Thousands of people from across Ireland and beyond converged on Malin Head over the past week as Star Wars fever gripped the north west.
Security personnel and gardai were stationed along roads and walkways surrounding Bamba’s Crown and Hell’s Hole, where scenes for the Star Wars VIII movie was being filmed.
But while security was tight during filming the stars of the hit franchise didn’t shy away from their adoring public when the cameras stopped rolling.
1. Breakfast With A Jedi
It’s not every day you get to have breakfast with Luke Skywalker but that’s exactly what happened Derry teenager, Jamie Harkin.
Seventeen-year-old Jamie Harkin has twice battled cancer and in 2014 set-up his own charity, ‘Jamie’s Journie’, to help other young people affected by the illness. Since he was three years-old Jamie has been a massive ‘Star Wars’ fan.
When Jamie heard Star Wars was filming at Malin Head he appealed directly to Mark Hamill who plays Luke Skywalker to make his dream come true and in true Jedi Knight form, Hamill did just that.
Jamie, who has been very ill since January, and his family shared breakfast with the Hollywood star on Monday morning.
“I’m speechless,” said Jamie. “Even now there’s a wealth of emotions running through me, I’m definitely still in shock, I’m absolutely elated, incredibly humbled, honoured and just completely overwhelmed.
“Mark was everything I ever imagined him to be and then some. I was feeling terrible yesterday (Sunday) and not much better this morning, but I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to possibly even get a glance of Mark. Just as I was about to discuss the newest film with some friends he walked in completely out of the blue and I just froze. He shook hands with my friends and my dad before coming to me, and when I stood up to shake his hand he told me, ‘Sit down, you don’t need to stand up for me’,” he added.
For more information on ‘Jamie’s Journie’ visit the website www.jamiesjournie.com
2. Unofficial Star Wars HQ
Farren’s Bar became the unofficial Star Wars HQ over recent weeks, with its recently acquired mural of Yoda proving a popular photo opportunity for visitors.
On Sunday night Luke Skywalker himself paid a visit and left a lasting impression with punters.
Landlord Hugh Farren said: “I couldn’t believe that he took the time to come here. It shows the calibre of the man.”
Hugh has a memento to remember the visit by in the form of a Kickers Stormtrooper boot which is now autographed, ‘Forcefully Yours, Mark Hamill’.
Donegal TV captured the magic moment local barman Hugh Farren, local people and visitors from Derry- many of whom have caravans and holiday homes in the area- greeted the Hollywood actor.
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) May 16, 2016
3. And That’s A Wrap!
Star Wars director Rian Johnson and Daisy Ridley, who plays lead actress Rey in the new film series, were all smiles as they arrived at McGrory’s on Sunday night along with their colleagues for the Star Wars Wrap Party.
Letterkenny-based band Tasty, AKA John D Ruddy and Niall McDonagh, were booked to perform at the private gig in the popular Inishowen hotel complex.
John said: “Rian Johnson was one of the first people in. They had a crew of about 400 here for the filming. They weren’t all there but there was a big crowd.
“The atmosphere was just electric. We played three and a half hours, myself and Niall. We are both huge Star Wars fans. Our love of Star Wars brought us together. They were all singing along, dancing, and we were just thrilled.”
He added: “Daisy Ridley was lovely, very down to earth. We were chatting. It was really a great experience.”
Source Derry Journal