Go mbeidh an fórsa leat (May the force be with you!) as you embark on a journey of Ireland’s Star Wars filming locations. A route that utilises all the beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way, this Star Wars-themed road trip sweeps the length of the country, starting at mainland Ireland’s most southerly point, Brow Head, and stretching all the way to its most northerly tip, Malin Head. This trip may not take you to a galaxy far, far away, but just like the movies it guarantees adventure and a whole lot of fun. From tiny coastal hamlets that you’ll want to call home, to resident dolphins and pubs that pay tribute to Yoda, there is much to discover and enjoy on this tour of Ireland’s Star Wars filming locations.
Brow Head, County Cork
Over 300 Star Wars cast and crew descended on the windswept expanse of Brow Head in 2016 to film scenes that, until the release of The Last Jedi, had been shrouded in secrecy. Situated on privately-owned land, Brow Head is officially closed to the public, though with Star Wars custom tours popping up here, there and everywhere, it is surely only a matter of time before Brow Head becomes a guided-tour hot spot. An abandoned mining village dotted with derelict buildings, Brow Head is a somewhat desolate, yet starkly beautiful place of sheer cliffs, crashing waves and limitless sea views.
From Brow Head, venture along a series of winding country roads to Mizen Head, remembering to make a stop to walk the golden sands of Barley Cove Beach along the way. Also utilised in the filming of The Last Jedi, Mizen Head is famous for its sweeping coastal scenery and its arched bridge, which stands high above the crashing waves below.
Before leaving this area of awe-inspiring beauty, follow in the footsteps of the Star Wars crew and enjoy a hearty chowder at O’ Sullivan’s Bar in Crookhaven, a traditional Irish pub where the welcome is warm and the Guinness is good.
The Skellig Islands, County Kerry
The appearance of Skellig Michael in a small but very pivotal role in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens saw a surge in visitors to the island as Star Wars fans flocked in their thousands to see the site where Rey locates the missing Luke Skywalker. That number is set to increase with the release of The Last Jedi, but with boat tours to the island popping up like daffodils in spring, you should have no problem in visiting Skellig Michael during its open season of May to October. If you plan on visiting the island, make sure you are equipped with a sturdy pair of walking shoes. This ancient monastic site, which sits two hundred meters above the sea, is reached via a rather steep and somewhat uneven rock path of over five hundred stone steps. Once on the island, you’ll discover the remnants of an ancient Christian monastery, including a late-medieval church and a number of distinctive beehive-shaped huts, known as clocháns.
Before achieving Star Wars fame, the Skellig Islands were better known as a UNESCO World Heritage site of Outstanding Universal Value. You can find out more about the history and heritage of the islands when you visit the Skellig Experience Visitor Centre, located on nearby Valencia Island.
The Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry
To Sybil Head in Ballyferriter on the Dingle Peninsula, where the Star Wars crew arrived to build a series of beehive huts identical to those found on Skellig Michael. With its scenic walking trails and multitude of hidden coastal nooks and caves, Sybil Head is a great place to feel the wind in your hair and get away from it all. Once declared ‘the most beautiful place on earth,’ by National Geographic magazine, the Star Wars cast and crew were so charmed by the Dingle Peninsula and its people that local school children were treated to a visit from none other than Chewbacca himself. The children repaid Chewie’s kindness by playing a rendition of the Star Wars theme tune on their tin whistles.
If it’s nightlife you’re after, then pay a visit to nearby Dingle, a picturesque town that is known for its great live music tradition. The most popular pub in town is Dick Mack’s, a traditional Irish pub with its very own Brewhouse.
Of course, no trip to Dingle is complete without taking a boat trip to say hello to Fungie, Dingle’s resident dolphin. Fungie, who has been visiting Dingle Bay since 1983, is so adored in Dingle that he even has his very own statue in the town, donated by American sculptor, James Bottoms.
Loop Head, County Clare
The spectacular cliffs at Loop Head in County Clare piqued the interest of those secretive Star Wars location scouts, who informed the local tourist board that a movie called ‘Star Bears’ would be filming in the area. A number of guided walks and cycling tours of the area are available to visitors, or if you prefer, explore the Loop Head Heritage Trail at your leisure via signposts and an audio guide. While in the area, take a tour of Loop Head’s beautiful lighthouse, and get ready for views that will take your breath away.
Before you embark on the next leg of your journey, pay a visit to Murphy Blacks restaurant in Kilkee. The Clare Seafood Taster, a seafood platter of smoked salmon, mackerel, pâté and homemade bread comes highly recommended.
Inishowen Peninsula, County Donegal
The last stop on this tour of Ireland’s Star Wars filming locations stretches all the way to Ireland’s most northerly point, Malin Head, on the Inishowen Peninsula. Here, the Star Wars cast and crew filmed at Hell’s Hole, a wild and dangerous ravine, carved into the surrounding rocks through the ages by wild Atlantic waves.
Finally, follow in the footsteps of Mark Hamill and visit Farren’s Bar, Ireland’s most northerly Bar, which comes complete with a Yoda mural and a notice from the management that strictly forbids any and all use of the ‘Force’ on the premises.
Go with Authentic Vacations for the immersive Star Wars experience where we can wrap some or all of these locations (and some secret surprises too) in an Ireland vacation package.