The Fáilte Awakens: 10 photos that show the Skelligs' star power
The Fáilte is strong
Published 18/12/2015 | 11:35
The Force is strong with the Skellig Islands following their epic turn in Star Wars, as our gallery shows.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens features the Unesco world heritage site in some stellar scenes, showing the South West off to spectacular effect.
Not surprisingly, Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland have been quick off the bat to promote tourism on the back of the movie.
After the movie release, Tourism Ireland launched a €110,000 campaign leveraging the connection between Ireland and Episode VII, while Fáilte Ireland is running cinema ads promoting the Wild Atlantic Way before screenings of the blockbuster.
“For many people, a compelling film or memorable movie forms an emotional ‘pull factor’ and can create a curiosity about a destination that may not have previously existed," says Michael Ring TD, Minister of State for Tourism.
"The Wild Atlantic Way is fortunately not in a galaxy far, far away but right on our doorstep," added Fáilte Ireland's Director of Marketing, Noel-John McLoughlin.
"Having an Irish location in such a high profile movie can’t but benefit Irish tourism."
The Skelligs (or Na Scealga in Irish) are located 13km off the Kerry coast, with visitor access via trips made by a small number of licensed local boatmen.
Around 150 tourists can visit per day depending on the weather, though it remains to be seen how the site copes with any extra visitors - and environmental groups have expressed fears about the potential impact.
Those who do make the journey are rewarded with a spellbinding, edge-of-the-earth experience with 600 steps leading to a remote, early Christian outpost.
The monastic Island was founded in the 7th century, and for 600 years was a centre of monastic life for Irish Christian monks.
This is "an incredible, impossible, mad place," as G.B. Shaw wrote.
"I tell you the thing does not belong to any world that you and I have lived and worked in: it is part of our dream world."
Have a look at our gallery above - with photos by Valerie O'Sullivan, Raymond Fogarty, Failte Ireland and others - we think you'll agree.
For more, see discoverireland.ie and wildatlanticway.com.