The first full length trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi is causing a lot of excitement among fans, and if the new footage is anything to go by, it will feature a lot more of an amazing Irish island that travellers can visit in 2018.
The final scenes of 2015’s The Force Awakens showed Rey landing on a rocky island in the middle of an ocean and approaching a cloaked figure, revealed to be Luke Skywalker. The new trailer picks up where the last film left off, showing Luke and Rey on the island as she trains with a lightsabre.
While the rest of the trailer features many fantastical landscapes, the island is very real and open to visitors again in 2018. Skellig Michael is a rocky island of the western coast of Ireland. The Unesco World Heritage site was home to Christian monks from the 6th to the 12th century, but the island’s current prominence is very much indebted to its role in the new films.
Visitors can head to the island, but only between mid-May and the end of September, depending on the weather. This means that the next opportunity to fans to get there will be in 2018. Travellers who want to go can take a boat ride from a number of communities on the coast from licensed operators. The number of visitors is limited for safety and conservation reasons so booking ahead is important, and even then, bad weather and rough sea conditions often lead to cancellations. As a wilderness site and a nature reserve – it’s an important site for seabirds – the island has no toilets or services on site. Travellers who arrive on the island have a couple of hours to explore – and climb the 600 steps up to the monastery – before heading back to shore.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be released on 15 December, and once you’ve pre-booked tickets for the film’s opening, it will be time to start considering a trip to Ireland to see Skellig Michael for yourself.