Thousands of people from across Ireland and beyond have converged on Malin Head over the past week as Star Wars fever gripped the north west.
Many arrived at Ireland’s most northerly point with high hopes of catch a glimpse of the action while others were just enjoying the buzz and the sunshine.
A shroud of secrecy was thrown over the actual filming site, with security personnel and gardai stationed along roads and walkways surrounding Bamba’s Crown and Hell’s Hole, where scenes for the Star Wars VIII movie was being filmed.
While the film locations might have been a no-go, a pod of backflipping dolphins, who have made Malin Head their home over the past few years, turned out close to the pier to entertain visitors.
And after the cameras stopped rolling on Sunday night, Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill rocked up at Farren’s Bar and posed for pics with landlord Hugh Farren.
Farren’s has become the unofficial Star Wars HQ over recent weeks, with its recently acquired mural of Yoda proving a popular photo opportunity for visitors.
Hugh Farren told the Journal he was delighted Mark Hamill took the time to stop off at Farren’s. He said: “I couldn’t believe that he took the time to come here. It shows the calibre of the man.
“Mark Hamill arrived shortly after 11pm. The car parked up and the security man said ‘One photo with you then we are moving on’. It made my day. It went from a great weekend to a fantastic one. You couldn’t have got the publicity Star Wars was generating. It is immense for us and for the whole north west.”
Malin Head has always been popular with Derry people, many having caravans and holiday homes in the area, and some Derry folk were among the lucky crowd twho witnessed Mark’s arrival on Sunday night.
Mr Farren said: “Two Derry men, Carl Porter and Donal O’Doherty from UV Arts, helped start all this- they created the mural and without them it wouldn’t have happened. We had decided to put something up to say Star Wars was in Malin Head and it just took off after that. When people were coming to Malin Head ther was nothing here to say Star Wars was here before that. The amount of people that have it as their profile picture on Facebook is fantastic.”
And, framed photo aside, Mr Farren has a memento to remember the visit by in the form of a Kickers Stormtrooper boot given to him by friend Cathal Gibson, which the Luke Skywalker actor himself has autographed, “Forcefully Yours, Mark Hamill’, in permanent marker.