Return of the Jedi

Hundreds of fans in Iveragh for second 'May the 4th be with you' Star Wars celebration

Simon Brouder

Portmagee and Valentia turned into a little corner of a galaxy far, far away over the Bank Holiday weekend as Star Wars fans from far and wide flocked to Iveragh for the second 'May the 4th Be With You Festival.'

The celebration of all things Star Wars - organised to coincide with May 4 which has become an unofficial world Star Wars day - included a host of fun activities for all-ages in Portmagee, Valentia and west Kerry where parts of the latest films in the blockbuster film franchise were filmed.

In Portmagee and Valentia there were a host of fun events for all ages including an epic lightsabre battle on the streets of Portmagee and an open air screening of 'The Force Awakens' which introduced the Skelligs in to the Star Wars universe.

There was also Lego building competitions and a Comic Book Expo and plenty of costumed characters to meet and greet.

The festival also teamed up with Skellig Island Eco Tours to take visitors on trips around Skellig Michael which has gone down in cinematic history as the adopted home of Luke Skywalker.

Gerard Kennedy owning of the Moorings Bar in Portmagee said the festival had been a huge boost to the area.

"The festival has had a very positive impact on local businesses and the community here," Gerard said.

"Star Wars created a huge amount of excitement for the area. The festival has really helped sustain this excitement and attract more visitors year round and since the inaugural festival took place last year, we've seen a real uplift in bookings," he said.

"This weekend was another great success, highlighting all we have to offer here and we're looking forward to welcoming more visitors this year on the back of the coverage we've received," he added.

Tourism Minister Brendan Griffin - who was in south Kerry for the festivities - said he was delighted with the event..

"The festival was a great success. The inclusion of iconic Irish landscapes in the Star Wars films has given the Wild Atlantic Way fantastic exposure around the world and the festival is a brilliant opportunity to promote the west Coast of Ireland and the country as a whole," said Minister Griffin.

Fáilte Ireland Head of Festivals Ciara Sugrue thanked everyone who helped make the festival a success.

"It has been a truly amazing weekend and I'd like to thank the local tourism businesses and all those involved for coming together to help us make the festival bigger and better this year," she said.