Luke Skywalker's HideoutSkellig Michael, Ireland
Star Wars: The Force Awakens may be set in a galaxy far far away, but you don’t need a spaceship to reach the craggy peaks of Skywalker’s secluded hideout. With the help of a sailing ship, or just a small boat, sci-fi fans can sail 12 kilometres off the west coast of Ireland to Skellig Michael, a rugged outcrop that transformed from medieval Christian monastery to Jedi hermitage for the film.
Rising improbably from the Atlantic, one of the highlights of Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way, the island has attracted both admirers and those seeking solitude for centuries. Monks moved ashore in the sixth century, enduring isolation and the occasional Viking rampage over the next 600 years, before abandoning the lonely outpost in the late twelfth century. During their time on the island they carved hundreds of stone steps to the summit, where they established an isolated monastery.
The Skelligs’ charms are not only confined to past glories. Along with their sister group, the Blaskets to the north, the Skelligs support some of the largest collections of manx sheerwater and puffins in the world.
Skellig Michael – and neighbouring Little Skellig – have featured in ancient Irish legends, but it wasn’t until 2014 that these remote peaks welcomed their strangest visitor yet… one of the biggest movie-making phenomena in history.
The World Heritage-listed ruins that sit on the island have remained incredibly well preserved thanks to their remote location and little interest from travellers until The Force Awakens hit the screen.
- The spectacular, remote scenery
- Spotting adorable puffins
- Searching for Luke Skywalker and re-enacting the last scene from the film
- Seasickness getting there
- People have died falling from the steps… yep, they died
- The isle is surrounded by the ocean, so expect cold weather and brisk winds
From Dublin it is a seven hour train or ten hour bus trip to Portmagee in Ireland’s south west.
From April through to September there are 2.5-hour cruises available to take visitors to the island to stroll in Skywalker’s shoes.
It can be quite a difficult climb once on the island and even getting on can be weather permitting.