Star turn likely to see fur­ther roles for re­mote is­land of Skel­lig Michael

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - News - Nick Bramhill

SKEL­LIG Michael, the pro­tected is­land made fa­mous by Star Wars, is likely to be used as a lo­ca­tion for fur­ther film projects, the Of­fice of Public Works has con­firmed.

World­wide in­ter­est in the Unesco world her­itage site off Co Kerry has ex­ploded since the re­mote At­lantic out­post dou­bled up as a Jedi hide­away at the cli­max of the 2014 block­buster Star Wars: The Force Awak­ens.

The monas­tic is­land is also ex­pected to fea­ture heav­ily in the up­com­ing in­stal­ment of the Dis­ney space saga, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, af­ter ex­ten­sive film­ing in­volv­ing Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Sky­walker, took place there in 2015.

But de­spite the her­itage site’s frag­ile ecol­ogy, is­land chiefs in­di­cated that Star Wars was not a one-off and that future film projects are likely to be given the green light, par­tic­u­larly those fo­cus­ing on out­door ac­tiv­i­ties, wildlife, ed­u­ca­tion and tourism.

Barry Nan­gle, spokesman for the OPW, said: “There is no in­di­ca­tion that the Star Wars film crew will re­turn to Skel­lig Michael. The is­land has been used for other film­ing for var­i­ous pur­poses in the past, in­clud­ing Failte Ire­land film­ing for pro­mo­tional pur­poses, var­i­ous groups such as Out­door Mag­a­zine, Ger­many and a num­ber of other ed­u­ca­tional pro­grammes fo­cused on the wildlife or the monas­tic her­itage of the site. It is en­vis­aged that re­quests for this type of film­ing

will con­tinue to be ac­com­mo­dated into the future, al­ways al­low­ing for the ex­i­gen­cies of the site.”

More tourists could be able to visit Skel­lig Michael from next year, fol­low­ing an an­nounce­ment ear­lier this week about the isle’s re­stricted vis­i­tor sea­son.

The 15 li­censed boat­men who make their liv­ing from trans­port­ing tourists to and from Skel­lig Michael fin­ished up for the year last Tues­day, as their four-anda-half month vis­i­tor sea­son came to a close.

But hopes that next year’s sea­son will be ex­tended have been raised af­ter Kevin Mo­ran, Min­is­ter of State with re­spon­si­bil­ity for the OPW, con­firmed he had re­quested a re­view.

The re­view fol­lows a long-run­ning cam­paign for an ex­ten­sion to the sea­son by boat­men, many of whom claim not to have ben­e­fited from the in­creased in­ter­est in the is­land gen­er­ated by Star Wars.

De­spite the ris­ing de­mand, boat op­er­a­tors point out that they are still re­stricted to car­ry­ing 12 pas­sen­gers a day over a cur­tailed sea­son, in which many days are in­evitably lost to bad weather.

Mean­while, it has emerged that Car­rie Fisher may be nom­i­nated for a post­hu­mous Os­car.

Al­though Fisher re­ceived three Emmy nom­i­na­tions dur­ing her ca­reer, the ac­tress and screen­writer never landed an Os­car nom­i­na­tion.

That may change for her iconic role of Princess Leia in The Last Jedi.

FRESH PROJECTS: The monas­tic is­land of Skel­lig Michael is ex­pected to fea­ture heav­ily in the up­com­ing ‘Star Wars’ movie af­ter ex­ten­sive film­ing in­volv­ing Mark Hamill, pic­tured inset be­low in his role as Luke Sky­walker, took place there in 2015

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