In a galaxy not so far away…
he cast and crew of Star Wars has returned to Ireland for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, this time with director Rian Johnson. They headed straight to Skellig Michael in County Kerry, where The Force Awakens left us: the ocean planet of Ahch-To, where Rey finds Luke. However, after filming in Ireland the first time, the movie’s location scouts were so captivated by the Wild Atlantic Way, locations from Cork and Kerry to Clare and Donegal were also chosen to be featured in the movie.
Skellig Michael, County Kerry (Ahch-To)
This is where it all began – This atmospheric, isolated island was a huge highlight of the long-awaited Star Wars sequel trilogy, Episode VII – The Force Awakens, released in 2015. Skellig Michael providing the dramatic setting for the epic’s final scene, as the ocean planet of Ahch-To.
Skellig Michael was the chosen destination for a small group of ascetic monks who, in their pursuit of greater union with God, withdrew from civilization to this remote and inaccessible place – clearly Luke Skywalker wasn’t the first one to find solitude here. Sometime between the sixth and eighth centuries, a monastery was founded here on a terraced shelf 600 feet above sea level, setting an example as one of the most dramatic extremes of Christian monasticism. The well-preserved monastic ruins retain a strong spiritual atmosphere; visitors cannot help but be awestruck by the physical accomplishments of these early monks which, when combined with the sense of isolation on the island, evokes an undeniable sense of mystery and magic.
Malin Head, County Donegal
When they finished filming at Skellig Michael, the cast and crew headed to Malin Head in Donegal – the most northerly tip of the island of Ireland, on the Inishowen Peninsula. Considered the starting point of a journey along the Wild Atlantic Way, the area is known for its natural coastal scenery and its large variety of bird species. To the delight of many locals, one of the film’s most iconic ‘birds’, the Millennium Falcon, was spotted close to the edge of a cliff, where construction and filming took place for several weeks.
Loop Head, County Clare
There was great excitement around West Clare in may of last year as the cast & crew took over Loop Head Lighthouse for three days of filming. Here, dramatic cliffs stretch across the coastline for miles on end, and the popular Loop Head Heritage Trail takes you through everything from whale-watching and spotting dolphins on the coast to seeing nesting seabirds and cycling across quaint country roads. County Clare’s dramatic coast is well worth visiting even if you aren’t a Star Wars fan, and was even voted the best place to holiday in Ireland in 2013.
Brow Head, County Cork
The next stop the filming scouts were captivated by is West Cork, specifically Brow Head, near the village of Crookhaven. Here, further scenes for the second instalment of the trilogy were filmed on a cinematic stretch of coastline that is mainland Ireland’s most southerly point. The film crew received such a warm welcome from the locals and found such beauty in the region, that LucasFilm took out a total of nine ads thanking the people of West Cork specifically for their hospitality!
Ceann Sibeal, County Kerry
One of the last Star Wars filming locations in Ireland was at the Ceann Sibéal headland on the Dingle Peninsula, named after the wife of a swashbuckling 17th-century poet, Piaras Feiritéar, who was hanged in 1653. Interestingly, the crew was seen constructing what appeared to be a recreation of the Monastic beehive-like structures found on Skellig Michael as a Jedi temple complex for the upcoming film. After two periods of filming on the Skellig Islands, fears of adverse effects on the geography and local biodiversity arose, and the crew decided to construct a replica of the area with an equally dramatic backdrop.
Ceann Sibeal is also home to the most westerly golf club in Ireland. The original Dingle Golf Club was formed in 1924 at Doonsheane, three miles east of the town. The club disbanded in the 1960s, as local farmers required the land back, but reformed in the 1970s at the links in Ceann Sibeal where it is today.
The enthusiasm and support of all the people of West Cork have made our Irish adventure one we will always treasure.” -LUCASFILM
Clearly, everyone at Lucasfilm enjoyed their visit to the Emerald Island – It just goes to show, Ireland’s beauty, hospitality, history, and culture can captivate and inspire individuals from all across the Galaxy!
Want to experience the Emerald Island for yourself? We offer completely customizable tours of Ireland, so if you have a bucket-list of filming locations you’d love to visit, we can make it a reality! Check out our range of Ireland Vacation Packages!
If Star Wars isn’t your cup of tea, but the Outlander Series is, check out our great Outlander Scotland Tour!