He’s battled Sith Lords, destroyed a Death Star, escaped the destruction of another, and restored freedom to a galaxy far, far away… but if the Jedi career ever falls through, Luke Skywalker can always rely on his pint-pulling skills to get by, thanks to the helpful staff of an extremely force-sensitive pub in Co Kerry.
Skywalker, also know as Hollywood actor Mark Hamill, has been staying in the Portmagee area while filming for the seventh and eighth Star Wars instalments takes place on Skellig Michael.
Enjoying some downtime before the final day of filming, which took place yesterday, Hamill and his fellow members of cast and crew popped into The Bridge Bar in Portmagee to enjoy a pint of the black stuff, and decided to pour a few more for the locals while they were at it.
And the force was with them, it seems — Hamill’s pints were so good the locals gave him a traditionally warm Irish welcome.
“Ireland is simply heaven on earth! The people here treat you like family,” the star tweeted.
Enjoying? Ireland is simply heaven on earth! The people here treat you like family. https://t.co/ablGHoMmjr— Mark Hamillween (@HamillHimself) September 17, 2015
Local man Steve Lynott was in The Bridge Bar on Tuesday night when the festivities unfolded and said Hamill really seemed to be enjoying himself.
“There was a session on in the pub, a music session, and there were a lot of kids there playing music,” said Mr Lynott. “They’d be from the local area and they were playing their various instruments and during the entertainment Mark came over to meet some of the kids and talk to them..
“He was great. He’s a lovely man, very down-to-earth, and he gave all the kids great time, individually. He was taking selfies with them and everything, he was a complete gentleman.”
And when Hamill hopped behind the bar to learn how to pull the perfect pint, Mr Lynott felt he had to mark the occasion and took a video of the star’s attempts.
“Mark went behind the bar so he could learn how to pull a pint of Guinness,” said Mr Lynott. “I took a video of him doing it and he acknowledged I was taking the video and he’s quite a showman, of course, and toward the end of it he said he was delighted to learn a second skill in case the movie business didn’t work out!”
Mr Lynott said the “beautiful evening” was the perfect end to the crew’s time in the area, and that Portmagee locals will be sad to see them go.
“The crew and the back-up crew have been staying in the Portmagee area for the past while, so they’ve been around,” he said. “They’ve been quite a presence in the local area, Portmagee is a small town, but they’ve been a very welcome presence.
“It’s been great for the local area. The atmosphere in the pub was great, really lovely. The whole evening was very laid back, very low-key.
“I think all of the crew were very comfortable with the fact that nobody was giving them any grief or making any demands of them. They were completely open to everybody, especially Mark. I think his space was really being respected which was nice to see. Everyone seemed to agree it was a good gig to be on.”
Mr Lynott said the crew seemed to be very respectful of the area they were in and had helped put Portmagee on the map in terms of tourism.
Declan Mulvany, from the Killarney Art Gallery, agreed and said his wildly popular Skellig Wars t-shirts have been flying out the door in recent months.
“We’ve had great interest in them so far. Mark Hamill even bought one, and some of the crew have them too,” he said.
“We’ve had people buying them from all over the world, Japan, the US, everywhere.”
Star Wars: Episode VIII writer and director Rian Johnson and his team were scheduled to wrap filming on Skellig Michael yesterday, though it remains to be seen whether or not they will extend their time on the island after bad weather delayed filming earlier this week.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which filmed on Skellig Michael in July, opens in cinemas in Ireland on December 16.
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