Adventure Travel

Ireland’s Skellig Islands Play A Major Part In Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Spoilers)

By  | 

Before you continue reading, please note there are spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens within this article.

The characters of Star Wars: The Force Awakens put everything on the line to find a map that led to the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker. A man of legend, his sister Leia Organa and old friends Han Solo and Chewbacca spent countless time searching for the most powerful Jedi in recent history.

We learned during the film that a young Ben Solo, the son of Leia Organa and Han Solo, was handpicked to become a Jedi padawan by Skywalker himself. What’s less clear is the reason behind Ben’s descent to the Dark Side and complete transformation into the villain Kylo Ren. What we do know: the shame and grief of failure led Luke into a self-imposed exile, never to be seen again.

When the map is found and new character Rey (who some believe to be the daughter of Skywalker) sets off to find the fabled Jedi, she meets him on an island of devastatingly isolated beauty.

One of the greatest aspects of the Star Wars films is their dedication to finding natural wonders of visual grandeur to delight the audience. Fortunately, the island where Rey finds Luke Skywalker is indeed a real-life destination off the County Kerry coast in Ireland, known as the Skellig Islands.

Naturally, the place is receiving plenty of attention lately as the next great cinema-tourism spot. And it’s no wonder Lucasfilm chose the Skelligs for their harsh, yet inspirational vistas. Around 15 kilometers off the coast of Bolus Head on the Iveragh Peninsula rests two isles: Skellig Michael and Little Skellig.

The largest of the two, Skellig Michael (also known as Great Skellig), was once founded as a Christian monastery around the 8th century. The monastery was abandoned in the 13th century, but it’s still possible to observe the remains on dry and wind-free days. In 1996, the monastery and most of the island was inducted to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which means that guided tours to Great Skellig are infrequent and highly controlled today.

Little Skellig is completely closed to the public, as it has been deemed an Important Bird Area by BirdWatch Ireland in 2000. In fact, one of the largest colonies in the world of northern gannets makes it’s home on the island.

We don’t know what will happen on Rey’s adventure upon meeting Luke Skywalker. Will she become the next greatest Jedi the universe has ever seen? If so, I’m pretty sure the intense beauty of the Skellig Islands will help her in her quest to find the Force within.

Mandy Burkholder is a travel, adventure, and outdoor writer who honed her craft in the foothills of the La Plata Mountains of Southwest Colorado. After a stint in the Swiss Alps, she now resides in Tennessee. Follow her on twitter — @mandyburkhold3r

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *