Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Aosdána mentions Star Wars Island

The mysterious cultural body seems to have a bee in its bonnet about Skellig Michael’s intergalactic adventures

Thu, Apr 28, 2016, 20:44


As you will be aware, bits of the new Star Wars series were shot on Skellig Michael — now popularly know as Star Wars Island — over the last two years or so. You can see the location at the end of Star Wars The Force Awakens and, presumably, we will catch some more at the beginning of Episode VIII. The shoot was a great success. A story in this paper later confirmed that, though there were two minor incidents, no significant damage took place. Sorcha Pollak wrote: “The assessment report, which was compiled by experts from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and the National Monuments Service (NMS), with input from the Office of Public Works (OPW), said the film crew’s presence over three days at the Unesco world heritage site had ‘no implication for the outstanding universal value of the World Heritage property and no impact on the national monument’.”

Look, I’m telling you, Boba Fett is Rey’s Uncle. Have you not read

Nonetheless, the good people at Aosdána are a little uncertain about the Star Wars Island business. At the organisation’s annual dance round a burning Wicker Man (oh come on, it’s just a joke) in the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Paddy Bushe, a poet of note, proposed a motion calling for “open and transparent consultation with all interested and relevant individuals and bodies” before permission was granted for filming on heritage sites. Why is this coming up now? Yes, the assault on Star Wars Island is to blame. My colleague Hugh Linehan reported: “Mr Bushe said questions about safeguarding the built and natural heritage of Skellig that had been put to the OPW and the Wildlife Service were referred to The Irish Film Board, which was neither qualified to answer them nor the relevant body.”

The good people from LucasFilm are to shoot material for Star Wars Episode VIII on the west coast of Ireland over the next year. But the filming on Star Wars Island looks to be over. We’re guessing Rey will pluck Luke Skywalker from the rock and that he will see no need to return. So, why do “questions” still need to be asked? “It is not about cultural elitism as opposed to cultural populism,” Mr Bushe said. Glad to hear it.

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