Star Wars fans descend on Irish film locations for festival

Star Wars fans have gathered in Ireland to mark the annual celebration of the film franchise.

Hundreds of fans, many dressed as their favourite characters from the film, descended on Kerry and Donegal for the May the Fourth festivals.

Themed festivities and events for all ages attracted tourists from all over the world to Irish locations made famous by the films.

Activities included walking tours, children’s work shops, movie screenings, exhibitions, fireworks and boat trips.

Star Wars events were held around the world on May 4, due to the date sounding like the film’s famous phrase – “May the Force be with you”.

In Ireland, two festivals were staged over the weekend at locations close to where scenes from the most recent movies were shot – Malin Head in Co Donegal and in Portmagee in Co Kerry.

Ciara Sugrue, head of festivals and events at Failte Ireland, said the festival in Kerry connected fans from across the world.

She said: “This festival is really something that we created to celebrate the fact that some of the greatest movie makers in the world picked this part of Ireland to include as the location for their movie.

“It’s that connection with the Wild Atlantic Way and Stars Wars and attracting people to this beautiful part of the country and to celebrate universal Star Wars day.

“The place is buzzing.”

May the 4th Festival
Members of the ‘501st Legion Ireland Garrison’ dressed as a ‘Snow Trooper’ (left) and a ‘Tie Fighter’ on a boat trip to Skellig Michael, where scenes from Star Wars were filmed, during the May the 4th Festival in Portmagee (Brian Lawless/PA)

Gary O’Toole, who makes Star Wars costumes, was one of the main attractions for the festival.

He paid tribute to Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew, who recently died at the age of 74.

“Chewbacca is quite possibly one of the most popular characters and one of the first that comes to mind when you think of Star Wars,” he said.

“Peter was a very gentle sole. Some of us has the pleasure of meeting him and his family. Who doesn’t love Chewbacca and Stars Wars?

“He was gentle giant, someone with a very kind heart who was dedicated and brought a lot of charisma to the role.”

Siobhan Hind, from Dublin, dressed as Star Wars character Rey.

She said: “It’s an amazing experience. The scenery is stunning and I can see why they chose here.

“I was almost in tears when I got to see Skellig Michael, it’s a stunning place that everyone should go see.

“I loved Chewbacca – it was my favourite character. I burst into tears when I heard Peter (Mayhew) died.

“He lived a great life and it impacted on so many people. He will live on.”

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