Luke Skywalker’s Secret Jedi Hideout, Skellig Michael

“Just indescribably beautiful’

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Luke Skywalker's Hideout

Star Wars fans know the beautiful vistas featured in many of the series movies. Perhaps no location stands out as dramatically however as Luke Skywalker’s hideaway on planet Ahch-To in the film The Last Jedi. Ahch-To in the Star Wars mythos is a mostly water planet with sparse footholds of rocky islands, perfect for a hermit Jedi to hide away from the evil empire. There Luke enjoys the company of small Porgs and sustains himself drinking the somewhat revolting looking milk of bizarre Thala-siren creatures.

As odd as all this may seem, it is the location of his hideaway that truly steals the show. Rising dramatically from the seas of the planet this rocky hermitage stands out in stark contrast and features monastic steps, huts and other geographic features that seem far too real to be the work of smart CGI artists or set designers. That’s because this Jedi hideout is a real place, with real cliffs, steps and huts. And you can visit it!

Skellig Michael Island - Photo by Jerzy Strzelecki CC by-sa
Photo by Jerzy Strzelecki CC by-sa

Skellig Michael

Rising 714 feet from the sea, the majestic island of Skellig Michael stands out. Its hard angular shapes seem almost unaffected by erosion, and the soft greens of mossy vegetation compliment the dark rock of the island. To say that this island is photogenic would be a tremendous understatement.

Accessing Skellig Michael is the real challenge. Located off the coasts of Ireland it should come as no surprise that the island is only accessible by sea. The good news is that local Irish tour companies will be more than happy to take you to the island. The popularity of the Star Wars franchise has created a reasonably new tourism industry. Hundreds of Star Wars fans flock to the Jedi hideaway every year making the location far more accessible than it used to be.

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Photo by Maureen

True Story of Skellig Michael

The real history of the island is worthy of mention. Before life as the hermitage home of Luke Skywalker, Skellig Michael was a monastery hermitage. The first stone-huts shown in The Last Jedi film have a fascinating history. Called a clochán, this particular type of primitive dwelling was built by monks who first settled the island in the 6th or 7th century. Sometimes called beehive huts, this style of building can be found throughout Europe and particularly along the Irish coasts. But due to its remote location, the stone structures on Skellig Michael may be the best-preserved examples in the world. Because of this, the hut that Luke Skywalker lived in during the film were not the actual clocháns of Skellig Michael, but a cluster built at nearby Ceann Sibéal peninsula. The Jedi huts shown in the film remained faithful to the architectural style of the real ones, however.

Photo by Valerie Hinojosa CC by-sa

Given its rich history, Skellig Michael is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its UNESCO designation helps preserve and protect the islands natural beauty. As a result of this photographing the island can be a bit of a challenge. A subject of some controversy, there is a debate in the local community if access to the island should be increased or more restricted. As a result, you can only visit the island from May to September, and there is a limit of not more than 180 visitors per day to the Island. However, as The Last Jedi is no longer in the box office the number of Jedi fans flocking to the island has reduced in recent years. With that said, getting to and photographing Skellig Island will require a committed effort.

Visiting Skellig Michael

Photo by Niki L CC by-sa

We recommend booking a place to stay in Portmagee, Ireland. Portmagee is home to several wonderful Irish Bed & Breakfasts. Our favorite is the very charming Moorings Guesthouse. From there, book a tour of the island. We recommend Casey’s Skellig Islands Tours.

Booking.com

To fill the time while you wait for your trip out to the island take full advantage of the region. Known as the Ring of Kerry, the area is chock full of stunning photographic vistas. From castle ruins, stone bridges over idyllic streams, and beautiful landscapes the area is superb photography destination.

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