5 Star Wars Filming Locations In Ireland You Will Love
The biggest franchise in history presented us with some of the most compelling scenes ever created. From the majestic planets to loving characters, Star Wars shaped the childhoods of many generations. At some point, we all wondered if those places from the trilogies were real and whether we could visit them. Luckily, the Galaxy far far away is closer to us than we think. Moreover, some places are just a bus ticket away. With that in mind, we are thrilled to introduce you to the 5 Star Wars Filming locations in Ireland you will fall in love with!
The only question is, are you ready for another trip through the Galaxy?
Table of Contents
1. The Skellig Islands, County Kerry
Skellig Islands, Great Skellig, and Little Skellig are two rocky uninhabited islands in County Kerry, southwest off the coast of Ireland. The Great Island, also known as Skellig Michael, was featured in the last scene when Rey found Luke Skywalker. Interestingly, thousands of puffins inhabit Skellig. The source of inspiration is obvious since the producers decided to make Luke’s island filled with similar creatures- porgs.
Namely, the Skellig islands have a great history, as they were once refugees for the Catholic monks in the early 600 AD. The monks built simple round stone huts around Skellig Michael, similar to those we see in the movie! In 1996, the Skellig Michael got listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To get to Skellig Islands, you can take a boat from Portmagee, Valentia, Derryane, Ballinskelligs, or Cahersiveen. However, note that trips to Skellig operate only between mid-May and September.
2. Brow Head, County Cork
Although the main stars are the Skellig Islands, no one can forget the importance of our second location. We are talking about Brow Head in County Cork. This rural townland helped the producers paint the final image of ANCH-TO for the movie The Last Jedi. Since the 300- men crew could not travel to Skellig, the producers decided to settle in Brow Head to finish the shootings. Our favourite scene shot in Brown Head is with Luke and his unusual way of catching fish, which left us holding our breath as it did Rey.
Since the filming was still a secret, scenes were mainly shot on privately owned land. Because of that, Star Wars fans cannot tour the exact locations of the films without the owner’s permission. However, there are other places to visit nearby. One of them is the Marconi signalling tower and Barley Cove Beach. Also, do not miss a chance to explore Mizen Head and its iconic bridge.
3. The Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry
One of the scenes that made us nostalgic the most was when Rey spotted Luke’s X-Wing fighter from Star Wars: A New Hope in the water. We were super excited to learn this scene was created on the breathtaking cliffs of Dunmore Head in Dingle Peninsula. Another scene that stood out was the peculiar diet of Luke Skywalker, which consisted of milking the thala-sirens. Interestingly, the animators did not make the sirens entirely with CGI. An almost 900-pound puppet was placed onto the rocky shore by a helicopter. Iconic, indeed.
Another breathtaking location in the peninsula is Sybil Head, where the production team recreated the Skellig stone huts. Unfortunately, the filming took place on private property, and the huts were later taken down. After visiting the locations, why not go to some of the pubs the crew enjoyed? When the filming finished, the crew threw a Wrap Party in Foxy John’s Pub in Dingle Town. No doubt they celebrated the Irish way- over a pint.
4. Inishowen Peninsula, County Donegal
Malin Head in the Inishowen Peninsula is one of those locations worth visiting any time of the year. This filming location is not only famous as the place where Rey landed with Chewbacca in Millenium Falcon, but is also the northernmost point of Ireland. Because of this, if you travel here during the winter, you can even spot the Aurora Borealis. Talk about the galactic experience!
The peninsula boasts some of Ireland’s most dramatic landscapes formed in the Ice Age. One particular dramatic cliff we see in the movie with an even more dramatic name is Hell’s Hole. Little down the way is Thatched Cottage in Ballyhillin with which Mark Hamill fell in love. Inside, you will find a Skywalker’s Armchair where the famous actor enjoyed his cup of tea. You can also add your signature next to his in the guestbook.
5. Loop Head, County Clare
The Loop Head Peninsula, an amazing coastal location with spectacular cliffs is worth visiting. It was awarded two prestigious tourism awards, a European Destinations of Excellence Award and the Global Sustainable Tourism Award. The location boasts stunning views and rich history. Therefore, we recommend you explore the historic Loop Head Heritage Trail. Many guided tours and cycling trips are available for tourists.
If you prefer exploring on your own, you can get a bike or take a hike and follow signposts and an audio guide to the Trail. The notable sites are Kilkee Cliff Walk, the Pink Caves, and Intrinsic Bay. Also, do not miss checking out the Loop Head Lighthouse. The lighthouse has stood proudly since 1670 and provides an excellent view of the Shannon Estuary and the Blasket Islands from its balcony.
Where Is the “Star Wars Island” in Ireland?
The popular Star Wars Island, or the Island on ANCH-TO are in fact two islands in Ireland- Great Skellig and Little Skellig. However, if we observe closely, the Island we see in the movie is a mix of footage from all 5 Star Wars filming locations in Ireland, carefully combined to look like Skellig.
The reason for this was the difficulty of having a crew member of 300 people on the rocky island for months of shooting. The shooting on Skellig lasted only three days. After all, the island is uninhabited for a reason and not so easy to navigate or travel to. There are only a few boats going to the Skellig Islands. Unfortunately, there is no bathroom, nor any kind of facilities, which is why it is forbidden to stay overnight.
Which Star Wars Movie Was Made in Ireland?
Both Stars Wars: The Force Awakens (Episode VII) and Stars Wars: The Last Jedi (Episode VIII) were made in Ireland. The lush greenery, dramatic cliffs, and overall mystic ambience of Ireland served as an inspiration for the remote planet of ANCH-TO. We first got introduced to the landscapes of the said planet with the release of Episode VII in 2014. Irish fans were thrilled when the shooting continued in 2015 for Episode VIII.
If you wish to tour all the locations, you will need some planning as the southwest and the northeast sets are 600 km apart. Therefore, we have picked our favourites, Brown Head, Skellig Islands, and The Dingle Peninsula. The best way to visit them is by renting a car. Start your route from Brown Head and drive to Portmagee. From there, you can easily hop on a ferry to Skellig Islands. Continue with N70 and N86 to visit Dunmore and Sybil Head.
Is Star Wars Popular in Ireland?
No one can argue that the Irish love Star Wars. From priding on the Irish roots of some of the leading role actors to the locations from the sequels- Star Wars is without a doubt popular in Ireland. The fans were thrilled when the filming started in July 2014 and later continued in 2015. After all, the scenes with Luke Skywalker on ANCH-TO were legendary, all thanks to spectacular Irish landscapes on the Atlantic Coast.
The actors loved shooting scenes in this beautiful country, especially Daisy Ridley (Rey). On Twitter, she described the shooting in Ireland as two most incredible weeks. Mark Hamill and a few crew members also had a memorable moment in Farren’s Bar in Donegal. The actor shared a pint with the bar owner and signed a Stormtrooper boot. To captivate this memory, the owner painted a mural of Yoda on the outside wall.
Where Is the Jedi Temple in Ireland?
The Jedi Temple from the Star Wars sequels is in Skellig Michael in Ireland. Since it was not possible to shoot all the scenes from The Last Jedi there, the scenographers created a set design to look like the stone huts in a different location. The main reason was to prevent any damage to the UNESCO site.
In the sequels, the First Jedi Temple is on the remote island of the lush green planet ANCH-TO, later known as Temple Island. This mysterious remote planet in the Unknown Regions was the birthplace of the Jedi Order. With the announcement of the new movie Dawn of the Jedi, which will show the Jedi origins, we hope to see more of Skellig Islands.
Where Was Luke’s Island Filmed?
The new home of Luke Skywalker in the sequels (nicknamed Luke’s Island) is, you guessed it, Skellig Michael. After the incident with his nephew Ben Solo or Kylo Ren, Luke self-exiled himself to a remote planet in the Unknown Regions.
Interestingly, there is a connection between Luke’s solitary simple life on ANCH-TO and the first inhabitants of Skellig Michael. As we already know, the twin islands were a refuge for the Christian monks. They, too, led a simple life in solitary as our favourite Master Jedi, Luke Skywalker.
Was Star Wars Filmed at Cliffs of Moher?
With dramatic cliffs and otherworldly greenery in the background, many fans speculated if Star Wars was filmed at Cliffs of Moher. After all, the cliffs got featured in many legendary movies, such as Harry Potter, The Princess Bride, Ryan’s Daughter, Into the Badlands, and much more! However, the truth is that Star Wars was not filmed at the Cliffs of Moher. The production team shot the iconic scenes in Donegal, which might remind one of this famous Irish hotspot.
Was Mandalorian Filmed in Ireland?
So far, Mandalorian was unfortunately not filmed in Ireland. The producers of the Mandalorian shot scenes mainly in the USA and Scotland. Other locations that were an inspiration for the hit Disney+ show take place in Hawaii and Turkey. Although, with the country’s compelling landscapes, there is no reason why the upcoming fourth season could not be shot in Ireland. Jon Favreau already wrote the scripts for the new season, and we are all excited to see the new landscapes.