Celebrating all things Star Wars in Ireland
Every single Star Wars fan in the world knows that Ireland became the place for filming Star Wars movies. Star Wars in Ireland included filming of Episode VII “The Force Awakens” (2015), Star Wars Episode VIII “The Last Jedi” (2017) and Star Wars Episode IX “The Rise of Skywalker” (2019), all of these movies star key locations in Ireland as the backdrops to the Star Wars universe.
With Star Wars locations along the Wild Atlantic Way that include the UNESCO World Heritage site Skellig Michael, and Irish locations including Malin Head, Loop Head, Dunmore Head and Sybil Head these locations are some of the most beautiful in a country full of stunning landscapes. For Star Wars fans this is your journey into Star Wars Ireland.
- Celebrating all things Star Wars in Ireland
- Inishowen Peninsula and Malin Head, Donegal
- Loop Head in County Clare
- Dunmore Head, Dingle Peninsula
- Sybil Head and Dingle, Kerry
- Skellig Michael
- Brow Head, Cork
- Star Wars in Ireland 2023 – May the 4th be with you
Inishowen Peninsula and Malin Head, Donegal
Either the first stop on your Star Wars in Ireland tour or the last. The Wild Atlantic Way offers stunning scenery and the Inishowen peninsula is a hidden gem in the place that National Geographic calls “the coolest place in Ireland”. This is farther north than Northern Ireland.
It was here, that scenes featuring Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Rey (Daisy Ridley) and the Millennium Falcon were shot here in early 2016. Filming is centred around a deep chasm known as Hell’s Hole, which has been carved into the rock over millions of years. This is where Rey and Chewbacca land the Millennium Falcon on a rocky outcrop on AHCH-TO.
The site is located in Ineuran Bay. You can park at the viewpoint parking lot and then go to the small beach in front of you and walk along the water’s edge. The location of the Millennium Falcon is the rocky outcrop further to the right.
When you need to warm up with a pint of the black stuff head to Malin Village and visit Farren’s, Ireland’s most northerly pub which has a Yoda mural and inside a notice from Management that strictly forbids the use of the ‘Force’.
Then head to Esky Bay just northwest of Malin head where you can enjoy a run along the beach where Ray ran in the movie. Stay till sunset and if you are lucky the Northern lights may come out.
Loop Head in County Clare
Your next stop on the Ireland Star Wars tour is Loop Head Peninsula Drive on the west end of the Kilkee Cliffs. This is one of the most scenic coastal drives along the Wild Atlantic Way.
Star Wars filming occurred on the cliffs of Loop Head, in the trailer for “The Last Jedi” Ray is looking out to see and this shot was taken at Loop Head.
The Loop Head Peninsula is absolutely worth visiting and for me, it towers over the Cliffs of Moher for beauty in 2015 the Loop Head Heritage Trail (which is about 60 km / 37 miles long) won the Global Sustainable Tourism Award.
Dunmore Head, Dingle Peninsula
Two important scenes were filmed at Dunmore Head, the thala-siren scene where Luke milks the sea cows on AHCH-TO. These puppets were airlifted onto the rock but before the scene, the crew filmed and scanned the rocks in 3-D so the frame could be built for the puppet.
The second scene is the one where Rey spots Luke Skywalker’s crashed X-Wing fighter in the waters of AHCH-TO.
Sybil Head and Dingle, Kerry
Around a 25-minute drive from Dingle near Ballyferriter, you can visit the place Sybil Head (Ceann Sibéal in Irish) where the ancient Jedi Temple set was built. Now nothing remains of the beehive huts (Clochans) that were built here for the shoot.
This stunning location was used for the close-up shots because the high virtually inaccessible cliff of Skellig Michael was impossible to film in. A metal track was built to bring in the huts but was dismantled after filming.
The monks who lived here considered it “the island on the edge of the world” and they took refuge here away from invaders such as the Vikings. Getting to Skellig was a difficult journey by boat, buffeted by incredibly rough seas and then having to build 600 steps that led up to the monastery.
These days it is still difficult to visit and many times the boat tours are cancelled due to bad weather. But bear in mind it is a difficult ascent and there are no facilities on board the boat tours or on the island itself.
If you can’t make it to the island you can stop by the Skellig Experience Center, which offers a great introduction to learning about the two Skellig Islands, Skellig Michael and Little Skellig. The centre also offers listings of boat operators and tours that land on and visit Skellig Michael as well as boat tours that do not make landings.
Brow Head, Cork
Brow Head is a remote area that offers visitors sheer cliffs, and extraordinary Atlantic views and offers an incredible vista to look across to Mizen Head, Ireland’s most southwest point and home to the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse, a landmark for sailors and racing enthusiasts.
Brow Head stars in Stars Wars: The Last Jedi. The scene where Luke leaps from cliff to cliff to spear a fish was filmed on privately owned land but sadly you won’t be able to visit. Instead, just enjoy the stunning views of Mizen Head and the great craic along the Wild Atlantic Way.
Star Wars in Ireland 2023 – May the 4th be with you
It looks like Tourism Ireland is planning another epic May the 4th be with you Festival in Ireland for 2023. If you are a Star Wars fan heading to Ireland this May here is all you need to know about the Wild Atlantic Way May the 4th be with you. This three-day event on Ireland’s west coast has something for every Star Wars Fan.
At the festival, you can enjoy exclusive screenings of Star Wars: The Last Jedi against the backdrop of the actual film locations; catch behind-the-scenes exhibitions, and even train in the ways of the Jedi.
May the 4th be With You – Kerry
With double, the fun this year as County Donegal and County Kerry join forces to celebrate “May The Fourth” we have no doubt this year will be strong in the “Force”!
The ‘May the 4th Be With You’ Festival, which was first launched in 2018 by Fáilte Ireland, is returning to the Skellig Coast region this year after two years of being hosted virtually.
The festival was created to celebrate the filming of the Star Wars films Episode VII, The Force Awakens and Episode VIII, The Last Jedi both featured the iconic Skellig Islands which was known as AHCH-TO Island, effectively the centre of the Jedi Universe.
Ireland’s only dedicated Sci-Fi Film Festival takes place on the Skellig Coast. The Sci-Fi Film Festival 2023 will host a huge variety of Star Wars related events over a three-day period.
This year’s festival will see the launch of an exciting Star Wars Fan Film Competition. Along with the competition, the event will also feature a Star Wars Treasure Trail, Comic-Con event, Quizzes, and Dark Skies night-time events and there will also be events running online throughout the weekend.
This year’s festival will bring fans on a tour of the Skellig Coast, showing off the location the scenes were shot, as well as a stargazing event at the Royal Valentia Hotel on Friday evening.
There will also be a lot on offer for cosplayers on how to make stormtrooper costumes with the 501st Ireland Garrison on hand to help you in making your own costume, and give you information on how you can join the Garrison itself.
The Festival will culminate with the Sci-Fi Film Festival Gala Awards Ceremony. They will present a new generation of adventurous independent film-making.
The Festival begins on Wednesday, May 4th at The Skellig Experience Visitor Centre and will run until Sunday, May 8th. Throughout some fantastic locations in Portmagee and Valentia on the Wild Atlantic Way route. For more on the festival, check out their Facebook page by clicking here.
Where to stay in Kerry
There is a lot taking place in Kerry around Portmagee and I would recommend if you are looking for a great place to eat and to stay check out The Moorings. They’ve been voted Munster’s best gastro pub with fantastic local seafood offerings. The rooms are newly refurbished and in the pub, there is live music.
On Valentia Island, the best recommendation is the 200-year-old family-run Royal Hotel Valentia which has the Royal Bar and Restaurant for some lovely local cuisine. The hotel has amazing views of the Iveragh Peninsula, Valentia Harbour and the Portmagee Channel and its rooms are also newly refurbished.
Apparently, they take food and drink very seriously on Valentia and while you have the Royal Hotel restaurant, which comes, highly recommended you can also check out the Valentia Island website, which has several places to choose from.
The Ceann Sibéal Hotel is a small family-run hotel that comes highly recommended in Ballyferriter. It’s full of local artwork and has some of the most stunning views in the area. They have a terrific pub and restaurant where you can enjoy traditional music and every February they host a traditional Irish music festival called “Scoil Cheoil an Earraigh”
Skellig Island Eco Tours
For the princely sum of €40, you can take a tour of the Islands from the waters. These eco-tours will sail from Portmagee Marina, depending on the weather. This boat tour circles both Islands and you get up close to Skellig Michael and the small Skelligs to see both the wildlife and the historical sites.
The landing tour departs Portmagee marina in the morning at approximately 8:30 am arriving back at the marina in the afternoon around 2 pm.
May the 4th – Malin Head, Inishowen, Donegal
Fun events for all ages take place in Malin Head, County Donegal, the most northerly tip of Ireland. Prepare to get intergalactic at atmospheric film screenings, behind-the-scenes tours, boat trips, guided walks and much more
May the force be with you / / Go mbeidh an fórsa leat
While you are in Malin Head don’t forget to check out the newly named R2D2 road. The Inishowen tourism and hospitality industry has had a difficult couple of years and they are preparing for May 4th 2023, with their Star Wars-themed event for May 4th they say “we send this beam of light from “this galaxy far, far away. …The Force is still strong in Inishowen”.
Take on some Jedi Training, learn about the stars, experience virtual reality, and take part in guided walks to explore the Star Wars filming locations. There’s torchlight storytelling, stargazing, cruises around the Star Wars coastline, virtual reality experiences and much more.
In County Donegal, Malin Head is the place to be. It’s a bit of a drive from Kerry but well worth the trip.
Where to stay in Malin Head
You will really be able to see Donegal’s motto “it’s different up here”. In Malin Head, you will want to stay at the Ballyliffen Lodge and Spa Hotel which is superb. Spectacular views over Malin Head and located a short drive away from Ireland’s most famous golf course Ballyliffen Golf Club, the Lodge is ideally suited for a little luxury during your stay for the Festival.
In Ballyliffen, you need to grab a bite at Nancy’s Barn it’s located in a converted barn and has won many awards not the least of which is one for its brilliant seafood chowder.
You must check out Cafe Banba, which is Ireland’s most northerly bakery and coffee shop. A family-run business they have two coffee vans, which can be found at Banba’s Crown and Ballyhillion.
The Star Wars phenomenon in Ireland is a testament to the power of fandom and how one series can bring people together. It has also inspired an industry of merchandise, events, and fan clubs that have become a part of Irish culture. While the original trilogy may no longer be as popular today, its impact on Irish society remains strong. With each new movie release, there is sure to be another wave of excitement from those who call themselves Star Wars fans in Ireland.
How are you celebrating May the 4th be with you?
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