Sixth Century Monks, an Island & a Wookiee

Imagine a remote place so strong with the force that only the most devoted seek out its solitude. The “Great Skellig ” is an Irish island in the Atlantic that was inhabited by monks sometime between the sixth and eighth century. But these religious men aren’t the only ones to grace the island with tattered robes. Hollywood has now gone where “angels fear to tread” and movie devotees are following in their wake.

The most recent Star Wars movie ends with an epic seen involving the aged and mysterious looking Luke Skywalker with hood drawn over his face as he receives his old lightsaber from Rey, the new star of the series. And now it seems that a never ending slew of tourists are headed that way with no end in sight as the next installment of the film franchise will feature more scenes from the picturesque peaks of Skellig.

Mark Phillips, senior foreign correspondent for CBS News, asked visitors for their thoughts on the growing popularity of the place. He received mixed responses. There is a fear among those who have long-since known and loved the island that the movie propaganda will overshadow its real significance.

Fran Politi of San Francisco is such a person. Philips commented to her, “If it’s good enough for Luke, it’s good enough for you.” Her response, “Well, if it’s good enough for the monks, it’s good enough for me.” When Phillips asked Bob Harris, a tourism guide on Skellig, if the force was still on the island he received a similar response. “I think the force has been here for a very long time,” Harris said. Needless to say, I think the monks would define “the force” in a far different way than Luke Skywalker.