Drone filming on Skellig Michael poses risk to puffins, warns An Taisce; Lorna Siggins; Irish Times

Ireland – Sceilg Mhichíl

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.

Human disturbance

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Iconic Kerry Star Wars island Skellig Michael to reopen to tourists for summer season; Nick Bramhill; Irish Mirror

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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.

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6 ‘Star Wars’ Filming Locations That Are Out of This World; Olivia Little; Canadian Traveller

Ireland – Sceilg Mhichíl

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.

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Tourists may have longer wait to visit Skellig Michael; Nick Bramhill; Irish Examiner

Ireland – Sceilg Mhichíl

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.

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The 15 Most Mysterious Sites in Ireland; Tina Donvito; Reader’s Digest

Ireland – Sceilg Mhichíl

From ancient kings and fairies to ghosts and giants, discover the secrets of these mythical spots on the Emerald Isle.


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.

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Kerry: Following the last Jedi to the Skelligs; Louis Furney; Independent

Ireland – Sceilg Mhichíl

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.

Source: Kerry: Following the last Jedi to the Skelligs

Real places in Oscar-nominated films from Dunkirk to Toronto; Beth J. Harpaz; AP

Ireland – Sceilg Mhichíl

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.


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).


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From shark attacks to moped hire – the most dangerous spots for everyday holiday activities; Emily Payne; The Sun

Ireland – Sceilg Mhichíl

From swimming in Australia to dodgy motorbike hire in Thailand and even taking selfies – these are some of the most perilous tourist activities around the world.

LAST week, a South African tourist died and 12 more were injured after a hot-air balloon carrying 20 people crashed in Luxor, Egypt.

It isn’t the first time that a balloon crash in the area has resulted in fatalities though – in 2013, a hot air balloon crash near Luxor caused 19 deaths out of 21 passengers.

Safety concerns are regularly raised in the area, with recent crashes also occurring in 2007,2008 and 2009,

Hot air ballooning isn’t the only popular tourist activity that comes with a warning though – road traffic accidents are the most common cause of death for Brits abroad, followed by drowning.

Swimming in Australia to dodgy motorbike hire in Thailand are some of the most perilous tourist activities around the world.

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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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Skellig Michael by helicopter: A galaxy not so far away; Erin McCafferty; Independent

Ireland – Sceilg Mhichíl

As Star Wars hits cinemas, we take to the skies for a Millennium Falcon-style view of the Skelligs…

It looks so peaceful from above. A giant, pointy, rock formation in varying hues of grey and green, rising majestically from the Atlantic.

In crystal clear December daylight, I can see the jagged edges of the coast – earthy brown and grey – contrasting with the deep navy blue of the sea below.

It’s only when you look closely at the edges of Skellig Michael, and see the frothy white waves crashing in wild abandon against the rocks, that you realise just how treacherous this tiny island actually is.

There’s an almost tangible power to it, with or without Star Wars – in which it features dramatically as a location. It casts a spiritual spell.

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