The Last Jedi’s Monastic Retreat; Julia Blakely; Smithsonian Libraries Unbound

Ireland – Sceilg Mhichíl

The Skellig Islands. More stunning and other-worldly than any of the special effects of the past two Star Wars movies is the real-life towering rock outcroppings glimpsed in the closing moments of The Force Awakens (2015) and now playing a starring role in the blockbuster, The Last Jedi (2017). Although the Great Skellig, also known as Skellig Michael and Sceilig Mhichíl, and the Lesser (or Little) Skellig appear to be in a galaxy far, far away, they are in fact about eight miles off the dramatic southwest Atlantic coast of Ireland. Long before Luke Skywalker arrived on the scene, the islands have been a sacred place of retreat, pilgrimage and sanctuary.

Up a great trek of the remaining 618 steps cut into the sea-bitten cliffs, Great Skellig has near its 715-foot summit an ancient monastery that appears to be almost organic with the ragged landscape.

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