Star Wars: Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley enjoy hospitality of County Donegal

Mark Hamill at Farren's Bar Image copyright Wallace Media
Image caption Mark Hamill visited Farren's Bar in Malin Head on Sunday

Star Wars actor Mark Hamill has described County Donegal as "gorgeous" during an impromptu visit to a local pub in Malin Head.

Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker, visited Farrens Bar on Sunday and said he loved being in Donegal.

"(It's been) Fantastic, you've made us feel like part of the family," he said.

Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey, and director Rian Johnson also called in to McGrory's Pub in Culdaff on the same night.

Image copyright John Ruddy
Image caption Star Wars actor Daisy Ridley with John Ruddy and Niall McDonagh in McGrory's Pub, Culdaff

There may be no Mos Eisley cantina to visit, but it's clear the cast and crew were happy to take in the hospitality of County Donegal while filming takes place for the next installment of the film franchise.

British actor Ridley even found time to join John Ruddy and Niall McDonagh, whose band were entertaining the cast and crew, for a photo.

"She is an absolute dote," said Mr Ruddy. "Really, really nice.

"Halfway through the gig, I thought I'd be cheeky and get the photo op because she was pretty much right in front of us.

"They were all chatting and dancing and singing, and they were loving us so I thought: 'Right, they're in a good mood now!'"

With the high-profile film landing in the area, Malin Head village has been invaded by die-hard fans hoping to catch a glimpse of their galactic heroes.

Image copyright Wallace Media
Image caption Mark Hamill posed for photos, met fans and signed memorabilia while at Farren's Bar

Roads were closed near the village, at the Republic of Ireland's most northerly point, and part of the coastline was sealed off from the public.

Mr Ruddy said they were told on Sunday they would be playing a gig for cast after filming finished this weekend.

"It was really hush-hush," he said. "An absolutely amazing experience. It was privilege to go up and play for them."

Meanwhile, over in Malin Head, in a bar not so far, far away, 'a new hope' descended on Farren's Bar.

Image copyright Michael McElroy
Image caption The McElroy's wait to meet Luke Skywalker paid off

Owner Hugh Farren said the visit by the galaxy's most famous Jedi knight was "totally out of the blue".

The bar has attracted a lot of attention for a painting of Yoda on its gable wall and the Star Wars actor wanted to get his photo taken with it.

"We hoped that he would turn up but we didn't hear anything," said Mr Farren.

"The first thing we noticed was that his security and entourage was massive.

"About 10 security men came in to look around the bar, around half of them were drinking.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The painting of Yoda on Farren's Bar has been attracting plenty of attention

"Then we noticed that they were outside and we saw a lot of paparazzi turning up and a lot more extra people.

"Then the car came up and the security man told us he (Mark Hamill) just wanted a picture with me and the Yoda sign. It was unbelievable, it was brilliant," he said.

When asked if he would come back to County Donegal, Hamill said he would "love to, but on my own time so I don't have to work".

After he left the bar, Hamill tweeted he had left with some regret at not tasting a pint of the black stuff.

The Star Wars cast and crew have now finished filming in Donegal and have flown south to County Cork where filming will resume.

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