Lonely Planet Writer

New Star Wars trailer features the rocky Irish island that is captivating travellers

The dramatic rocky island that Star Wars-fans glimpsed at the end of the The Force Awakens is back and featured more prominently in a trailer for the next film – and Ireland is preparing for more fans to come and see it for themselves.

Skellig Michael – a jagged outcrop off the southwest coast of Ireland – was home to early Christian monks from the 6th to the 12th century and is now a Unesco World Heritage Site. It garnered the attention of the world when it was featured in the final moments of Star Wars – Episode VII: The Force Awakens, which was released in December 2015.

Little Skellig seen from Skellig Michael.
Little Skellig seen from Skellig Michael. Image by @storytravelers

In the movie, the island serves as a hideaway for Luke Skywalker and – judging by a teaser trailer for the next film – will get some screen time in Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, which will be released on 15 December.

Back in September 2015, cast and crew for The Last Jedi returned to the island to carry on where the story left off, with the film’s protagonist Rey meeting Luke on the steps of Skellig Michael.

According to Tourism Ireland, the location scouts enjoyed Ireland’s Atlantic coast so much they came back for another shoot in May 2016. Naturally, interest in the island grew after the release of the last film, and the tourism group aimed to promote the Skelligs and the “Wild Atlantic Way” – a tourism trail along the country’s rugged western coast.

Skellig Michael.
Skellig Michael. Image by @storytravelers

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said in a statement: “we’re absolutely delighted that the Wild Atlantic Way features so heavily in the first peek of the next episode… Tourism Ireland will be taking every opportunity to capitalise on the huge publicity around the film, to whet peoples’ appetites to come and visit the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland.”

Skellig Michael monastery graves.
Skellig Michael monastery graves. Image by @storytravelers

And it’s not only big screen hits that have travellers flocking to Ireland – much of the hit HBO series Game of Thrones is filmed around Northern Ireland and has led to a similar tourism boom in the area.

And if you’re looking to get away from your screen and out into the world, find out more about where you can visit some of the world’s most iconic movie locations in person.