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Kerry’s ‘May The 4th Be With You’ Star Wars festival goes online


Star Wars characters at Skellig Micheal off the coast of Kerry in previous years. Picture: PA

Star Wars characters at Skellig Micheal off the coast of Kerry in previous years. Picture: PA

Star Wars characters at Skellig Micheal off the coast of Kerry in previous years. Picture: PA

Kerry’s annual ‘May The 4th Be With You’ Festival has gone virtual for the second year running.

The festival celebrates Star Wars and the links between Co Kerry and the movie franchise.

Irish Star Wars fans are marking the day that’s in it, as the four-day online celebration features more than 100 fan made Star Wars films and interviews with some of the directors from all over the world.

The title of the festival that takes place around May the 4th is a play on the “May the Force be With You” line from the long running film franchise.

It is one of many events that take place around the world on May the 4th every year.

The virtual festival will host online chats with some of the cast from the Star Wars films, panel discussions with the 501st Ireland Garrison and Rebel Legion on some of their costumes and an online Star Wars Market hosted by Dublin City Comics.

The online event also features interactive sessions in coding, graphic design and animation and an Ultimate Star Wars Quiz, with all proceeds going to The Irish Cancer Society.

Special guests at the virtual event this year include Irish filmmaker Michael Fitzgerald, Gerard Kennedy, the owner of The Moorings in Portmagee where Mark Hamill stayed during shooting of The Last Jedi, and Marsha Parkins, Official Star Wars Sketch Card artist.

Writing on the website, festival organisers said: “It's been a difficult year for everyone around the world.

“We do hope that our online festival will bring some joy to all you Star Wars fans and we hope that you continue to join us on our website throughout the year.”

The organisers also revealed their plans for next year’s festival, which include a statue of Mark Hamill’s character Luke Skywalker.

“One of the biggest plans we have for next year is to unveil a full-sized bronze statue of Luke Skywalker which will sit on top of a three-foot plinth made from Valentia slate,” they added.

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The ‘May the 4th’ festival evolved after the filming of key sections of the series took place off the North and south west coasts over the last few years.

Several scenes in the 2014 film, The Force Awakens, were filmed on Skellig Michael, a sheer-sided island 12 miles off the southwest of Co Kerry.

When the cast and crew returned to Ireland to shoot elements of The Last Jedi in 2017, Malin Head was also added to the list of filming locations.

Portmagee in Co Kerry was used as a base of operations by the production during filming on both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, with Hamill reportedly falling in love with the village during filming.

Ballymena-born actor Liam Neeson was one of the standout performers when he played Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn in the 1999 film The Phantom Menace.

Irish actors Genevieve O’Reilly, Bronagh Gallagher and Domhnall Gleeson also made appearances in the epic space movies.

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