Tourism Ireland launches Skellig Michael advert into space

You can’t say Tourism Ireland isn’t reaching out to new markets — its new publicity drive based around Star Wars: The Last Jedi has gone into space.

As part of the marketing wheeze, Tourism Ireland launched a billboard into space using a weather balloon, reaching peak altitude at 33,390m. At that point, a photo and short film of the ad was recorded.

A brief clip shows the video screen billboard hovering above the Earth in what Tourism Ireland is calling “Planet Earth’s first interstellar tourism campaign”.

Some scenes in The Force Awakens were shot on Skellig Michael, which will also feature in the upcoming The Last Jedi. Other locations around the country were also used, including Ceann Sibeal in Co Kerry and Brow Head in Co Cork.

The billboard ad is promoting “Earth’s Wild Atlantic Way” with an image of Skellig Michael, which in the movie is the planet Ahch-to, home to hermetical Jedi Luke Skywalker.

Tourism Ireland said with the latest Star Wars film hitting the screens next week, it will share the photo and film with its 20,000 international media contacts and via social media platforms.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Our space tourism publicity stunt is a bit of fun,designed to create some excitement as Star Wars fans everywhere get ready for the release of The Last Jedi.

“The fact that another Star Wars film was shot on location along the Wild Atlantic Way is truly a fantastic coup for Irish tourism.”

As it turns out, back in 2012, the Irish Examiner reported that a humble jar of Ballymaloe Relish made it to an altitude of almost 30km — just shy of the billboard’s mark.

So not quite a galaxy far, far away, but near enough. And if a death star suddenly looms into view, you’ll know who to blame...

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