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11.02 18 Dec 2017


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'Star Wars' actor Mark Hamill is inviting fans to "escape the dark side" by coming to Ireland.

He appears in the latest Tourism Ireland campaign highlighting the Wild Atlantic Way.

It comes alongside the release of 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi', which was filmed in and around Skellig Michael.

To celebrate the film's Irish connections, Tourism Ireland has released what it says is "a fun, irreverent promotional film" about holidays along the Wild Atlantic Way.

The advert features a number of locations along the western seaboard, with Hamill addressing viewers: "Escape the dark side along Earth's Wild Atlantic Way - the perfect place to get away from it all".

It was filmed using Star Wars screen-wipe transitions, where one shot replaces another by moving from one side of the frame to another, and sound effects - which Star Wars fans around the globe will recognise.

From the craggy summit of Skellig Michael to Ireland's most northerly tip, Malin Head, key locations were handpicked by location scouts to represent Ahch-to - the oceanic planet which became home to an exiled Luke Skywalker.

Tourism Ireland wants to leverage the huge global popularity of Star Wars for Irish tourism once again.

"The fact that another Star Wars film was shot on location along the Wild Atlantic Way is truly a fantastic coup for Irish tourism," said Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland.
"The Last Jedi is bringing our magnificent scenery to the attention of millions of people around the world. It's a fantastic way to significantly boost awareness of the Wild Atlantic Way - and Ireland in general - and presents Tourism Ireland with a superb opportunity to highlight Ireland in 2018."

Tourism Ireland's promotional campaign will roll out in 15 markets - Britain, the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, the Nordic region, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, India and the Gulf States.

The Wild Atlantic Way made its first Star Wars appearance in the final moments of the 2015 blockbuster, 'The Force Awakens', with Skellig Michael doubling as Luke Skywalker's hide-out island.

In September 2015, actors Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley returned to Skellig Michael - this time with director Rian Johnson to embark on a new Star Wars adventure, with the 'The Last Jedi'

In May 2016, Rian returned to Ireland with his cast for a second shoot at Malin Head on the Inishowen Peninsula.

Other filming locations included Loop Head, the Dingle Peninsula (where the crew recreated the sixth century monastic 'beehive' huts of Skellig Michael on Ceann Sibéal), as well as Brow Head near Crookhaven.


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