ever meet. They've lived through invasions, famine, civil war and county music career of Daniel O'Donnell, so they're not going to freak out at the sight of a Super Star Destroyer.
8. Jedi training
The nearby city of Derry was founded, in some tellings, by Saint Colmcille. He must have thought the northwest an ideal place for reflection and training, not unlike your own famed Jedi temples. But since struggles with far away empires have been playing out on the ground here since before you were in your Jedi diapers, both you and the Rebel Alliance are bound to find common ground with the friendly locals.
9. Not a princess, a general
You learned it with Princess Leia and you'll learn it again in Donegal, Donegal women will do their own rescuing. If you thought that General Organa was spirited, just wait till you meet the local women Luke. No one in this county is waiting on a hero on a white horse, they'll do their own saving.
10. We already have a Jedi master
Ireland already has a deeply learned spiritual advisor who can handle himself in a debate or a conflict. Our President Michael D. Higgins is to us as Yoda is to you, a learned counselor that we have long turned to for advice and guidance. In Ireland there's no need for little green men of any kind when there are brilliantly accomplished thinkers and speakers like our beloved president. Yoda can take a number, but welcome to Donegal Luke. Sure you'll be a local in no time.