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Displaying items by tag: Skellig Michael

#SkelligMichael - Repairs to storm damage on Skellig Michael are a priority ahead of the summer tourism season, as RTÉ News reports.

The OPW will oversee repairs to six metres of a wall between the pier and the island's South Steps, much of which has collapsed into the sea following the recent stormy winter.

Until repairs are completed, the Unesco World Heritage site has been declared unsafe for tourist landings – many thousands of which are expected this year after the rocky outcrop featured prominently in December's cinematic blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Filming on Skellig Michael for that and future Star Wars films has also been a source of controversy, with an experienced island guide speaking out recently over the impact of filming on the ancient monastic site and its vulnerable marine wildlife habit.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News

#StarWars - Rumours that Star Wars film crews are set to decamp for the Donegal coast are just that, as the Government department responsible has not confirmed permission.

According to TheJournal.ie, location scouts for Lucasfilm have been spotted in the Malin Head area searching for appropriately dramatic vistas for future instalments of the epic sci-fi film series.

But while Heritage Minister Heather Humphreys has confirmed that a "limited amount of filming" will take place on Sybil Head in Dingle later this year, no such permission has been granted for Donegal – and the minister would not comment on the existence of any talks over the same.

Star Wars fever has gripped the Kerry coast since last year as the Skelligs featured prominently in the smash hit blockbuster The Force Awakens.

But the filming has not been without its share of controversy over repairs to monastic ruins and alleged interference with protected seabird species at the Unesco World Heritage site.

More recently, a long-time guide on Skellig Michael spoke out over the State's facilitating of the two Lucasfilm shoots on the island for The Force Awakens and next year's sequel, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Coastal Notes

#StarWars - An experienced heritage guide's concerns have rekindled controversy over the impact of filming for the new Star Wars movies on Skellig Michael.

As The Irish Times reported recently, Claire O’Halloran – an independent contractor for the Office of Public Works (OPW) on the Kerry coastal island over the last 28 years – claims that damage to the Unesco World Heritage site has been downplayed, with many "control failures" going unreported.

She alleges that Arts and Heritage Minister Heather Humphreys granted permission for the film shoot based on incomplete data on the ecology of the island, a sanctuary for important seabird species.

It's also a location that's being hyped by Tourism Ireland on the back of its featuring in the recent blockbuster hit The Force Awakens.

But O'Halloran reserves much of her ire for the Irish Film Board, which comes under the auspices of the minister.

According to the island guide, the board seemed “completely unaware” of the island's sensitivity as it pushed for the shoot with Disney Lucasfilm – with initial plans for the summer of 2014 providing for a crew of 300 and air-drops of additional equipment before any consultation with the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News

#StarWars - Tourism Ireland is hoping the success of the new Star Wars movie will attract fans in their droves to Skellig Michael and the Kerry coast, as TheJournal.ie reports.

And the tourism marketing board has launched a new video extolling the virtues of the UNESCO world heritage site, which will play a big role in Episode VIII of the Star Wars saga due in cinemas in May next year.

But not everyone will be happy with the growing interest in the vulnerable island habitat for many protected marine species, coming just weeks after Birdwatch Ireland said the most recent film shoot on the island was "not compliant" with the EU habitats directive.

Published in Island News

#StarWars - The environmental assessment under which the Arts Minister approved the recent Star Wars film shoot on Skellig Michael was "not compliant" with the EU Habitats Directive, says Birdwatch Ireland.

And as The Irish Times reports, the wildlife NGO says it will now be seeking changes to close a "legal loophole" by which Minister Heather Humphreys was able to approve the use of the Unesco world heritage site without third party consent under what it branded as a "significantly flawed" procedure.

Birdwatch Ireland's Siobhán Egan said the approval process was a "missed opportunity" for the Government to establish proper protocol for the use of sensitive sites.

An assessment compiled in October by the National Parks and Wildlife Service and National Monuments service found that the Disney Lucasfilm shoot had "no adverse impacts on seabirds, their habitats or other biodiversity on the island".

This was despite previously reported "incidents" that required repairs to stonework, as well as criticism over the lack of consultation – and permission for a previous Star Wars film shoot at the same site in July 2014 in the middle of the main seabird breeding season.

A spokesperson for Minister Humphreys said it was “completely inaccurate to suggest that the minister/department breached the Habitats Directive”.

The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News
Tagged under

#StarWars - The recent Star Wars film shoot on Skellig Michael had “no adverse impact on seabirds, their habitats or other biodiversity on the island” despite "incidents" previously reported.

That's according to an assessment compiled by the National Parks and Wildlife Service and National Monuments Service, as The Irish Times reports.

The three days of shooting had “no implication for the outstanding universal value of the World Heritage property and no impact on the national monument” and the report gave assurances that there was no impact on birds, despite being scheduled during breeding season.

“I get worried when they say there was no impact, we can’t see what’s happening to their eggs or young,” said Dr Stephen Newton of Birdwatch Ireland.

Meanwhile, the report confirmed two 'minor' incidents - a crew member catching his jacket on a stone entrance-way that had been previously damaged and repaired, and a spill of "diluted water-based paint" on rocks next to the Wailing Woman.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Office of Public Works last month confirmed repairs by stonemasons at the Unesco World Heritage site after the departure of the Lucasfilm crew, which made a €10,000 donation to Valentia's lifeboat station during the shoot in mid-September.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News

#RNLI - Valentia's lifeboat station received a €10,000 donation from Star Wars producers during their recent film shoot on Skellig Michael.

As The Irish Times reports, the RNLI station's operations manager Richard Foran confirmed to a local paper that the lump sum came as "a complete surprise. But I think the lifeboat came to their minds because of what they were doing."

The good news comes after some controversy earlier this week over confirmed 'repairs' on Skellig Michael after the week-long film shoot on the sensitive Unesco World Heritage site.

Filming was delayed at the start of the shoot a fortnight ago due to high winds and rough seas common around the weather-worn island.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#StarWars - "Incidents" requiring "repairs" by stonemasons following the recent Star Wars film shoot on Skellig Michael have been confirmed by the Office of Public Works (OPW).

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the week-long film shoot on the Unesco World Heritage site – which includes a monastic site dating to the 6th century, and a sensitive habitat for a number of seabird species – prompted concerns among environmentalists ahead of the production's arrival.

Those worries were dismissed by Arts Minister Heather Humphries, despite mounting criticism from a number of people in the arts connected with the Kerry coastal island, taking her to task for not consulting with the OPW before giving the go-ahead to the Disney-backed film shoot.

Now The Irish Times reports that the minister did not approve the film shoot under section 14 of the National Monuments Act, according to An Taisce - which said it has photographic evidence of fresh repairs to the entrance of the island's monetary and a number of stone steps on the site.

Repairs to the steps were confirmed by the OPW, which said the work was "an entirely normal procedure" at the end of the visitor season.

It has also emerged that Disney Lucasfilm was not charged a facility fee for the recent shoot nor last year's filming on the island for the upcoming release Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News

#StarWars - Criticism of the Arts Minister mounts over the latest Star Wars filming project on Skellig Michael, which began filming yesterday (Tuesday 15 September) after poor weather delayed the shoot.

Following a previous lambasting by Fintan O'Toole in the wake of environmentalists' concerns, 12 writers and a photographer associated with the Co Kerry island have signed a letter to The Irish Times taking Minister Heather Humphreys to task for not consulting the Office of Public Works (OPW), which manages the Unesco World Heritage site, before giving the go-ahead to the Disney-backed film shoot.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News

#StarWars - Poor weather today (Monday 14 September) has postponed the start of filming on Skellig Michael for a future Star Wars movie project.

According to The Irish Times, high winds and rough seas off the Iveragh Peninsula meant the film crew's boats stayed in their moorings.

But it's only a temporary delay, despite environmentalists' concerns over the impact of the film shoot on the island's vulnerable colonies of protected bird species.

Arts Minister Heather Humphries recently dismissed such concerns, saying that during the shoot "peak activity levels" will see around 100 people on the island "under strict supervision" with an ecologist and departmental staff on hand to halt proceedings in the event of any threat to wildlife.

"Those attempting to turn this into a negative story seem to be completely overlooking the fact that up to 180 people visit the island on any given day," she added.

However, writing in The Irish Times recently, Fintan O'Toole decried the Government's acquiescence to Star Wars owners Disney over filming privileges at the Unesco World Heritage Site, and the notion that the State has sold out an integreal part of Ireland's national heritage.

"Once Skellig Michael becomes (as film gossip suggests) Luke Skywalker’s refuge," he writes, "it ceases to be our refuge from the endless, voracious insistence on knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing."

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News
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