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Star Wars in Malin Head: Donegal caravan park owner braces for battle as Millennium Falcon docks on his doorstep

By Jonny Bell

Published 12/05/2016

The model of the Millennium Falcon being built on the Star Wars set at Malin Head in Co Donegal
The model of the Millennium Falcon being built on the Star Wars set at Malin Head in Co Donegal
A Millennium, Falcom in Malin Head, Co Donegal Ireland, as filming for the next Star Wars movie will take place there. PA
A set is created in Malin Head, Co Donegal Ireland, as filming for the next Star Wars movie will take place there. PA
Construction underway on the Millennium Falcon at Malin Head. Picture James Whorriskey
Construction underway on the Millennium Falcon at Malin Head. Picture James Whorriskey
The view of the Star Wars film set from Ardmalin Caravan Park. Pic: Ardmalin Caravan Park
A fleet brought the Star Wars set to Malin Head. Pic: Ardmalin Caravan Park
The view from Ardmalin Caravan Camp. Pic: Ardmalin Caravan Park
The view from Ardmalin Caravan Park. Pic: Ardmalin Caravan Park
Construction underway on the Millennium Falcon at Malin Head. Picture James Whorriskey
JJ McGettigan from the Emerald Garrison, a star Wars costuming club, in Malin Head, Co Donegal Ireland, as filming for the next Star Wars movie will take place there. PA
JJ McGettigan from the Emerald Garrison, a star Wars costuming club, in Malin Head, Co Donegal Ireland, as filming for the next Star Wars movie will take place there. PA
JJ McGettigan from the Emerald Garrison, a star Wars costuming club, in Malin Head, Co Donegal Ireland, as filming for the next Star Wars movie will take place there. PA
JJ McGettigan from the Emerald Garrison, a star Wars costuming club, in Farrens Bar in Malin Head, Co Donegal Ireland, as filming for the next Star Wars movie will take place there. PA
JJ McGettigan from the Emerald Garrison, a star Wars costuming club, in Malin Head, Co Donegal Ireland, as filming for the next Star Wars movie will take place there. PA
A Millennium, Falcom in Malin Head, Co Donegal Ireland, as filming for the next Star Wars movie will take place there. PA
JJ McGettigan from the Emerald Garrison, a star Wars costuming club, in Farrens Bar in Malin Head, Co Donegal Ireland, as filming for the next Star Wars movie will take place there. PA
Hazy Zoom - wires and cabling snake through the terrain from base to the Millennium Falcon. Picture James Whorriskey
Construction underway on the Millennium Falcon at Malin Head. Picture James Whorriskey
Construction on the millennium falcon which is perched on rocks on the rugged landscape at Ireland's most northerly point - Malin Head. Picture James Whorriskey.
Construction on the millennium falcon which is perched on rocks on the rugged landscape at Ireland's most northerly point - Malin Head. Picture James Whorriskey.
Construction on the millennium falcon which is perched on rocks on the rugged landscape at Ireland's most northerly point - Malin Head. Picture James Whorriskey.
Construction on the millennium falcon which is perched on rocks on the rugged landscape at Ireland's most northerly point - Malin Head. Picture James Whorriskey.
Construction on the millennium falcon which is perched on rocks on the rugged landscape at Ireland's most northerly point - Malin Head. Picture James Whorriskey.
Construction on the millennium falcon which is perched on rocks on the rugged landscape at Ireland's most northerly point - Malin Head. Picture James Whorriskey.
The stunning landscape surrounding the Star Wars set in Malin Head. Pic James Whorriskey
Remote - Malin Head, Ireland's most Northerly point and location for the latest Star Wars movie. Picture James Whorriskey
A mixture of tourists and inquisitive Star Wars fans mingle - Pic at Bamba's Crown, which overlooks the cast and crew tents. Picture James Whorriskey
Cast and crew areas being readied ahead of weekend filming - roads in the area will be closed for several days. Picture James Whorriskey
Cast and crew areas being readied ahead of weekend filming - roads in the area will be closed for several days.Picture James Whorriskey
Cliff path to the Millennium Falcon - private security staff prevent people from getting too close. Picture James Whorriskey
Millennium Falcon Base - scaffolding, fencing and crew buildings surrounding the Millennium Falcon at Malin Head. Picture James Whorriskey
Gardai on standby and ready to politely ward of anybody who security deem to have gotten too close for comfort. Picture James Whorriskey
Concealed - A drone hovers to the left of picture, over the Millennium Falcon location - and what's that partially visible on the right? Picture James Whorriskey
Tight security guards the boundaries of the Star Wars set. Picture James Whorriskey
Millennium Falcon base at Malin Head. Picture James Whorriskey
Construction underway on the Millennium Falcon at Malin Head. Picture James Whorriskey
Crews at the Millennium Falcon site. Picture James Whorriskey
Security try to prevent photography at the location. Picture James Whorriskey
Narrow single track roads are the only way around Malin Head - In the distance the Millennium falcon site. Picture James Whorriskey
Construction underway on the Millennium Falcon at Malin Head. Picture James Whorriskey
Private Security posted at public vantage points in Malin Head attempt to prevent photography. Picture James Whorriskey
Construction underway on the Millennium Falcon at Malin Head. Picture James Whorriskey
Construction underway on the Millennium Falcon at Malin Head. Picture James Whorriskey
New signs erected in many of the surrounding fields - Millennium Falcon in the distance. Picture James Whorriskey
Construction underway on the Millennium Falcon at Malin Head. Picture James Whorriskey
Basecamp at the Millennium Falcon site. Pic James Whorriskey
The landscape overlooking the Millennium Falcon base. Picture James Whorriskey.

A Donegal caravan park owner - used to tourists in search of the Northern Lights - has been welcoming stormtroopers, Wookies and maybe even the odd Jedi Knight in search of a different type of star from a galaxy far, far, away.

Cast and crew of the new Star Wars have landed on Malin Head as they prepare to shoot scenes for the latest instalment of the science-fiction fantasy, the as-yet-untitled episode eight.

JJ McGettigan from the Emerald Garrison, a star Wars costuming club, in Malin Head, Co Donegal Ireland, as filming for the next Star Wars movie will take place there. PA
JJ McGettigan from the Emerald Garrison, a star Wars costuming club, in Malin Head, Co Donegal Ireland, as filming for the next Star Wars movie will take place there. PA
JJ McGettigan from the Emerald Garrison, a star Wars costuming club, in Malin Head, Co Donegal Ireland, as filming for the next Star Wars movie will take place there. PA
JJ McGettigan from the Emerald Garrison, a star Wars costuming club, in Malin Head, Co Donegal Ireland, as filming for the next Star Wars movie will take place there. PA

Holiday homes, B&Bs, hotels and guest houses have been booked solid for months as an Imperial Army-sized fleet of people flock to the idyllic coastal setting as part of the production.

While trailing in their wake there's a rebel alliance desperately hoping to catch a glimpse of the action or a clue to the secrets of the new film.

And, to the delight of many, one of the film's most iconic characters, the Millennium Falcon, has appeared perched close to the edge of a cliff on the Wild Atlantic Way.

Ali Farren owns Ardmalin Caravan Park. He says the production has done wonders for the area and interest will only increase when the film comes out.

He joked that he has had to fight off a stormtrooper - or two - over recent days.

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The force is strong with Ali Farren
The force is strong with Ali Farren
Merchandise promoting the arrival of the film's franchise.
Farren's Pub in Malin Head
How Malin Head could look on the big screen.

"There has never been the like of this before - sure Star Wars is the biggest film there has ever been," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"The traffic is like an August bank holiday, it has been jam packed."

JJ McGettigan from the Emerald Garrison, a star Wars costuming club, in Malin Head, Co Donegal Ireland, as filming for the next Star Wars movie will take place there. PA
JJ McGettigan from the Emerald Garrison, a star Wars costuming club, in Malin Head, Co Donegal Ireland, as filming for the next Star Wars movie will take place there. PA

Filming is expected to take place over the coming days and last for months.

Road closures have been in place around the area, but this has not stopped eager Star Wars fans flocking to the area.

From Friday Malin Head will be on 'lockdown' Ali said, with road closures preventing only residents and holiday makers getting access to their homes.

JJ McGettigan from the Emerald Garrison, a star Wars costuming club, in Farrens Bar in Malin Head, Co Donegal Ireland, as filming for the next Star Wars movie will take place there. PA
JJ McGettigan from the Emerald Garrison, a star Wars costuming club, in Farrens Bar in Malin Head, Co Donegal Ireland, as filming for the next Star Wars movie will take place there. PA

Although those who use the force may get a little closer.

"Credit has to go to the local council on getting this to Malin Head," said Ali.

"We are used to people following the nature trial, or wanting to see the Northern Lights, but this will blow all that out of the water and bring in an entirely different class of people."

JJ McGettigan from the Emerald Garrison, a star Wars costuming club, in Farrens Bar in Malin Head, Co Donegal Ireland, as filming for the next Star Wars movie will take place there. PA
JJ McGettigan from the Emerald Garrison, a star Wars costuming club, in Farrens Bar in Malin Head, Co Donegal Ireland, as filming for the next Star Wars movie will take place there. PA

Filming has taken place right across Ireland for both for JJ Abrams last film and the new episode eight.

Skellig Michael - a UNESCO World Heritage Site off the Ring of Kerry on the west coast - featured in the 2015 Force Awakens and was centre stage in the first teaser trailer of episode eight.

A Jedi temple has also appeared in Kerry and work is reportedly underway in Cork on a set.

Ali was tight lipped on what he knows exactly of the Donegal production.

He said: "There's been a  lot of blacked-out limousines and coaches in the area, so we have no idea who is here - and you can't get close.

"We've been told its a walking shot through a glen of some description, but the Millennium Falcon appeared and that's sparked a lot of interest, I can tell you."

The locals in the area have thrown themselves into the spirit of the series with Malin Head Star Wars merchandise and Ali's brother who runs the family pub, Farren's - Ireland's most northerly bar - has painted a picture of Yoda on the gable wall of the premises.

"Skellig Michael was incredible in the films, but Malin Head will be something else," Ali said.

Asked if he was a fan of the film, he admitted he had never seen any one of the seven films, "but I may watch it now," he said.

Episode VII: The Force Awakens was the highest grossing movie of all time on its release in December.

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