Star Wars mania hit the North West last weekend and Malin Head was in a frenzy as the Star Wars cast took up residence on the most northerly coast of Ireland to film part of the forthcoming film. Roads were closed off, security was in place and people were EVERYWHERE! Malin Head was alive and it was thriving.
Malin Head is one of my favourites places on earth so Star Wars did not make it any more special for me. It always has been special and it always will be. However this little piece of heaven, like much of Inishowen and North West Ireland, tends to get overlooked in terms of the overall tourism of Ireland. So in that respect Star Wars was very very welcome.
Pubs, restaurants, and local people in general went out of their way last weekend in Malin to welcome visitors from all over the globe who popped to the North West coatal village and townland in the hope of getting a glimpse of Luke Skywalker and gang. The Star Wars gang were hard at work so there was little chance of getting so much as a peep. However the dolphins were out in full force to keep the tourists and visitors entertained throughout the weekend.
I'm not a Star Wars fan so can't really jump on the bandwagon, but I do know who Luke Skywalker (aka Mark Hamill) is and as the weekend descended I began to get itcy feet...curious feet...nosey feet even.
I had a hunch that Hamill and gang may be staying in Redcastle Hotel, just down the road from me, so I thought it might be nice for Hamill to meet this North West Culture Gal!!! I'm sure he'd been hoping the same!!! Well as an avid blogger, it would be a shame to miss this opportunity.
So on Saturday night I met a good friend and cousin for coffee at the said hotel. As we all had plans for the night, it was a short sit and with no special guests in sight we left around 10pm. Sunday was another night! And again it was to be coffee in Redcastle with another friend. Coffee at 11pm isn't usually a good idea, but this was all for a good reason, wasn't it! This was Luke Skywalker I awaited after all!
Just before midnight and the hotel all quiet, a black car pulled up outside. I almost spilled my coffee when I saw the head coming out from the back of the car. This was it. Now or never. It was time Skywalker met me!
As I met him in the hallway I said a simple, "Hi Mark". He stopped and chatted for a few moments and even permitted my taking some photos. When a young man Shea came out to the hallway with his
mother, it was only then that I realised that I really was in the presence of a HUGE star. Shea was mesmorised and just kept saying, "Mum, that's Luke Skywalker: that's Luke Skywalker." Thank heavens I'd had a chat with Hamill as just then I became starstruck. This really was Luke Skywalker, and he had his arm around me chatting. When he planted a kiss goodnight on my cheek, I think I walked back to my friend, literally on air. I had just spoken to, photographed, and been kissed by, none other that THE Luke Skywalker.
Since Sunday night a number of people have asked me how I got the nerve to talk to Mark Hamill. I was able to explain quite easily: the man may be one of the biggest stars on the planet, but he was just a normal, lovely guy to chat to. Had I not known who he was, I would have assumed he was just a regular tourist at the hotel.
Mark Hamill may be Luke Skywalker in the movies, but in real life, he's a real down-to-earth guy and could not have been nicer to myself or that little boy Shea.
Cheers Mark, it really was a pleasure. And one of these days, I must sit down and watch Star Wars. Maybe then I'll begin to take it all in, just who it was that danced in front of me and kissed my cheek last Sunday night.