Imagination Runs Wild
Much secrecy has surrounded the production of the movie. The Irish Navy even put in place a two mile exclusion zone around the island during filming. There is no concrete information on the actual storyline as of yet (Dec 2014). However this hasn't stopped imaginations running wild. Independent film and video company Bold Pubby put together a short video in honour of J.J. Abrahams movie. The video is set with Skellig Michael and near by town Portmagee as the backdrop. The clip features shots of C-3PO and Chewbacca, and AT-AT fighters stalking through the monastery. The clip is well worth a watch.
Why Skellig Michael?
Skellig Michael was among several stunning locations worldwide which also included Iceland & Abu Dhabi chosen as scenic locations for shooting. The vision for the production held by J.J Abraham, was not to be overly reliant on CGI. Mark Hamill a.k.a. Luke Skywalker, shared this opinion too, remarking: "If you go too far in the direction of CGI it winds up looking like just a giant video game, and thats unfortunate". The ruggedness, isolation and beauty of the island were properly big draws for the film crew in choosing it as a location.
There was initial concern about disturbing the sea birds that come to breed on the island during the summer months. However the film agency said experts were on the island during the shoot and had the authority to intervene if they suspected any impact on the habitat and wildlife. The filming programme itself had been designed specifically to avoid the disturbance of breeding birds on the island. Part of that programme meant crew were only given a short window to film, so to minimise the impact on the bird life.
A monastery was established between the 6t-8th century on Skellig Michael. During this time it was common for monks to seek solitude in remote isolated places to bring them closer to God. The isolated island of Skellig Michael was an ideal location for this practice. Situated 11.6 km south west of Kerry, the monks where able withdraw themselves from society and spend their days in devout prayer. Life there wasn't easy with limited arable land. It remained continuously occupied until the 12th or 13th century. During this time, the climate around Skellig Michael became colder and more prone to storms, and this, along with changes to the structure of the Irish Church saw the monks cease their way of life there. It continued to be a place of pilgrimage afterwards.
Our The 12 Day Giant Adventure tour visits the island during the Summer months.