• Cyril McAree

The Fourth Runs Strong In Kerry

Fáilte Ireland’s first ‘May the Fourth Be With You’ festival wrapped up this week after three days of events across the Kerry villages of Ballyferriter, Portmagee, Ballinskelligs and Valentia Island. The festival kicked off on Friday, May the 4th (the day when fans across the globe commemorate the Star Wars Universe) and sought to capitalise on the enthusiasm for the galaxy far far way, firmly placing Ireland within that galaxy. The festival included a host of fun activities for all-ages, including visits to Slea Head’s beehive huts (Luke Skywalker’s hideaway of choice), guided film location walks and children’s workshops.

A highlight over the weekend was a special céilí for Star Wars fans which saw costumed dancers take the stage in a great meeting of traditional Irish culture and the Star Wars Universe. Fans also had the opportunity to enjoy outdoor drive-in movie screenings set against the breath-taking backdrop of the west Kerry coast, which featured in the latest movie installation.

Fáilte Ireland captured the excitement in a video which will be used to build on the connection Ireland has with this iconic film universe after recent Star Wars filming took place along the Wild Atlantic Way.

Speaking about the festival, Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin said:“Since Star Wars included some of our iconic Irish landscapes along the Wild Atlantic Way in recent films, I have been keen to mark May the Fourth in a meaningful way. When appointed as Minister last summer, I approached Fáilte Ireland with this proposal. The inaugural ‘May the Fourth Be With You’ festival really was a great success, setting a fun and enticing programme of events against the backdrop of our beautiful coastline. Not only did the event attract visitors to the area but events like the outdoor screenings of the film, with the actual film locations visible in the background, have provided us with amazing imagery for even greater exposure around the world.”

Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Festivals, Ciara Sugrue said: “It has been a truly amazing weekend here in Kerry and I’d like to thank local tourism business and all those involved for coming together to help us create an itinerary of events which not only celebrated the Star Wars Universe but the history and natural landscape of the area. Star Wars has created a curiosity around the Wild Atlantic Way and raised its profile amongst fans both domestically and internationally and this festival and the content we have been able to capture over the last few days will only raise the profile of the region further, attracting more visitors throughout the year.”

Filming for recent Star Wars films took place in locations across Kerry, Cork, Clare and Donegal. The May the Fourth Be With You festival is being piloted this year in Kerry.

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