The Irish tourism industry is expected to benefit from Skellig Michael’s cameo in the upcoming Star Wars movie.
Tourism Ireland are hoping that the beautiful scenery around the island, off the coast of Co Kerry, will reach a vast worldwide audience thanks to the film.
They believe that this could have a similar effect on tourism in Co Kerry as the filming of Game of Thrones in Co Antrim has had on the North.
Skellig Michael is the site of an ancient monastery that was used by monks in the 6th century. They went to the island for solitude and made it habitable by carving into the rocks.
Not only does the island have a fascinating and spiritual history, but there are also striking views to be seen from the rock.
Tourism Ireland said: “The release of Star Wars Episode VII – which will feature Skellig Michael – also presents Tourism Ireland with a truly unique opportunity to highlight the South West and Ireland in 2016.
“Early next year, we will leverage the huge global popularity of Star Wars, following the upcoming launch of Star Wars Episode VII. And we will work with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to highlight Ireland 2016 to people everywhere – showcasing major new attractions and the year’s signature events.”
“Star Wars Episode VII is possibly the most anticipated film of all time, with pre-opening ticket sales beating all previous records. Skellig Michael is one of the very few ‘real world’ locations to feature in the movie – providing Tourism Ireland with a truly unique opportunity to promote the Skelligs and the broader Wild Atlantic Way.
“Tourism Ireland has worked with Lucasfilm (the producer) to capture the film on location on Skellig Michael and will launch a dedicated Star Wars campaign in early January.”
There is reason to optimistic. Skellig Michael was recently named as one of the top places in the world for Star Wars fans to visit.
Filming took place on Skellig Michael ealier this year and Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill even popped into the Bridge Bar in Portmagee, Co Kerry and poured a few pints.
Ireland broke its own tourism records in 2015, but the hope is that the Star Wars effect will increase the number of visitors even further.
It is predicted around 4% more people will visit in 2016 making a total of 8.2million tourists. That will be worth a further €4.3 billion to Ireland’s economy.