‘It’s like a fairytale’: Mark Hamill and the Star Wars crew on Ireland

Star Wars actor Mark Hamill (aka Luke Skywalker) has been singing the praises of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way and Skellig Michael, which both havestarring roles Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi

“To come back to Ireland was a great treat for all of us because the beauty of that country is unmatched,” Hamill says in a new video for Tourism Ireland.

“You get up in the morning and see vistas where I was sure it was a special effect.”

“The people are so nice. They make you feel like family, they were so welcoming, so accommodating and so friendly. We felt like we were home,” says Hamill. “I mean, having lived in New York for many, many years I wasn’t sure how to take it! I would urge anyone planning a vacation to go to Ireland.  You’ll never find another place like it … I wish we could have shot the entire film there.”

The blockbuster movies were filmed along Ireland’s western coastline, from the northern-most point in Donegal to the cliffs and headlands of counties Clare, Cork and Kerry.

“I got the chills”

Speaking to Joe.ie journalists, Hamill was especially enthusiastic when speaking about Skellig Michael.

“I remember, I had this feeling that rushed over me when I was at the top of Skellig Michael … and in between shots if I turned away and had the crew to my back, you could look out and in this unearthly terrain and the robots by your side and the floating car and the stand, and you’re in this outfit…

“It was very easy to just be transported and really feel like you were in a galaxy far, far away. It was just – y’know, I got the chills. And I never had that feeling again, until – not in Empire, when we went to Norway, it was brutally cold, but snow is snow, I’ve seen it before. In Jedi, we went to the Redwood forest, and again, gorgeous, but again, it was something that I was familiar with.

“Skellig, you’re up at the top, and I didn’t expect this to happen but I was sort of off to myself, and it was just at sunset, and there was the craggy rocks coming up, and I had that same feeling: ‘Oh my gosh, this is like being in another world.’

“Y’know, also, it was built in the 1100s, and you go ‘how did they get these stones out the island in the first place?’, y’know? These monks must have built canoes or who knows, but it is a really extraordinary place.”

“Cultural significance”

Skellig Michael features distinct stone beehive-huts from a Christian monastery that that date back to at least the 8th century. It’s one of the two Skellig islands, which are located off the coast of Kerry.

Because of the island’s cultural heritage significance – it is a UNESCO heritage site – film on the island was only permitted for two days in 2015.

To continue filming on location, the crew returned in 2016 and built replicas of Skellig Michael’s beehive huts on the mainland.

The location scouts then handpicked areas in Cork, Kerry, Clare and Donegal to represent the planet Ahch-to.

Pulling a pint

While in Ireland, Hamill did have some down time and a photograph of him pulling a pint of Guinness got lots of attention. He told joe.ie that he enjoyed music in the pub before popping behind the bar to learn to pull a pint of Guinness. Lee Marvin took Hamill to a pub “back when we were doing The Big Red One [1980 movie set in World War I], where when they finish the Guinness … and they put a shamrock on top.” He also teased his personal trainer by posing with a dog … and a packet of Tayto crisps.

Call us

If you would like to experience your own Star Wars adventure in Ireland (or learn to pull a pint of Guinness!), we will customize a tour of the movie sites on the Wild Atlantic Way during your visit to Ireland. Please email info@irelandchauffeurtravel.com or call 1800 329 9138 (toll-free) to chat to our Travel Advisors.


Be inspired with the stunning Wild Atlantic Way video

Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way: It’s that time of the year when – with a sense of adventure pervading – we make plans for vacations and new adventures. And there’s no better place to start than on the windswept edge of the world on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.

The Wild Atlantic Way stretches all along the west coast of Ireland and has proved a huge hit with domestic and foreign visitors (it and sister route “Ireland’s Ancient East” have been credited with being key to Ireland’s 10.5 million overseas visitors last year).

The 2,500km route is recognized as one of the world’s longest defined coastal routes and it has even starred in Star Wars.
Now Ireland’s tourism authority, Fáilte Ireland, has teamed up with one of our hottest music groups to make a video showcasing the breathtaking beauty of the route.

Walking on Cars hail from Dingle and so the five-piece alt rock band know a thing or two about the Wild Atlantic Way. The band’s track – “Don’t Mind Me” is the soundtrack to visually stunning scenery along the trail that is famed for its rugged coastlines, unspoiled natural landscape and relaxed pace.

At Ireland Chauffeur Travel, some of our favorite places along route include Mizen Head Peninsula in West Cork, the Cliffs of Moher and Loop Head in Co Clare, Skellig Michael of Star Trek fame, in Co Kerry and the Slieve League Cliffs in Co Donegal (read more here).

Also, 2017 is a great time to visit stops on the route – Donegal, just voted National Geographic’s “coolest place on the planet”, Skellig Ring, Lonely Planet’s must-see for 2017, or Erris in Mayo – officially Ireland’s best place to go wild.

As well as soothing any January blues, we agree that the video gives an insight about why “wild” is included in the “Wild Atlantic Way” title. Let us know what you think and if you haven’t visited the area yet, or need some scenery to soothe your soul, the video might be all you need to convince you to plan a trip!

Contact us to start building your Wild Atlantic Way itinerary – email: shane@irelandchauffeurtravel.com; call us in the office on +353 62 67051 or Toll Free USA: 1800 329 9138; or tweet @IrelandTours.

By Leonie Corcoran

Wild Atlantic Way: what a view
Wild Atlantic Way: what a view

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