May the 4th Be With You

Ireland

Celebrating Star Wars day.

May the 4th Be With You

By Denise Henry

In 2015, Star Wars fans around the globe were captivated by a mysterious Island named Ahch-To.

In the Star Wars Universe, Ahch-To is the home of the first Jedi Temple, Ancient Jedi Text and some adorable native creatures called Porgs. In real life, the people of Ireland call this landscape home.

Skellig Michael AKA Ahch-To is the iconic film location that featured in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.

Skellig Michael AKA Ahch-To is the iconic film location that featured in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.

Rey on Skellig Michael, looking for Luke.

Rey on Skellig Michael, looking for Luke.

Fun fact: The Porgs were created in order to digitally cover up the real-life Puffins birds on Skellig Michael.

Fun fact: The Porgs were created in order to digitally cover up the real-life Puffins birds on Skellig Michael.

Scenes shot on Ahch-To, between the legendary Luke Skywalker and Rey are based on stunning coastal locations spanning from the top to the bottom of Ireland.

Ineuran Bay, Malin Head, home of the Millennium Falcon set.

Ineuran Bay, Malin Head, home of the Millennium Falcon set.

Fans were excited to learn that locations along Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way route represent an important part of this new chapter in the Star Wars Story.

Esky Bay, Malin Head, a stop along the Ahch-To Way route.

Esky Bay, Malin Head, a stop along the Ahch-To Way route.

Annually Star Wars fans from around the world come together to celebrate what is recognised as Star Wars Day. The community of fans and tourism leaders in Ireland were eager to mark this important date in the calendar. What better way to do that than an out of this world festival!

Launch of 'May The 4th Be With You' festival.

Launch of 'May The 4th Be With You' festival.

'May The 4th Be With You' festival 2019

The 'May the 4th Be with You' festival, which launched in 2018, was even stronger in The Force this year as locations in both Donegal and Kerry teamed up to showcase their connection to the Star Wars Universe.

Over three days the event, like a sacred Force Tree, brought together young and old to experience real-life locations that featured in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. And the 501st Legion Ireland Garrison packed a Galactic punch with out of this world costumes, introducing fans to both the light and dark side of The Force.

Darth Vader and Rey meeting at Kerry, Ireland.

Darth Vader and Rey meeting at Kerry, Ireland.

To launch the festivities at Malin Head, Donegal, everyone’s favourite droid (Sorry BB-8 fans) had a road named after him. The road sign, originally called R242, was renamed R2-D2 in honour of this small, yet mighty, hero of the Resistance. The droid himself was so impressed he made an appearance for the launch.

R2-D2 and a former foe, a Tuskan Raider, at Malin Head.

R2-D2 and a former foe, a Tuskan Raider, at Malin Head.

Portmagee a small fishing village along the coast of County Kerry, made a splash in 2017 when it was popularly renamed Porgmagee (for many fans it’s a name that has stuck!). During the festival this location once again became a hive of galactic fun alongside neighbouring village, Ballyferriter. Ballyferriter was home to the replica beehive hut set which featured in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

501st Legion Ireland Garrison gather in Ballyferriter to celebrate 'May The Fourth Be With You' festival.

501st Legion Ireland Garrison gather in Ballyferriter to celebrate 'May The Fourth Be With You' festival.

Festival Line Up 

The weekend itinerary was packed with events to appease Sith Lords and Jedi alike. Visitors and fans were treated to drive-in cinema screenings of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, star gazing, a cosplay fun run, lightsaber battle, Jedi training, Yoda yoga, blaster tag, gaming, and so much more.

In the Inishowen Peninsula, villages and towns dotted along the coast joined in the fun with a selfie hunt, Star Wars inspired food and live music.

The 501st legion dropped by Moville, Inishowen, to take a selfie with Chef Brian McDermott.

The 501st legion dropped by Moville, Inishowen, to take a selfie with Chef Brian McDermott.

Guided boat, walking and bus tours brought fans closer to the locations where filming took place, while highlighting the wealth of culture and history associated with Donegal and Kerry.

In Malin Head fans experienced a guided tour of the Ahch-To Way. A route created for Star Wars fans to experience film locations in Ireland.

Kylo Ren met his match at Banbas Crown, one of the stops along the Ahch-To Way guided tour in Malin Head.

Kylo Ren met his match at Banbas Crown, one of the stops along the Ahch-To Way guided tour in Malin Head.

Crowds gathered in Malin Town, Inishowen to witness a colourful firework display.

The success of the 'May The 4th Be With You' festival highlighted that Ireland is a place where Star Wars fans can stand on the coast and feel a part of the Star Wars Universe. A place Mark Hamill himself described as having a "beauty that is unmatched…you will never find another place like it". 

Useful sources of information and additional tips for planning your visit:

About our guest author Denise:

Irish-born and bred Denise Henry is the CEO and content creator of the Ahch-To Way, a web-based resource that provides stories and travel guides for visitors and Star Wars fans coming to Ireland.

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