is quiet man country
More than 50 years have passed since Irish-American director
John Ford shot his classic movie The Quiet Man in Ireland.
But interest in the film has never been stronger.
Shot on location in the west of Ireland John Fords
beloved romantic comedy The Quiet Man has been both reviled
and celebrated for its larger-than-life portrayal of the
Emerald Isle. Most of the Quiet Man outdoor scenes were
shot in various locations in counties Galway and Mayo -
mainly around the scenic Maam Valley on the shores of Lough
Corrib, Ashford Castle and the nearby village of Cong.
John Ford was the youngest of 13 children and born Sean
Aloysius O Fearna (Feeney) in Cape Elizabeth on the
coast of Maine in 1895. His father was from near Spiddal
in Galways Gaelteacht.
The walled ruins of the old family cottage are still there
and it is now home to a couple of greyhounds.
And though somewhat off the tourist trail the cottage attracts
a steady stream of John Ford and Quiet Man enthusiasts from
all over the world.
The first film Ford directed was the 1917 silent movie The
Soul Herder starring Larry Carey. During his long and eventful
career, he went on to direct other classics such as Stagecoach
(1939), The Grapes Of Wrath (1940), How Green was my Valley
(1941), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and The Searchers (1956).
But it was the Quiet Man what perhaps best showed his talent.
Its influence is still seen today. Even Stephen Speilberg
paid homage to Ford in the hit film ET - where The Quiet
Man can be seen on the familys TV during the opening
The Quiet Man was the first film to be shot in colour outside
of America, and starred many of Fords favourite actors
- John Wayne (who plays returned Yank and former boxer Sean
Thornton), Maureen OHara (Waynes feisty love
interest Mary Kate Danaher) and Victor McLaglen (Mary Kates
headstrong brother Will Danaher).
The legacy of the film is so strong it is now possible to
experience some of that Quiet Man magic through an organised
tour of the films locations in Irelands majestic
The tour begins at Thor Ballylee just a few miles outside
of Ardrahan in south Galway. A favourite haunt of WB Yeats,
the location was used for the scene where courting couple
Mary Kate and Sean manage to escape the watchful eye of
Next stop is Ballyglunin, a now disused railway station
between Tuam and Athenry where several scenes including
the opening shot - Sean arriving at Castletown railway station
- were filmed.
Further west the stop is Spiddal in south Connemara near
Fords ancestral home. There a relative of Ford named
Bartley Feeney - whose two sisters and a cousin were extras
in the film - runs a B&B. Bartley remembers Fords
visits to his family home: Every Sunday hed
call to the old house and bring John Wayne, Maureen OHara,
Victor McLaglen an Barry Fitzgerald with him. Hed
bring them all to the house and my mother would make them
Ford used to fill John Wayne up with a lot of lies.
Ford visited the area many times and stayed locally with
the late Lorn Killannin - former chairman of the International
Olympic Committee - who helped him choose the various locations.
Heading west to Oughterard the next stop is the famous Quiet
Man Bridge just outside the town on the way to Clifden.
The still-intact bridge was where Waynes character
sat and heard his mothers voice telling him about
about the white OMorn Cottage. In the film the cottage
can be seen in the background but sadly over the years it
has been neglected, and Quiet Man fans have removed stones
Still in working order is the nearby footbridge over the
stream where Sean stood the first night he entered the cottage.
Further north along the scenic shores of Lough Corrib to
Cong and nearby Ashford Castle are many of the locations
used for Castletown and Innisfree in the film. At the top
of Cong village is Pat Cohans bar - one of the most
photographed of all the Quiet Man locations. In fact, the
property was never a pub and the interior shots were done
Owner Jack Murphy was an extra in the films famous
fight scene - one of the longest in cinema history - and
is always good for a Quiet Man story or two. He recalls
extras got paid 30 shillings a day at a time when 10 shillings
was an average mans wage.
Extras were only allowed in one scene and were never
asked back after that, he remembered. Ford did
not want to get too familiar with anybody. He was very strict
with that and jewellry. If you had any watches of emblems
or anything on you it was taken off you before you went
It may be more than 50 years since The Quiet Man was made
but the memories are still fresh. The films magic
still waves its spell in this corner of Ireland - and keeps
the visitors coming.
Courtesy of the Irish Post