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How The Force brought visitors to a sleepy Irish town

Europe

Belfast - The Skellig Ring in Ireland has been named one of the top regions in the world for travellers in 2017.

The region receives the accolade in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2017, the highly anticipated collection of the world's hottest trends, destinations and experiences for the year ahead.

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The bestselling, inspirational travel yearbook from the world's leading travel authority highlights the top ten countries, cities, regions and best value destinations that Lonely Planet's experts recommend travellers experience in 2017.

The Skellig Ring is described in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2017 as “perhaps Ireland's most charismatically wild and emerald stretch of coastline”.

Skellig Michael, a Unesco World Heritage Site and a “remote, wave-pounded hunk of rock rising out of the Atlantic like a giant triangle,” made the new Star Wars location list.

As the book recognises, “Glimpsed at the end of The Force Awakens, Skellig Michael will play a bigger role in this year's sequel and local businesses are gearing up for the expected visitor bump”.

Also highlighted is Skellig Michael's sister isle, known as Small Skellig, “an even craggier outpost that hosts a colony of 50 000 gannets.”

Both are accessed from Co Kerry, Ireland, and while the book recognises that “nothing beats actually landing on Skellig Michael and climbing the 600 treacherously steep stone steps to reach the intriguing, behive like-chambers,” when the isles are out of bounds due to inclement weather, the string of villages from which the boats depart also offer a host of distractions - from cosy pubs and Blue Flag beaches, to historic ruins.

Lonely Planet spokesperson, Noirin Hegarty, said, “The Skellig Ring should be on every traveller's must-see list. It's a spot of timeless beauty and now that it's coming to prominence on the silver screen, 2017 really is the year to get out there and see it for yourself.”

The Skellig Ring features tenth on the list of top regions for 2017, alongside Taranaki in New Zealand, the Azores in Portugal, Aysén in Chile, the Tuamotus in French Polynesia and Coastal Georgia in the USA. Choquequiro in Peru takes the top spot, boasting a “growing traveller buzz to see it ASAP” and offering as close an experience as possible to “exploring Machu Picchu before the hoardes and mass commerce.”

North Wales in the UK also features in the list, coming in at No. 4, thanks to the region's reinvention: “Once upon a time the mountains and valleys of North Wales gave up a bounty of slate, copper and even gold; now this landscape, ringed with hills and rich with mythology, is a playground for hikers, mountain bikers and rock climbers.”

Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2017 also features five travel trends that consumers should look out for in 2017. Remote working, bikepacking, instaviduality, sustainable travel and micro-distilleries were all pinpointed as ones to watch. Lonely Planet's experts also rank the top ten best family adventure destinations and ten best places to stay in Best in Travel 2017.

Deciding what to include in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel annual selection is a considered process involving the whole of Lonely Planet's community: from its writers and editors all the way to its online family of bloggers and tweeters. Each year, they come up with hundreds of places that are not to be missed. These are then whittled down by a panel of in-house travel experts who shortlist in line with criteria such as topicality, excitement and wow-factor.

Adapted from a press release for IOL

 

Top 10 Regions in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2017:

1. Choquequirao, Peru

2. Taranaki, New Zealand

3. The Azores, Portugal

4. North Wales, UK

5. South Australia

6. Aysén, Chile

7. The Tuamotus, French Polynesia

8. Coastal Georgia, USA

9. Perak, Malaysia

10. The Skellig Ring, Ireland

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