Force awakens for Kerry at Star Wars day festival

South and West Kerry out in Force for Star Wars day celebrations

Simon Brouder

Star Wars fever gripped south and west Kerry over the Bank Holiday weekend as the county played host to the first May The Fourth Be With You festival.

The event - organised to coincide with May 4th which the franchise fans have made an unofficial international annual celebration of the films - drew large crowds from across Ireland to Portmagee, Ballinskelligs, Valentia and Ballyferriter.

The festival - which kicked off on Friday - included a host of fun activities for all-ages, including visits to Slea Head's beehive huts; guided film location walks; family fun days and children's workshops.

A highlight over the weekend was a special céilí for Star Wars fans which saw costumed Star Wars characters take to the floor with dancers who were in Portmagee for the village's annual Set Dancing Festival.

There were also well attended outdoor screenings of The Last Jedi - the eighth and latest Star Wars film - much of which was filmed on Skellig Michael and at Ceann Sibéal which doubled for the world famous island.

The screenings, held at Bray Head carpark on Valentia Island and at Béal Bán beach near Ballyferriter, gave fans of the film a chance to see it against the stunning backdrops that drew the film makers to the Kingdom in the first place.

Tourism Miinister Brendan Griffin - who was among those enjoying the festivities - said the event had been a tremendous success,.

"Since Star Wars included some of our iconic Irish landscapes along the Wild Atlantic Way in recent films, I have been keen to mark May the Fourth in a meaningful way," he said.

"When appointed as Minister last summer, I approached Fáilte Ireland with this proposal. The inaugural 'May the Fourth Be With You' festival really was a great success. Not only did the event attract visitors to the area but events like the outdoor screenings of the film, with the actual film locations visible in the background, have provided us with amazing imagery for even greater exposure around the world," Minister Griffin said.