THERE WAS MUCH controversy around the filming that took place on Skellig Michael.
The island off the coast of Kerry is a Unesco world heritage site and is being used as a location for the new Star Wars VII and Star Wars VIII films.
An Taisce had raised concerns that filming could damage the local ecology and rats could accidentally inhabit the island.
Despite these objections, permission was granted for shooting to go ahead by Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys, with strict considerations for environmental and ecological preservation.
The damage done
Both the Office of Public Works and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht have been keen to emphasise that no substantial damage was caused to the island.
A spokesperson for the the Department told TheJournal.ie that, “The steps on Skellig Michael and other stones in the National Monument can be slightly loosened from time to time through harsh weather, the actions of nesting birds or by visitors to the island.”
Following the filming, some routine maintenance work was carried out by on-site staff. This did not incur any additional cost.
In a parliamentary question, Minister with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works Simon Harris said that following the filming some damage was repaired on the steps leading up to the Monastery on Skellig Michael.
A second minor repair was also required an entry point on a wall near to the monastery which had been previously damaged in June.
Operations on the island
Speaking last month about opposition to the filming, Minister Humphreys said, “Those attempting to turn this into a negative story seem to be completely overlooking the fact that up to 180 people visit the island on any given day”.
Skellig Michael is open to visitors for around four and a half months of the year, from May through until September.
During this time between 11,500 and 12,000 visitors are expected to visit the island, weather permitting.