Mark Hamill Named Patrick's Day 'Guest of Honour'
'Star Wars' actor Mark Hamill is to be a special guest at the St Patrick's Day parade in Dublin.
He'll be the inaugural International Guest of Honour - a role created to celebrate the achievements of people from the world of business, the arts, or the media who has a special connection with Ireland.
Organisers say the role is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate their relationship with and contribution to our country.
Hamill, known for the role of Luke Skywalker, will be a special guest in the Presidential stand on March 17th.
As well as his Star Wars connection, research into Hamill's family history has found that he has a double-link to Ireland.
His great-grandmother Elizabeth Keating was born in Kilkenny on December 6th 1873, and left Ireland for America.
Mark Hamill in 'Star Wars' | Image: Supplied
Further research shows that his three-times great grandparents John Keating married Margaret Foley of Gurteen in Carlow Cathedral in 1822.
A second family line connects Mark to the Harvey family, possibly from Donegal, who were Famine immigrants that settled in America.
Fáilte Ireland’s head of festivals, Ciara Sugrue, said: "The Force will truly be with us on March 17th and we are delighted to hear that Mark Hamill will be joining us as the first ever St Patrick’s Festival International Guest of Honour."
"Mark has been a great ambassador for Ireland and it is amazing to have someone of such universal – even galactic - acclaim in this new honorary role."