'Star Wars' Luke-alike: Superfan in Jedi gear hired to boost tourism here
A 'Star Wars' superfan who was 'mobbed' as he posed in front of a Tourism Ireland stand has now been hired by tourism chiefs.
Craig Spivey dressed up as Luke Skywalker and posed in front of the Skellig Michael tourism stand at a fan convention in London in 2016 and was inundated by requests for photos.
The selfie-fest led tourism chiefs to hire the 46-year-old to wield a lightsaber as part of their bid to promote the locations featured in the massive sci-fi franchise.
Kerry, Cork, Clare and Donegal will all be in the new film, 'The Last Jedi', which is released on Thursday. They double as the planet Ahch-To where Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill, trains aspiring Jedi Rey (Daisy Ridley).
Mr Spivey, from Leamington Spa in England, has been a 'Star Wars' fan since he saw the first film in the cinema aged seven.
He said he was "over the moon" to be asked by Tourism Ireland to don his Jedi robes at travel industry events in London after it discovered him at the convention.
He has now appeared as Skywalker for Tourism Ireland at the World Travel Market event in London two years in a row.
Paid around €540 a day, he quipped, "I can call myself a professional Luke Skywalker" and said he had reinvested the earnings in his costume.
Mr Spivey, who works in advertising, said of the campaign: "These things are all about what's shareable. If you have a picture of Skellig Michael, people will walk past it. If you've got somebody there dressed as Luke Skywalker you can pose with, they will take that photo and they'll share it online."
He met Hamill at 'The Force Awakens' premiere in 2015. The actor spotted him - and a familiar looking beard - and came over for a photo. Mr Spivey hopes to visit Skellig next year, costume in tow.