Don't hate me. I'm NOT a big Star Wars fan. Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike it, and the movies are a lot of fun, but I'm no fanatic. My first thought when I heard that The Moorings/Bridge Bar in Portmagee, Ireland was going to host the first-ever May the Fourth Festival was "Uh oh."
I booked my trip to Ireland, with the plan to be in Portmagee over the weekend of May 4th months ago, not really thinking much about it being the "May the Fourth Be With You" day/weekend. No, I planned the trip around the annual set dancing and music weekend, which is always a lot of fun just to enjoy some awesome traditional Irish tunes, along with plenty of Guinness, of course.
So what does Portmagee have to do with Star Wars, you might ask? Skellig Michael, an island that sits about eight miles off the coast near the village of Portmagee, was the filming site of the blockbuster final scene in "The Force Awakens in which Rey (Daisy Ridley) extends a light saber to Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). The island is hosts the ruins of an ancient monastery built between the 6th and 8th centuries. and offers breathtaking views of the other Skellig Islands and the glistening expanse of the Atlantic. The Bridge Bar in Portmagee was the spot where cast and crew, including Hamill, enjoyed a few pints. Well, probably more than a few I would think as it's never easy leaving that place!
So music, or Star Wars? Well, when I'm in Ireland, enjoying the live music is a no-brainer. But if you're a big Star Wars fan, you might want to think about planning a trip, if not this year then in 2019, because odds are, there's going to be a second annual May the Fourth Festival next year and you'll need to book in advance. Portmagee is a very small village, so most likely, it'll be easy to take in a little of both. And, if the crowds get too thick, there's miles and miles of spectacular Irish countryside and coastline where you can find a spot to enjoy on your own.
Here's just a few of the Star Wars events on offer, if you're into that kind of thing:
If you don't care about Star Wars, come for the scenery, the music and the people - that's what continues to bring me back to this little fishing village time and again.
See you there on the 4th?