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The New York Times visited Skellig Michael... and went completely overboard

“You’d sooner keep a Wookie from roaring than keep an Irishman from regaling a willing audience.”

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SKELLIG MICHAEL IS about to become a really big deal thanks to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which hits cinemas in two weeks time.

As you will probably recall, Star Wars: The Force Awakens filmed for two days on the island during the summer.

And ahead of the film’s release, The New York Times decided to send one of their reporters to the island… and they went a little overboard.

It starts off well enough…

The article describes Skellig Michael as “one of the country’s most mystical places” and speculates that it will soon emerge from the shadow of “other Irish wonders with a high-wattage wow factor, such as the Cliffs of Moher”.

Before going totally overboard with Star Wars analogies

giphy (5) Source: holden241/Tumblr


The smart money has the island standing in as an exile or refuge for Skywalker, just as it did some 1,500 years ago, when a band of early Christian monks retreated from civilization to worship God from the island’s precipitous peaks.

Drawing comparisons between Star Wars and the plight of the early Christian monks? Tad much.

giphy (6) Source: starwars/Tumblr


Like many in Portmagee, he had signed a nondisclosure agreement, giving up the right to dish details of the filming. But you’d sooner keep a Wookiee from roaring than an Irishman from regaling a willing audience, and soon Mr. O’Driscoll was dishing away.

Keeping a Wookiee from roaring? Hard, but doable. Keeping an Irish man from telling stories? IMPOSSIBLE.

We were also treated to some Skywalker/Skellig Michael fanfiction

I imagined Luke Skywalker in one of the dank beehive cells, crouching as the monks had centuries before, marooned on the island with his demons. Will he be tempted toward the Dark Side on that inhospitable crag, I wondered as Skellig Michael shrank against the horizon.

And they did that thing where they referred to people as “villagers”

Villagers who knew their Jedi from their Sith recognized him as Mark Hamill, forever famous for playing Luke Skywalker in the original “Star Wars” film trilogy.

Ah yes.

They also raised some worrying concerns about the birds on Skellig Michael…

The views over the Atlantic were endless, and gulls and gannets soared and dived, their cries echoing with either anguished loneliness or triumphant salvation, possibly a bit of both.


Finally, should you visit Skellig Michael, please note that you will be struck with PARALYSING FEAR

 The stairway offers almost no hand rails or safety guards, and many visitors are struck with paralyzing fear on the ascent.

“Mick, I want to turn back.” “Okay.” “Mick… I can’t move. I’m paralysed with fear.”

Still, it does kind of make us want to go there


No wonder George Bernard Shaw, following a visit in 1910, described Skellig Michael this way: “I hardly feel real again … I tell you, the thing does not belong to any world that you and I have lived and worked in: It is part of our dream world.”

Dream world, indeed.


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About the author:

Amy O'Connor

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