herald

Thursday 19 April 2018

The Force is strong in Ireland with Star Wars' global triumph

Last Jedi stars Daisy Ridley and Mark Hamill have helped Ireland’s tourism with their tales of a galaxy far, far away. Photo: Hannah McKay
Last Jedi stars Daisy Ridley and Mark Hamill have helped Ireland’s tourism with their tales of a galaxy far, far away. Photo: Hannah McKay

The latest Star Wars instalment has proven it is a force to be reckoned with after smashing Irish box office records.

Taking in more than €2.3m during its four-day opening weekend, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the top Disney cinema release of all time in Ireland.

Disney holds the first and second spots for four-day opening weekends this year, Beauty & The Beast chalking up the previous best.

Already, The Last Jedi has taken more than $450m (€380m) globally - $230m (€195m) internationally and an estimated $220m (€186m) in the US.

The worldwide success also means that millions of people are seeing the marvels of the west of Ireland for the first time.

Skellig Michael serves as a key location as Luke Skywalker's hideaway from the rest of the galaxy.

However, it's not just the island that's depicted on the big screen, with beauty spots all along the west coast also in the spotlight.

Star Wars icon Mark Hamill is even encouraging people to "escape the dark side" by heading to the Wild Atlantic Way.

In a new Tourism Ireland ad, narrated by Hamill, locations from Skellig Michael to Malin Head are depicted as ideal locations for family holidays. At the end of the video, the star says: "Escape the dark side along Earth's Wild Atlantic Way - the perfect place to get away from it all."

Coup

Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said Star Wars' Wild Atlantic Way location was "truly a fantastic coup for Irish tourism".

"It presents Tourism Ireland with a superb opportunity in 2018," he added.

Earlier this month, as part of its €500,000 campaign, the tourism body launched the world's first "interstellar billboard".

The billboard, featuring an image of Skellig Michael with the message "visit Earth's Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland", was sent more than 33,390 metres - almost 21 miles - into the stratosphere aboard a weather balloon.

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