Council seeks parking land for Skellig launch point

Suitable land is being sought to provide a third car park in a Kerry harbour village, the main departure point for Skellig Michael, which features in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Increasing numbers of visitors, particularly from the US, are arriving in Portmagee, where the village of just under 400 residents is struggling to accommodate coaches and cars.

The village was nicknamed “Porgmagee” during the December release of the film after Porgs, the fictional seabird species designed for the latest Star Wars’ spectacle. The creatures were themselves inspired by the real-life puffins on the Unesco World Heritage-designated monastic island.

A 25-space car park was provided last summer but a Kerry County Council meeting was told the additional parking was insufficient.

The council, it emerged, is to seek land for a car park.

A spokesman said: “The council is prepared to examine the feasibility of developing further car parking and recreational amenities in Portmagee.

“However, this is contingent on the availability of land close to the centre of the village that could facilitate such development.”

The council, the spokesman added, was open to discussions and would purchase the land by agreement.

“The Star Wars link has led to the village becoming a big tourist attraction,” said councillor Michael Cahill.

“But we must have the infrastructure to accommodate the numbers.”

Portmagee, he said, was also in need of a children’s playground, while adding that other tourist attractions on the peninsula such as Inch Beach required beach showers and proper parking.

Mr Cahill said Main St in Portmagee had already been heavily congested last summer, despite two new car parks being provided in recent years.

Traffic for Valentia Island also passes through part of the village.

However, the Star Wars connection delivered throngs of visitors which the village has fully embraced.

Meanwhile, the OPW has separately confirmed it is examining a former lighthouse building on Skellig Michael as a site for a toilet. A 40-minute sea journey, the island has no public amenities for the thousands of summer season visitors.


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