Deal struck with Skellig boatmen over Star Wars shoot

Skellig Michael

The Office of Public Works has confirmed that it will allow extra sailings for tourists to Skellig Michael after the famous island plays host to a Star Wars film shoot next week.

The Unesco World Heritage site has been earmarked for three days of shooting next week, beginning on Monday, for the eagerly anticipated Star Wars: Episode VII, which is due in cinemas in December 2015.

It is understood that at least 12 private boat operators have had their services booked up for the days of the shoot as they ferry cast, crew, and equipment over to Skellig in the morning and back again in the evening.

That means no tourist sailings on those days.

Private boat operators have refused to comment and are believed to have signed confidentiality agreements for the duration of the film shoot, although one firm did post on its Facebook page earlier this week that it planned to continue carrying people across to Skellig as usual next week.

However, it is understood that a deal has now been struck that will see the island limited to cast and crew on the film for the days of shooting.

In a statement, the OPW said: “Due to film company traffic, all means of transportation to Skellig Michael are fully booked for the dates in question. In order to mitigate this and facilitate members of the public who wish to visit the island we are increasing visitor capacity for a period of time following filming.”

It is understood that this refers to private boat operators being allowed to make more than the allocated one trip to and from the Skelligs a day, once the film shoot is completed, with some suggestion that eight trips might be facilitated across four different days per company.

While Skellig Michael does have a helipad, it is understood the production company has been asked not to use helicopters due to the bird life on the island.

It is understood the production company involved in the shoot next week is Foodles Production Ltd, with an address in Pinewood Studios in England.

Last year, Star Wars aficionados suggested Foodles was an alias for Disney, which has in recent years bought Lucasfilm and who are the main driver behind the new Star Wars films.

Speculation is also mounting as to which actors are likely to be present, although, given that Harrison Ford recently broke his leg, it is unlikely he is involved in the Skellig shoot.

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