Travel Ireland

Friday 27 May 2016

The Fáilte Awakens: 10 photos that show the Skelligs' star power

The Fáilte is strong

Published 18/12/2015 | 11:35

An Aerial view of Skellig Michael. Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan / Fáilte Ireland.
An Aerial view of Skellig Michael. Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan / Fáilte Ireland.
Skellig Michael's 600 steps. Photo courtesy of Fáilte Ireland.
September light falls on the Skelligs as beach goers enjoy the cold and sunshine on St Finan's Bay, Ballinscelligs, Co. Kerry. Photo:Valerie O'Sullivan/Fáilte Ireland
Little Skellig. Photo: Fáilte Ireland/Raymond Fogarty
For 600 years Skellig Michael was a centre of monastic life for Irish Christian monks. Photo:Valerie O'Sullivan/Fáilte Ireland
Coomnaspic View. Photo: Fáilte Ireland
View of Skelligs from Bray Head, Valentia Island. Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan/Fáilte Ireland
Skellig Islands silhouette. Photo: Fáilte Ireland
View of Little Skellig emerging from the sea fog from Skellig Michael. Photo: Fáilte Ireland
Skellig Michael from St. Finian's Bay. Photo: Fáilte Ireland

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.

This week, 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.

For 600 years Skellig Michael was a centre of monastic life for Irish Christian monks. Photo:Valerie O'Sullivan/Fáilte Ireland
For 600 years Skellig Michael was a centre of monastic life for Irish Christian monks. Photo:Valerie O'Sullivan/Fáilte Ireland

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.

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