Republic of Ireland news

Luke Skywalker sends message as Malin Head goes global

The force was strong with one young fan who met the Storm troopers at the first screening of Star Wars The Last Jedi at Century Cinemas Letterkenny.
Seamus McKinney

THE full spectacular beauty of Malin Head, Ireland’s most northerly point, has gone global in the new Star Wars, the last Jedi movie.

The north Inishowen headland features prominently throughout the film – premiered in Ireland yesterday - after it was selected as one of the sets, along with Skellig Micheal in Kerry.

As the film was shown for the first time at midnight on Wednesday in selected cinemas, star, Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) sent a special message to the people of Ireland.

In a pre-recorded message played before the Letterkenny screening, Hamill said: “I can’t wait to come back to a country that made me feel like a member of the family. So may the force be with you all and pour a pint of Guinness for me, will you.”

During filming of the Irish scenes in May 2016, Hamill and his co-stars, including Daisey Ridley visited bars and mixed with local people.

Donegal people who worked on the Irish scenes along with other locals were treated to a special private screening in Letterkenny.

Hugh Farren outside his bar at Malin Head in Donegal with a section of the Star Wars Millennium Falcon. Actors and crew visited the bar while filming in the area during 2016. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

Hugh Farren, whose Farren’s Bar at Malin Head, was visited by Hamill during filming, said everyone was “over the moon” with the exposure.

“We were hoping it would be good but when we saw it, we couldn’t believe it. There are about six or seven scenes which Malin Head is looking great but there are other scenes were people who have visited the headland will be able to say that’s Malin Head.”

Mr Farren believes the film will bring a huge economic kick-back for Inishowen and the area around Skellig Michael.

“Even since the filming last year, it’s brought big change. Since Star Wars and the Wild Atlantic Way, I’ve had to take on more staff. Last summer, I was employing 14 people; I’ve never had to do that before,” Mr Farren said.

Bren Whelan, whose Malin head climbing company provided health and safety cover during filming, said everyone involved with the movie were easy to work for and with.

“It was really a dream job for someone who works at Malin Head all the time, very unusual and very exciting too,” he said.

As Inishowen basked in the glory of the latest Star Wars blockbuster, Aideen Doherty from the Donegal Film Office, said the county had been a “dot on a map on the edge of Europe.”

Ms Doherty, who persuaded Disney to use Malin head, said: “But we are one of the most spectacular places in the world and Star Wars has demonstrated that to a global audience.”

Star Wars' fans got into the mood at the first screening of the new movie in Letterkenny.

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