Mark Hamill will be the International Guest of Honour at this year's St. Patrick's Festival.

The 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' actor is set to make an appearance at the National Festival Parade on March 17 in Dublin, where he will watch the parade from the Presidential stand.

The special guest is chosen each year for their special connection or affinity with Ireland, with Mark being selected because of his love for the country and also as he recently filmed scenes for 'Star Wars' in Ireland. Skellig Michael, an island off the coast of Kerry, was used as one of the locations for 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' as it is where Rey finds the lost Luke Skywalker (played by Mark Hamill).

Susan Kirby, St. Patrick's Festival CEO, has said: ''The role of International Guest of Honour is something we have been considering for a few years. There are so many examples of Irish people and the diaspora achieving eminence across many different art forms and disciplines worldwide.

''Many of these have a special connection with Ireland and we want to celebrate and recognise this. Mark has a special affinity to Ireland through his filming of Star Wars and family history and has done much for our film industry. We're looking forward to welcoming him back 'home' to celebrate our national holiday and St. Patrick's Festival with us.''

Fáilte Ireland's Head of Festivals, Ciara Sugrue, added: ''The Force will truly be with us on March 17 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 also has family links to Ireland as his great-grandmother Elizabeth Keating was born in Kilkenny in the 1800s.