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Sunday 22 July 2018

May the bricks be with you: Lego makes 'Star Wars' Skellig set

The new Lego set, depicting the island of Ahch-To from 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'
The new Lego set, depicting the island of Ahch-To from 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

The monastic beehive huts of Skellig Michael have been made into Lego toys ahead of the release of 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'.

Skellig Michael, or 'Ahch-To Island' as it was renamed in the film, has a pivotal role in the movie - it is Luke Skywalker's hermitage, the location of the first sacred Jedi Temple, and home to the adorable Porgs.

The Porgs are bird-like creatures that were inspired by the puffins nesting on the jagged rock face of the Skelligs. They will be introduced in 'The Last Jedi'.

Lego's 'Ahch-To Island Training' set features a miniature corbelled hut and three figures: Luke Skywalker, Rey and a Porg.

The Skelligs off the coast of Kerry Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan
The Skelligs off the coast of Kerry Photo: Valerie O'Sullivan

The set is expected to retail at €25 and includes smaller trinkets, such as a fish, a frying pan, and a lightsabre.

The first Lego 'Star Wars' set was released in 1999 and coincided with the release of 'Episode 1: The Phantom Menace'.

Skellig Michael features prominently in the trailer for the next instalment in the 'Star Wars' film franchise which is due for release on December 15.

The Unesco World Heritage Site first appeared in 'Star Wars' two years ago in the final scenes of 'The Force Awakens'.

Since then, visitor numbers to Skellig Michael have surged. Visitor numbers are up approximately 2,000 to 16,700 this year compared to 2016.

This has encouraged chief executive of Tourism Ireland Niall Gibbons to focus on the development of "screen tourism" in Ireland.

Tourism Ireland is looking to countries such as New Zealand which have built entire tourist packages around franchises like 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'The Hobbit'.

"'Game of Thrones' and 'Star Wars' have brought Irish screen tourism into new galaxies. It has brought Ireland to a huge audiences around the world," he said.

"We look to countries like New Zealand which are leaders in the field."

Similar to the 'Door of Thrones' campaign in connection with 'Game of Thrones', Tourism Ireland plans on rolling out a new campaign linking the Wild Atlantic Way to the latest film's release next month.

"The film was filmed along the Wild Atlantic Way so we will be dialling that up in December," said Mr Gibbons.

Plans to extend the tourism season may be restricted, however, due to Skellig Michael's status as a Unesco World Heritage Site. It is open to visitors from mid-May to the end of September.

Irish Independent

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