Department of Culture says wildlife documentary work will be ‘strictly supervised’
An Taisce has expressed concern about the impact of drone use on Skellig Michael’s seasonal puffin population during filming of a documentary on the Unesco world heritage site.
The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht confirmed that “limited filming” of a wildlife documentary would take place on the Skelligs off the Kerry coast in June, using a drone, but said it would be “strictly supervised”.
An Taisce advocacy officer Ian Lumley said he has no objection in principle to the documentary but questioned the use of a drone for close camera work when puffins and other birdlife are nesting on the islands.
He has called on the department to introduce “strict protocols” on drone use.
Atlantic puffins are listed as an endangered species in Europe, and are “globally threatened with extinction”, according to Birdlife International’s latest Status of the World’s Birds report.
The long transatlantic migration undertaken by puffins to and from Irish islands sometimes leaves them too exhausted to breed, according to work published last year by scientists from University College Cork (UCC) and Oxford University.
The isolated island, off Co. Kerry, has become a prime tourism destination for Star Wars fans after it featured extensively in galactic blockbusters ‘The Last Jedi’, and previously, ‘The Force Awakens’
Skellig Michael is expected to welcome its first tourists of the year today, following the completion of pre-season maintenance work on the remote UNESCO world heritage site.
The isolated island, off Co. Kerry, has become a prime tourism destination for Star Wars fans after it featured extensively in galactic blockbusters ‘The Last Jedi’, and previously, ‘The Force Awakens’.
Up to recently there had been fears that this year’s already restricted season might have to be cut short, as continued bad weather had made it impossible for OPW-employed workers to land on the Atlantic outpost to carry out necessary safety checks.
However, yesterday a spokesman for the OPW confirmed that the first boats of the season are due to land on the stunning island – unless there is a sudden change in the fine weather.
The many picturesque planets and worlds which make up Star Wars are not as out of reach as one might think. That’s to say, there’s no need to travel across galaxies to experience the landscapes and scenery as shown in the films.
Whether you choose to drive through the rolling dunes of an Abu Dhabi desert or catch the sunset across the vast horizon of Bolivia’s longest salt plains, you’re sure to be transported to another world.
May the force be with you on your next adventure.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (2015)
Puzzlewood, England: The magical Star Wars forest
Star Wars fans will recognize Puzzlewood as the location of an intense battle between Rey and Kylo Ren in “The Force Awakens.” It also will come as no surprise that this mystic forest provided J.R.R. Tolkien and J.K. Rowling with inspiration for “The Lord of the Rings” and “Harry Potter.”
This enchantingly beautiful 14-acre woodland site serves as a tourist attraction and is located near Coleford, in the Forest of Dean of Gloucestershire, England.
Skellig Michael will remain closed to visitors for at least another three weeks, meaning the island made famous by Star Wars could be facing its shortest-ever tourist season.
The isolated Unesco world heritage site, which featured extensively in the galactic blockbuster The Last Jedi, had been due to open up to tourists on May 15 for its already restricted annual four-and-a-half month visitor season.
However, the Office of Public Works (OPW) confirmed that staff have not been able to access the fragile Co Kerry outpost to carry out pre-season safety checks due to ongoing bad weather.
The OPW also revealed that the maintenance work, which will include a thorough examination of each of the 600 stone steps on the ancient monastic outcrop, and which under normal circumstances would have commenced in early April, will take about three weeks in total.
In Ireland, history is everywhere. But in some places, there is an especially strong connection with the past.
Here are IrishCentral’s choices for the top ten historical sites in Ireland.
Newgrange, County Meath
Dating back to 3200 B.C the passage tomb at Newgrange is older than the pyramids in Egypt and is officially a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Newgrange is a large passage mound, spread over an acre and surrounded by 97 uniquely carved kerbstones. The cremated remains of the dead were buried in large stone basins under the mound in a chamber accessible by a narrow passage.
At dawn on December 21, the shortest day of the year, sunlight shines directly into the central chamber of the tomb. It is believed that this was an ancient way of measuring the passage of time, like a calendar for the ancient farmers, or that the light has some religious significance for those in the afterlife.
Newgrange is part of the Brú na Boinne complex, which includes similar tombs at Knowth and Dowth.
From ancient kings and fairies to ghosts and giants, discover the secrets of these mythical spots on the Emerald Isle.
THE HILL OF TARA
From above, the Hill of Tara in County Meath looks like a message to the gods carved in the earth. In reality, this ancient mound was the seat of the Celtic High Kings of Ireland, who ruled over all the lesser kings of the land. But Tara’s mythical importance goes back even farther, as the stronghold was built over Neolithic tombs. The ancient people believed gods dwelt here at the entrance to an other-world of eternal joy. And the place continues to inspire today: Archaeologists are still locating new sites underground, and people gather on the hilltop to celebrate their pagan ancestors on the summer solstice.
Of course, there’s a perfectly logical scientific explanation for the strange interlocking columns that reach out into the sea at this UNESCO World Heritage site in County Antrim, Northern Ireland: The basalt columns were created by volcanic activity millions of years ago.
One would normally associate running into multiple, seven-foot tall densely haired individuals with a trip to Scandinavia. But Kerry can offer a similar experience as it is now, thanks to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, a familiar stomping ground for Wookies.
Although Skellig Michael was the star location of the movie, relatively little of the filming was done on the island itself (as it is a Unesco World Heritage site). Instead, the filming was spread over the Kerry coast which has added a whole new side to Kerry tourism.
Breege and Noel ‘Nolsey’ Granville were so taken with the whole Star Wars phenomenon that they now not only run tours based on the film and its locations but also organised a festival to coincide with the release of the film in December.
On the Dingle Peninsula there were locations built for the film in Farran and Dunmore Head – but perhaps the biggest was in Ceann Sibeal, near Balliferriter. In order to preserve Skellig Michael, the island’s village of beehive huts was recreated there and a road had to be built across fields to run the shoot.
NEW YORK (AP) — From the beaches of France where “Dunkirk” took place to a historic Toronto theater where “Shape of Water” was filmed, fans can visit many of the real-world destinations depicted in this year’s Oscar-nominated movies.
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
For the Italy depicted in “Call Me By Your Name,” head to the town of Crema, about an hour from Milan in the northern Lombardy region. Actor Michael Stuhlbarg says the setting was “exquisitely beautiful. … It was a character in the film.”
At London’s Churchill War Rooms museum , visitors can see the map room, cabinet room, Winston Churchill’s bedroom and other locations depicted in the movie about Churchill’s early days as prime minister during wartime. The museum was even visited by the movie’s stars, Gary Oldman, who portrayed Churchill, and Lily James, who played his secretary. An exhibit called “Undercover: Life in Churchill’s Bunker” shows how typists like James’ character sometimes lived and worked there around the clock. The museum on King Charles Street is open daily (admission, $29).
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.