It may be Star Wars: Episode VIII but this is the third successive year the Force has arrived in Kerry with its dramatic scenery hosting the Jedi the longest.
Ceann Sibéal, the headland called after the wife of the swashbuckling, cosmopolitan, multilingual 17th-century poet and landowner Piaras Feritear, who was hanged in Killarney, is the location for a whole Star Wars village, complete with a replica of Skellig Michael off Iveragh where filming took place previously.
Buzzing with activity the Ceann Sibéal set was lit up until well past midnight with cranes and scaffolding and huge trucks coming and going along a 1.5km metal roadway.
On Tuesday night the town of Dingle came to a halt as giant trailers to accommodate the stars, provide canteens and make-up rooms, drove throughout Ballyferriter to the film set at the foot of Ceann Sibéal, at Baile Uachtarach Thiar.
The stars themselves arrived in a flurry of land cruisers.
Almost every bit of accommodation on the peninsula has been booked out. Locals have been approached and offered €450 a week to rent vacant houses which have not normally been let, to riggers who are working in shifts putting up the huge scaffolding and the 350 people employed on the set, which is under tight security.
Gardaí were on duty near the set yesterday.
Ceann Sibéal golf course, a links course and the most westerly golf course in Europe, has the best views of the set “and anyone who has booked a round of golf will get a bird’s eye view”, in spite of the no-fly zone in place to try and prevent camera drones.
“Members who have booked a round of golf are in for a treat,” said one lucky member.
Helicopters are being used to film scenes at the cliff edge but there are limitations, set by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht which granted the permit to film. This is because of Ceann Sibéal’s importance to the chough, a rare bird nesting right now.
Filming is also taking place at the southern end of the headland near Dunmore and Slea Head.
Mark Hamill has been spotted and so has Carrie Fisher who was in Dingle on Wednesday afternoon.
The dramatic clifftop village is in itself a star attraction.
Tourists have been flocking to Ballyferriter to see the set.
“We’ve had a great two months... everything helps the area,” said Maurice Murphy of Tig Uí Mhurchú in Ballyferriter.
May the Force be with them.
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