Star Wars Films On Skellig Island in Ireland

ENTERTAINMENT | May 18, 2019

Luke Skywalker on Location on Skellig Island. Source: (lonelyplanet.com)

A mysterious and beautiful island – a place for a war? That is exactly what it was for -Star Wars.

Skellig Island has become a favorite location for the crew of Star Wars to do their filming. Two recent blockbuster Star Wars movies were filmed on this gorgeous remote island: The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017).

The local people have welcomed them with excitement not to mention the boost for their economy. What was for a while an abandoned little-known island has been “awakened” by the Force of Star Wars that has brought national attention to it.

Star Wars on Skellig Island. Source: (pinterest.com)

As exciting as Star Wars fans were about visiting the area because of the filming taking place there, the public was not allowed to visit the island during this time. A naval vessel kept guard near the island in order to make sure the filming could be completed without any problems. Even when filming is not taking place, visitors are very limited on the island for safety reasons as well as the preservation of the island itself.

The Last Jedi on Location on Skellig Island. Source: (multivu.com)

Star Wars fans first saw the beauty of Skellig Island during scenes from The Force Awakens but that was just enough to stimulate their appetite. The cast and crew loved it so much that they returned to the island for the making of The Last Jedi where Rey was finally able to find Luke Skywalker. Rey and Luke show the fans the spectacular scenery and mystery of the island as they fight against the Dark Side.

Skellig Michael Monastery. Source: (en.wikivoyage.org)

Just off the southwest coast of Ireland, Skellig Island has a monastery 600 feet above sea level that was built between the sixth and eighth centuries. It is believed that Saint Fionan started the monastery. Skellig Michael is the larger of the two Skellig islands in Ireland. By the 13th century, deterioration had set in after the monks abandoned it and moved to Ballinskelligs, which is located on the mainland.

When visitors come to the island, certain safety precautions must be taken as well as some planning ahead. Since there are no modern facilities, it is necessary to bring food, water, and clothing. There are no hotel accommodations on the island. Appropriate shoes are necessary. In 2009, two tourists lost their lives due to falling while walking on the steps as there was no railing to hang onto.  

Beehive Cell. Source: (americanexpeditioners.com)

In the midst of this monastery are six beehive cells, a medieval church, and several stone crosses. There are other references to the island during the time of the 9th and 10th centuries including the dedication to Saint Michael the Archangel when ‘Aedh of Scelic-Mhichil’ died. A miracle was recorded by Giraldus Cambrensis that took place in St. Michael’s Church during the 12th century involving a miraculous supply of wine for the daily mass. No one knows why the monks would have abandoned the island.

Skellig Islands. Source: (Wikimedia)

The name Skellig means “a steep rock.” This view of the island, although breathtaking, demonstrates how steep it really is.

It was during the 1500s that the island became popular for pilgrimages and then in the 19th century, it actually became inhabited again. Restoration work was done in 1986 with restricted visitor access because of possible damage to the steps with too many tourists going up and down them. Until recently, visitors to the island have been frowned upon. It became a World Heritage Site in 1996.

Tags: movies, star wars | Skellig Island

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Penny Chavers


Penny, besides writing, loves to spend her time with family and friends. In her spare time, she also enjoys playing the piano, board games, and taking online classes on topics that interest her.