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DUBLIN — No one is more excited about the new ‘Star Wars’ movie than Ireland.
The latest installment of the Star Wars franchise, ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’, smashed opening day records this past weekend, raking in an astonishing US$220 million at the North American box office. This makes Rian Johnson’s film the second-best opening of all time; its predecessor, ‘The Force Awakens’, still claims the top spot.
What this will do for the country of Ireland remains to be seen, but if ‘The Lord of the Rings’ effect on New Zealand is any indication, the Emerald Isle can expect a similar boost in tourism.
‘The Last Jedi’ was shot in several Irish locations, from the island of Skellig Michael off the southwest coast, to its most northerly tip at Malin Head. Key locations were handpicked by ‘Star Wars’ location scouts to represent Ahch-to, the oceanic planet that became home to an exiled Luke Skywalker.
To celebrate the film’s Irish connections, Tourism Ireland has just released a promotional film about holidays along the Wild Atlantic Way, and who better to deliver a warm welcome to tourists than Luke Skywalker himself, actor Mark Hamill. Filmed using the trademark ‘Star Wars’ screen-wipe transitions and sound effects, the promotional film features a number of holiday destinations along Ireland’s western seaboard before ending with Hamill saying, “Escape the dark side along Earth’s Wild Atlantic Way – the perfect place to get away from it all.”
The Wild Atlantic Way made its first ‘Star Wars’ appearance in the final moments of the 2015 blockbuster, ‘The Force Awakens’, with Skellig Michael doubling as Luke Skywalker’s hideout.