IRELAND has been officially welcomed into the Star Wars universe and it even has its own planet name – Ahch-To.
The first trailer for the next movie in the multi-billion dollar saga, The Last Jedi, was unveiled in Orlando recently and right there to see it were tourism representatives from Donegal.
Members of the Visit Inishowen team were invited to the States to plug the peninsula’s role in the new Star Wars movie which is due for release this December.
It is a year next month since the cameras rolled at Malin Head while further filming took place on Skellig Michael in County Kerry.
Over 60,000 Star Wars fans descended on Orange County for one of the world’s biggest Star Wars convention and on hand to tell Donegal’s story was Denise Henry of Visit Inishowen.
Speaking following her return, Denise said the buzz had been phenomenal and to see her home county on the big screen was hugely exciting.
“Fans are very excited about the fact that so many scenes were shot in Ireland,” Denise told the Donegal News.
“Eight locations altogether were used in Ireland and we are the latest addition so it was a huge deal for us.
“People were aware of Skellig’s part in the movies so it was very exciting to be able to tell them about Inishowen.
“So many fans told us that they wanted to come and explore where in Ireland Star Wars was filmed and to learn about those locations. But we are hoping that if they do come, then they will visit Inishowen but also County Donegal as a whole and hopefully they will stay for two or three days. It definitely bodes well for the county and for the north west in general.”
Also in Orlando for the convention was the team from Emerald Garrison, the Irish-based Star Wars costuming club that brings together fans from all over the world. And Blabba the Hutt, Ireland’s only dedicated Star Wars blog and podcast.
Both organisations have agreed to work closely with the Visit Inishowen team on promoting the growing Irish links to the movies.
“It was wonderful to get chatting to the host of fans,” Denise added.
“There were people there not just from America but from all over Europe and it was great to be able to meet them.
“It was great fun but it was also crucial for tourism because this is something that is going to grow and grow. It wasn’t just a matter of going and speaking to lots of people, it was about making connections and building on them.
“It doesn’t stop at the end of our trip and this is something we will to continue to work at.”
If you would like to keep up to date with all things Star Wars and the Irish connection, a dedicated section can be found on the visitinishowen.com website today.