Saturday 16 December 2017

Star Wars will resume filming at Skellig Michael this month

Actor Domhnall Gleeson and more than 6000 fans enjoyed a surprise
Actor Domhnall Gleeson and more than 6000 fans enjoyed a surprise "Star Wars" Fan Concert performed by the San Diego Symphony, featuring the classic "Star Wars" music of composer John Williams, at the Embarcadero Marina Park South on July 10, 2015 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Disney)
JJ Abrams outside the Butler Arms Hotel in Waterville, County Kerry where he has been staying while filming for the new Star Wars: Episode VII. Picture by Justin Kernoghan
Force of nature: Skellig Michael will feature in the new Star Wars movie.
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

The latest instalment in the Star Wars franchise will resume filming at Sceilg Mhichíl later this month.

The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD today confirmed that permission has been granted to shoot at the UNESCO World Heritage site in Co Kerry for two to four days.

Restrictions have been put in place to ensure the environment is not adversely affected due to filming and the Department’s National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has the authority to halt filming at any time.

“Sceilg Mhichíl is one of our most dramatic and beautiful islands and it is very easy to understand why its stunning scenery has caught the attention of the makers of one of the world’s biggest film franchises," a statement released this morning by Minister Humphreys confirmed.

Skellig Michael Island
Skellig Michael Island

Read more: WATCH: New Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser clip released on Instagram

"I have balanced the positive benefit it will reap for the Irish film industry and the South Kerry region with the need to ensure that the island’s unique environment and wildlife is fully protected."

The statement says that ecological surveys have been ongoing for several months and discussions between Lucasfilm and the Department of Heritage began in March for the short period of filming in September.

The JJ Abrams film already shot on the site for three days last year for scenes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

JJ Abrams outside the Butler Arms Hotel in Waterville, County Kerry where he has been staying while filming for the new Star Wars: Episode VII. Picture by Justin Kernoghan
JJ Abrams outside the Butler Arms Hotel in Waterville, County Kerry where he has been staying while filming for the new Star Wars: Episode VII. Picture by Justin Kernoghan

Read more: An Taisce opposes filming of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Skellig Michael due to risk of damage to site

Minister Humphreys says she personally visited filming last year to ensure that "stringent ecological and environmental safeguards and mitigation measures" were put in place.

"Specialist staff were on site last year to supervise the filming activity and were fully satisfied that there were no negative impacts on the island, its wildlife, habitat or built heritage. We are introducing further measures this year to ensure the environment is fully protected," the statement added.

Humphreys described the Lucasfilm coup as "another win for Ireland and the Irish film industry."

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