Stunning Wild Atlantic Way showcased ahead of release of the world’s favorite sci-fi franchise’s next installment
A specially commissioned 360-degree video showcasing the beauty of Skellig Michael has been launched by Fáilte Ireland, the national tourism board, to mark the release of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” on Dec 9 in the United States.
Just click play, and then click and drag to view the 360-view:
The video takes the viewer on a visually spectacular journey from the Kerry coastline, through the Wild Atlantic, to landfall before traveling to the summit of Skellig Michael, the world-famous UNESCO World Heritage Site. The video has been produced to celebrate the up-coming release of the latest Star War’s movie, The Last Jedi and to showcase the wonder of the Wild Atlantic Way.
It seems, from the trailer for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”, Skellig Michael is going to feature heavily in the latest installment of the hit movie franchise. The Irish island featured at the end of the previous movie “The Force Awakens” as Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, travels to Skellig Michael to present Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) with a lightsaber. In the trailer Skellig Michael featuring heavily as Rey appears to train with Luke from the isolated rock pinnacle in the middle of the water where he had previously lived in solitude.
The movie premieres in Los Angeles on Dec 9 and will have it’s release in Ireland on Dec 15.
Several dramatic coastal locations right along the length of the Wild Atlantic Way were filmed and will likely be spliced together in the film’s final cut including:
Malin Head, County Donegal
Ireland in miniature, as this mod northerly peninsula is known due to its distinctive shape, is famed for its wild and rugged coastline, its Blue Flag beaches and some of the largest sand dunes in Ireland.
Star Wars makers would have been transfixed by the strikingly named Hell’s Hole - a cavern 250-foot long cavern in the cliff face into which the tide rushes with great force.
The tower at Banba’s Crown also captivates visitors - it’s to be found at the northernmost tip and this part of the peninsula is named after one of the mythical queens of Ireland. To its east, you’ll find Ballyhillion Beach, an unusual example of a ‘raised beach’ that has attracted much International attention.
Rathmullan House and the Inishowen Gateway Hotel are excellent choices for those keen to explore this remarkable area.
Loop Head, County Clare
Loop Head captures the essence of the Wild Atlantic Way. Think panoramic cliff views, magnificently wild scenery, remote beauty spots that little bit off the tourist trails, the warmest of Banner County welcomes and sumptuous food, mostly culled from sea and land.
Its lighthouse is one of the great beacons of the western coast and has kept sailors safe for centuries: the first lighthouse was built here in 1670. It’s located in Co Clare’s most western extremity and manages to feel both remote and accessible at the same time.
Kilkee is an excellent point from which to explore the area, and the perfect way to unwind after a long, bracing hike is with a seaweed bath at the Kilkee Thalassotherapy Centre. There’s accommodation here too, and at the nearby Bayview Hotel.
Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry
Long renowned for its beauty and captivating scenery, this jewel in the Kingdom’s crown had its own Hollywood moment. Its spectacular beaches, including Inch Strand, featured in David Lean’s epic masterpiece, Ryan’s Daughter.
But it will have its moment in The Last Jedi too because it was here, on Ceann Sibéal (Sybil Head), that the crew recreated the beehive huts that are found on Skellig Michael. This elemental headland, with its 700-foot cliffs, was deemed suitably wild when it came to recreating the Skelligs, and had to be done as filming opportunities were limited on the island itself.
Nearby Ballyferriter was a popular recreation spot for cast and crew and, fittingly, there will be a special three-day event, The Star Wars Experience, taking place over the December 15 weekend to coincide with the film’s release.
Dingle is a foodie haven all year round and fine accommodation can be had at Heaton’s and Greenmount House in the town.
Iveragh Peninsula, County Kerry
The trailer for The Last Jedi boasts awe-inspiring footage of Skellig Michael and features the celebrated ‘wailing woman’ rock at the cliff edge. As Skelligs is a renowned bird sanctuary and only accessible to small craft, visitor numbers are strictly limited. But it’s still possible to appreciate how magnetic it is from the mainland and to immerse yourself in the world of Star Wars.
The picturesque village of Portmagee in is where most boats depart to visit Skellig Michael in the summer months. During the filming the cast and crew stayed here, and many were smitten with the Moorings, the much loved pub where Luke Skywalker himself (Mark Hamill) immersed himself in the social life of the area and learned to pull the perfect pint.
It’s on this magnificent peninsula where you will find the Kerry International Dark Sky Reserve. Thanks to the absence of light pollution, visitors get to experience the night sky just like our ancient ancestors would have. It’s a must for astronomers and sci-fi lovers alike.
Brow Head, County Cork
West Cork’s rugged coastline features a host of strikingly beautiful headlands, none more so that Brow Head and it’s easy to see what attracted Star Wars to the region.
There’s an old Marconi signaling tower here and Crookhaven village is a short drive away. It’s long been prized by sailing enthusiasts thanks to its seafront restaurants, cafes and pubs.
Nearby Mizen Head offers breathtaking views with its spectacular bridge and lighthouse looking across at Fastnet Lighthouse. It’s known as ‘Ireland’s Teardrop’ because it was the last glimpse of the country that emigrants saw on their journey to the New World in the 19th century.
There are some glorious beaches here, including Galley Cove and the vast strand at Barleycove Beach.
Blairscove House & Restaurant at Durrus and the Maritime Hotel, Bantry, are much-loved accommodation options in the area.