Skellig Michael part of a galaxy far far away as Star Wars comes to the island
A SMALL heritage island off the west coast of Ireland is set to become part of a galaxy far far away.
Renowned director JJ Abrams has been given permission to film part of the new Star Wars movie on the island of Skellig Michael, it has been confirmed.
The rocky outcrop - which would provide a perfect hideaway for an ageing Jedi like Luke Skywalker - is set to begin as early as next week.
JJ Abrams is busy directing the new film Star Wars: Episode VII which is currently shooting in Pinewood Studios in the UK.
The Office of Public Works (OPW) has confirmed the iconic Kerry site has been made available for a film production shoot on the island and the production is fully supported by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
"Skellig Michael is being made available for a film production shoot which is happening in late July on the island.
"OPW will be providing on site support through our staff who are present on the Island throughout the summer, as normal," an OPW spokesperson told the Herald today.
She added: "They will be continuing to manage visitors throughout and will, obviously, continue to safeguard the national monument and the island, which is a world heritage site.
"This production is being fully supported by the Department of Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Irish Film Board".
While part of the film will be made on the island, it is far from the only connection that Star Wars has with Ireland.
Actor Domhnall Gleeson has also landed a role in the highly anticipated film which will be released on December 18, 2015.
The actor has signed elaborate secrecy clauses and in May said he could not speak about the plot.
"I don't want to say too much about it because I am terrified I will accidentally give the entire story away," he said earlier this summer.
"But obviously I'm extremely excited about it. We had the read-through and it was incredible sitting in the room with all those unbelievably talented actors."
Gleeson has been cast in the franchise alongside Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill.
Also new to the franchise are John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver and Max von Sydow.