Take a trip to a place far, far away and enjoy the mysticism of stunning Skellig Michael
Could there been a better place to film the finale of ‘The Force Awakens‘, than the mystical Irish Skellig Michael? Jutting out into the Atlantic, seven miles off the South West Irish coast, this magical pinnacle of rock has a long history of spiritualism, myths and legends. As such, it lends itself beautifully to the latest in the Star Wars series of films, particularly as they themselves are an intriguing fusion of myths which have been borrowed from everything from Eastern philosophies to modern day wars. Doubling as the location of the mystical remains of the First Jedi Temple, the stunning World Heritage Site of Skellig Michael was an inspired choice as, far from just providing a perfect cinematic backdrop for the film, the island itself is steeped in history that goes back for centuries.
Ever since Medieval times, there’s been a monastery on Skellig, so when we see the fictional characters from Star Wars walking among the ruins, they’re walking among some of our finest historical remains. Devotees of the Christian religion sought solitude on this magnificent island, thinking that being so isolated from the rest of the community would help them to find salvation. At that time, Ireland seemed to be at the end of the Earth, with Skellig Michael being one of the furthest outposts in the Christian world.
For hundreds of years, pilgrims made the perilous journey to experience the solitude, and to walk in the footsteps of the saints who had been immortalised in Medieval Irish myths, involving other worlds, monsters and spiritual battles between the forces of good and evil; the dark side and the light. It was also a popular place for fleeing kings to take refuge, the location of a kidnapping by Viking raiders, and has long been a mystical location for stories and legends of all kinds. And, even though it had long been abandoned, 18th century records suggest that the local people deemed that the island was a place that didn’t fit into normal space and time, thus making a place where couples could be legally married during lent.
A visit to the island today will bring you to a place littered with archaeological remains from the 11th and 12th centuries, when Skellig was probably at its busiest in terms of pilgrimages. Dotted across the island are stone beehive huts, churches, crosses and penitential stations which had been provided by the Church for visiting pilgrims to experience some of the mysticism associated with the place. ‘Michael’ was added to Skellig’s name as a way to dedicate the rock to the saint and increase the appeal of the place for pilgrimages.
Now immortalised as the home of the older and wiser Jedi knight, Luke Skywalker, Skellig Michael is the ultimate destination for fans of the latest Star Wars film. In fact, you can go on a little pilgrimage of your own, courtesy of Brit Movie Tours on our Skellig Michael Tour. Depending on your preferences you can either arrive at Skellig Michael by boat, and explore the rock at your leisure, climbing the steep steps just like the Daisy Ridley character, Rey or, if you’re unable or simply don’t want to climb the stairs, just enjoy the stunning location on a boat trip around the rock.