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Star Wars ad up, up and away as promotion billboard floats 21 miles above Earth

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The ad, which was launched starbound with the help of a weather balloon, features the island Skellig Michael.

Tourism chiefs in Ireland have launched a stratospheric ad campaign to highlight the island’s key role in the latest Star Wars film.

While not quite a galaxy far, far away, Tourism Ireland has sent a billboard 21 miles above planet Earth to promote the scenic locations where parts of the movie were shot.

The rocky outcrop off Ireland’s south west coast became famous worldwide when it featured as Luke Skywalker’s hideout in The Force Awakens.

A set in Malin Head, Co Donegal, where Star Wars filming took place (Niall Carson/PA)
A set in Malin Head, Co Donegal, where Star Wars filming took place (Niall Carson/PA)

The island and its striking stone huts will feature again in the upcoming instalment The Last Jedi.

Tourism Ireland has proclaimed the billboard as the first ever tourist campaign in space.

As well as filming on Skellig Michael, the Last Jedi crew also shot scenes in counties Cork, Kerry, Clare and Donegal during 2015 and 2016. The popular visitor spots on Ireland’s “Wild Atlantic Way” will be transformed into the planet Ahch-To in The Last Jedi.

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(Niall Carson/PA)
(Niall Carson/PA)

The out-of-this-world billboard reached a peak altitude of 33,390m (20.75 miles) before both it and the balloon floated back down to earth.

The Last Jedi will hit the screens on December 15.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Our space tourism publicity stunt is a bit of fun, designed to create some excitement as Star Wars fans everywhere get ready for the release of The Last Jedi.

“The fact that another Star Wars film was shot on location along the Wild Atlantic Way is truly a fantastic coup for Irish tourism.

“It presents Tourism Ireland with a superb opportunity to highlight the Wild Atlantic Way and Ireland in 2018.”

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