Mark Hamill to be ‘guest of honour’ for St Patrick’s Day parade

Star Wars actor will be the Dublin parade’s first ‘international guest of honour’

Actor Mark Hamill who will be the international guest of honour at the Dublin St Patrick’s Day parade. Photograph: Getty Images

Actor Mark Hamill who will be the international guest of honour at the Dublin St Patrick’s Day parade. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Star Wars actor will attend the St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin on Saturday as an international guest of honour.

Hamill, famous for playing Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, will be the festival’s first international guest of honour and will watch the parade from the Presidential stand.

The new role was introduced to recognise Irish Diaspora and those with links to Ireland who have made a significant impact abroad.

This year’s parade will start from Parnell Square at noon, march down O’Connell St, before crossing the River Liffey, winding around College Green, and finishing at Kevin St.

There will be rolling road closures and traffic diversions in place across the city centre on the day.

A range of events will be held from Thursday to Monday, as part of the St Patrick’s Festival.

Susan Kirby, chief executive of the festival , said there were many examples of “Irish people and the Diaspora achieving eminence across many different art forms and disciplines worldwide.”

“Many of these have a special connection with Ireland and we want to celebrate and recognise this” she said.

Skellig Michael, an island off the coast of Kerry, was used as a location in the latest movie, Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi, featuring as the hidden refuge of Luke Skywalker.

Mark Hamill’s time spent in Co Kerry shooting for the Star Wars film is not his only link to the country.

Hamill’s great-grandmother Elizabeth Keating was born in Kilkenny in 1873, and left Ireland for America when she was a teenager.

The parade will feature over 2,000 members of marching bands from across the country, floats, and performers, as it makes its way through the city.

Irish actor Liam Cunningham, famous for his role as Davos Seaworth in television series Game of Thrones, will lead the parade this year.

Several public buildings will be turned green to celebrate the festival this week, including Aras an Uachtarain, Leinster House, the Four Courts, the National Gallery of Ireland, Christchurch Cathedral and City Hall.