Kerry has joined the intergalactic alliance of Star Wars with a new three day ‘May the Fourth Be With You’ Star Wars festival.
Villages around the iconic Kerry island of Skellig Michael, which featured heavily in the last installment of the hit movie franchise The Force Awakens, will celebrate what has become Star Wars Day.
A Star Wars Céilí will no doubt prove to be the highlight of a program of events taking place in the villages of Ballyferriter, Portmagee, Ballinskelligs and on Valentia Island. All are within sight of Skellig Micheal where Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) followed in the footsteps of ancient Irish monks by living in splendid if rugged isolation. That is until Rey (played by Daisy Ridely) arrived with a lightsabre to turn his world upside down.
For the Céilí, fans are actively encouraged to wear Star Wars themed costumes. Out-door drive-in movie screenings, guided film location walks and children’s workshops are also planned. And all against the stunning setting of the Kerry coastline and the Wild Atlantic Way.
Skellig Michael is not the only Irish setting for the Star Wars story. Malin Head in County Donegal was also featured along with Loop Head in County Clare, The Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry and Brow Head in County Cork.
But it is Skellig Michael, a rocky uninhabited outpost in the Atlantic Ocean, and the island’s distinctive beehive huts which were once home to reclusive Irish monks, which provided the dramatic backdrop to some of the franchise’s most memorable scenes.
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The islands also inspired a new intergalactic life-form, Porgs, adorable big-eyed, bird-like creatures first seen in The Last Jedi. In a recent interview with StarWars.com, creature concept designer Jake Lunt Davies revealed that the porgs were created to cover up the real-life puffins, which populate the island. Protected by law, the filmmakers were not permitted to interfere with the rare species and that turned out to be “a huge pain in the ass” for director Johnson. But with God-like power the moviemakers simply created a new life form in the shape of Porgs.
The festival takes place from May 4 to May 7. It was launched by the Irish Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin, himself a Kerry native. “The inclusion of iconic Irish landscapes in recent Star Wars films has already given the Wild Atlantic Way fantastic exposure around the world. I am delighted that events like the outdoor screenings of the film, with the actual film locations visible in the background, will provide amazing imagery for even greater exposure around the world. This festival is not only a great celebration of the Star Wars Universe for fans but a celebration of our rugged coastline, which will further promote our outstanding natural assets at home and abroad,” he said.
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For more information and full the festival line up, check out: www.wildatlanticway.com