For the very first time, Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Festival has appointed an International Guest of Honour.
The new honorary role has been created to celebrate the achievements of an individual from the worlds of business, the arts, or the media, who has a special connection or significant affinity with Ireland.
And who else to debut the role but Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill.
Since filming STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS in Co. Kerry, the actor has been a great ambassador for Ireland.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “We in Tourism Ireland are extremely grateful to Mark for his wonderful comments about the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland. Our Star Wars campaign, including our films with Mark Hamill praising the beauty and people of Ireland, has been seen by over 8 million people around the world – whetting peoples’ appetites to come and visit the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland.”
Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way has been catapulted to global fame, having been filmed in some of the most spectacular spots on Ireland’s western coastline, from the northernmost point in Donegal to the magnificent cliffs and headlands of Clare, Cork and Kerry.
Hamill will watch the parade from the Presidential stand, shoulders to shoulders with Michael D. Higgins, on March 17.
In addition to Mark’s Star Wars connection, research into his family history has found that he has a double-link to Ireland.
His great-grandmother Elizabeth Keating was born in Kilkenny on 6th December 1873 and left Ireland for America when she was still a teenager.
Further research shows that his great (x3) grandparents John Keating married Margaret Foley of Gurteen married in Carlow Cathedral in 1822.