Newstalk
Newstalk

11.57 21 Dec 2017


Share this article


There are warnings that Skellig Michael's UNESCO World Heritage status is being undermined due to its rebranding as a Star Wars site.

The national trust An Taisce is urging the Culture Minister to intervene and carry out an independent review on the impact filming has had at the protected site.

It comes as tourism bodies heavily promote the island following its prominent presence in both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.

The Irish Times, meanwhile, reports there were over 16,000 visitors to the site this year, despite permits being capped at 11,100 people.

Skellig Michael is currently one of only three World Heritage sites on the island of Ireland - alongside Brú na Bóinne in Newgrange, and the Giant's Causeway in Co Antrim.

Ian Lumley from An Taisce explained why they've written to Josepha Madigan about the Star Wars promotions.

Speaking on The Pat Kenny Show, he said: "The reason for the [UNESCO] designation is because of the significance of the early Christian monastic site, which is part of a group of sites extending across Egypt, Syria... [They] are part of the cultural history of the world.

"[Star Wars] brought about a rebranding, a change in the image and perception of the site. Every time the word Skellig is mentioned... that branding of the Disney franchise is now inextricably entangled with it."

He added: "The spiritual, the cultural, the historical significance of the island - the basis on which it was designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage site - is being swamped by that commercial rebranding."

In contrast, John Murphy - chairman of the Portmagee Development Group - argued: "Since Star Wars, there has been a big increase in tourism in Portmagee and the Skellig coast region. South Kerry has been decimated with people going abroad and going to Dublin to find work - so tourism is vital to this area here."

He observed that many visitors do not even step foot on the protected island - they instead stay on boats that travel around the island, or visit the Skellig Experience Visitor Centre.

He added: "We are promoting the Skelligs, and so are Fáilte Ireland. If Star Wars helps us in doing that, well and good."


Share this article


Most Popular

Live: Title

Now playing

00:00:00 / 00:00:00
Added to queue
Removed from queue

On Air

Share

Share


Up next

Episode title
Show
Duration

You currently have no podcasts in your queue.

Go to podcasts

On Air

BEST OF NEWSTALK

BEST OF NEWSTALK

00:15-07:00

Share

Up next

DOCUMENTARY AND DRAMA ON NEWST...

DOCUMENTARY AND DRAMA ON NEWSTALK

07:00-08:00

Share

BETWEEN THE LINES

BETWEEN THE LINES

08:00-09:00

Share

BOBBY'S LATE BREAKFAST

BOBBY'S LATE BREAKFAST

09:00-11:00

Share

ON THE RECORD

ON THE RECORD

11:00-13:00

Share

OFF THE BALL

OFF THE BALL

13:00-18:00

Share

TECH TALK

TECH TALK

18:00-19:00

Share

TALKING HISTORY

TALKING HISTORY

19:00-20:00

Share

TALKING BOOKS

TALKING BOOKS

20:00-21:00

Share

UNDER THE COVERS

UNDER THE COVERS

21:00-22:00

Share

THE TOM DUNNE SHOW

THE TOM DUNNE SHOW

22:00-00:00

Share

BEST OF NEWSTALK

BEST OF NEWSTALK

00:00-06:00

Share

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Share on