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Star Wars producers’ gesture of gratitude to the people of Co Kerry

There will be a special screening of the latest Star Wars movie in Co Kerry a day before its general release in Ireland.

The screening is a ‘thank-you’ from the producers of the film, some of which was shot on Skellig Michael.

The seventh instalment of the Star Wars franchise – The Force Awakens – will be shown at lunchtime on 17 December at Killarney Cineplex. It will be released in cinemas throughout the rest of Ireland the following day.

Star Wars The Force Awakens - producers have planned special thank you to the people of Co Kerry

It is thought that the island, 11 miles off the coast of Co Kerry will play some part in the story of Luke Skywalker.

The Jedi is now an older man in his 60s and fans have speculated that the island could be used as a place of refuge for Skywalker in the movie.

The cast and crew seemed to enjoy their time in Ireland. Mark Hamill, who plays Skywalker, recently talked about the ‘wave of emotion’ he felt at Skellig Michael.

He was also filmed enjoying himself and pouring pints in a local Irish pub in Kerry.

Trish Long of Disney Ireland says the special screening is their way of showing their gratitude for the help of the locals.

She said: “We are delighted to gift the first screening of this movie in the area, as a thank you for all the help and cooperation received during the making of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

Arts Minister Heather Humphries said the filming will boost the area’s profile worldwide. Skellig Michael was recently named as one of the top ten places for Star Wars fans to visit.

Ms Humphries said that Star Wars “will help to showcase the unique natural and built heritage of Skellig Michael and it will bring images of this beautiful region of South Kerry to an unrivalled global audience”.

Tourism Ireland recently predicted that Skellig Michael’s appearance in the movie will help Ireland to its best ever year for tourism.

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