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West Cork feels the Force of Star Wars

May 21st, 2016 11:45 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Part of the construction for a stunt scene at Brow Head.

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THE filming of the Star Wars franchise at Brow Head has already given the area a massive boost – from both an economic and tourism point of view.

‘If we get even 30 seconds of footage in the next Star Wars film, that would be publicity forever,’ said local publican Dermot O’Sullivan this week, echoing the general sentiment in the area.

Dermot, of O’Sullivan’s Bar in Crookhaven, said the number of cars, trucks and equipment that have been travelling to Brow Head for a day-and-a-half of filming is ‘unbelieveable.’

And with local hotels, holiday homes, apartments, cafés, restaurants and pubs all benefitting from the influx of construction/production crew and actors – up to 300 in total – it’s been a wonderful early season ‘gift’ to the area.

Houses and hotels from Mizen Head up as far as Clonakilty were booked out for months, with actor Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker, believed to be staying in Skibbereen, along with several members of the technical crew.

There were signs of filming everywhere on the approach roads to Brow Head this week – catering trucks, security guards and diversions. Dermot said it would be hard to quantify the spend on filming and what they spent locally, but said it was ‘all good.’

‘A team of site builders and security guards have been around for several weeks and they have rented houses – not just in the village, but in the parish, which would not normally have been rented this early in the season. To have a few dozen extra bodies around has been a bonus – for us and for the area generally.

‘The crew and the guards are all lovely lads. We haven’t seen any actors. They all came on Monday and left on Tuesday night.

‘The crew built an extensive platform on the cliffs at the end of Brow Head, which is a spectacular headland. If it is featured in the film, it would be fantastic for the area.’

There are, in fact, two platforms with wires running between them, which look set to be used for a dramatic stunt scene – but no-one knows any of the details about the closely-guarded storyline.

Dermot said: ‘The publicity the filming of Star Wars has generated will certainly have an impact locally. Everyone who has been in has been asking about the filming. People are fascinated. We have all got caught up in the fact that there is such an iconic movie being filmed on our doorstep.’

Eileen O’Meara of O’Meara’s Bar in Goleen is the proud owner of a ‘Darth Vader and the way he might look at you’ t-shirt. She, too, has got caught up in the excitement. She said: ‘There has been a really nice buzz and if you have a Star Wars fan in the family, it is great for them to have that local connection to the movie. Everyone will be watching the next film and trying to spot Brow Head.’

 Sarah Murphy from Cork city told The Southern Star: ‘I came down at Easter and it was all excitement. It hadn’t been confirmed at that stage, but it was all people were talking about.’

 Sarah, who works at Nottages Restaurant in Crookhaven, said: ‘The last few days have been different! A lot of people don’t know that Crookhaven exists. Well, they do now. Star Wars has put Crookhaven on the map.’

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