Hi everyone - I can now reflect on my trip to Ireland in 1999 - almost 3 wonderful weeks in Ireland. (June21st to July 7th). My friend, Lavonne, and I began our journey from Phoenix to Los Angeles and then a 9½ hour nonstop flight to Dublin & then Shannon. We left L.A. at sunset and as we headed toward Ireland we flew into darkness and in about an hour I marveled at watching the sunrise as we headed into a new world where the day was just beginning. Thank God Liam Bluett was at the airport to meet us because we were more than a little "worse for wear." The third member of our traveling party, Lois, had to remain in Los Angeles after fracturing her ankle in a fall while alighting from a car. It was a tough decision to continue our trip, but Lee, my friend in L.A. assured us he would take good care of Lois (who was, in fact, hundreds of miles from her home in Ohio). Lois insisted we go on and we did, reluctantly and with somewhat deflated spirit. We were actually in a rather sleepless daze when we deplaned and struggled through the airport in Shannon. The welcome sight of Liam's face seemed to give us courage to go on. I'll dispense with the 3 hours it took us to find our B & B in Limerick and just get to the good stuff. That's what I've included on this page. :) Chapter Two consists of my visit to Glengarriff and Galway.
- Chapter One of Two
"Quiet Man" Country
My distinguished tour guides, Paddy McCormick from Belfast, Professor Des McHale from Cork University and Charlie Harold, one of the two remaining employees of the original Ashford Castle. We are standing on Leam Bridge where Sean Thornton alights from the trap and hears his mother's voice from the past as he surveys the area (scenes of course which are edited into the film from another area ) "where Dan Tobin's bull chased yah." Professor McHale had just finished a manuscript on "The Quiet Man" and was preparing for publication. Thus, I spent this tour under the guidance of some very knowledgeable, kind and helpful Irishmen. Paddy, with his artistic concept even brought a boom-box with the soundtrack of "The Quiet Man" to give us some mood music...it just doesn't get any better than that. These are such special people. Thank you all so, so much. Above I am at the railroad station in Ballyglunin - or "Castletown" to all you "Quiet Man" kids. I cannot begin to tell you the the feelings I had when I arrived on this particular TQM scene. It was emotionally overwhelming knowing that I was standing and walking where the cast and crew of this cinema masterpiece had walked. I never dreamed I'd ever even come to Ireland, let alone seeing these scenes with people who shared my feelings and love of this film. It was quite an emotional experience.
A rather sorry sight - Both the "real/reel" cottage and me.
The location of this decaying structure ( I'm referring to the cottage of course) is in a glorious scenic valley and Paddy McCormick has been working diligently to get it restored as a landmark for the purpose of further Irish American cultural exchange and education. He has some exciting plans and we will keep you posted on his project.
Charlie Harold and Peg Clarke are the only two surviving Ashford Castle employees from the days of the filming of "The Quiet Man." Charlie was in fact, Assistant Manager of the Castle. We had a chat with them near the Will Danaher home in the village of Cong.
In actuality we traveled at least a 60 mile area of sites in which TQM was filmed. It takes at least two days to cover them all - from the sea-side where the horse races were filmed, to the more assessable attractions and touristy presentations in the village of Cong.
This particular page I will reserve for just "The Quiet Man" Country portion of my trip - I have designed an additional journal page to further share some of the scenic sites and experiences. I had two lovely visits with Maureen in Glengarriff plus her advice in places in Ireland to visit. Was able to get some autographs that specific fans requested, so that made me happy also.
. The above are the "usual" points of interest - the bridge near the original cottage
the cross in Cong, and the old tattered sign that is still stored inside the railway station.
I am not including these photos of me because I'm self-centered, but I like
photos to have some frame of reference as to actual size of the landmark.
In my case I'm not the landmark, but at least a "relic." LOL
Rev. Playfair's home - actually the gate-house to Ashford Castle
Des and I clowning around a bit. This is of course the protestant church
used in the film, only the film had holy water font brought over from the Catholic Church.
I'm standing by the gate which Mary Kate peered over at Sean Thornton.
I look like the wicked witch of the west. LOL
Paddy McCormick plays a song he is composing
especially for Maureen. Paddy teaches classical guitar in Belfast as well as
his graphic art business, and will be designing the cover and artwork for Des McHale's book.
Des, Margaret (the keeper of the Ballglunin station)
Paddy and Margaret's helper.
Now I'm going to list a few things that I learned and if I ever return will take note of things "not to do"...and "to do"
1. I will NOT take a hairdryer and adapter for the European electrical circuitry.
I WILL buy a cheap hairdryer when I get to Ireland. Some B & B's provide them...others do not.
(We had a sack of 3 adapters and because we used the wrong one, we managed to blow up the
2. I WILL only go to Dublin if it is necessary to pass through to go somewhere else. I was advised
by Liam when I was renting an apartment in Galway to take the train to Dublin and see the sights
and return the next day. Did I listen? No...I did not. We changed our debarkation point from
Shannon to Dublin and spent 4 gruelling "expensive" days there.
3. I WILL take more trains and buses...and thumb my nose at a car rental, unless it's just for a day
or so. The roads are narrow and scary and it rains alot...and we got lost several times. Don't ask
me how many farmer's feed lots I ended up in meekly saying..."Is this the way to Kilarney?"
Train from Galway to Dublin
4. I WILL spend more time by the sea...just quiet time, thinking and beholding it all.
5. I WILL NOT have tight schedules and committments to be various places. Remember, cottages
rent from Saturday to Saturday which can be awkward in a schedule.
6. Finally I will try to find less touristy areas that aren't generally known so maybe I can get away
from the tourist hype.
7. Whoops!!!!! I forgot... I WILL TAKE MY OWN CATSUP!!! Trust me on this one guys. They
frequently try to pass something off called "Tomato Sauce" in little packages. Thank heavens
there are plenty of McDonald's and Burger Kings there. I eventually bought my own Catsup
at a grocery store.. There was only one brand of Catsup on the shelf...guess which one..HEINZ.
LOL I love fish and chips so I was in heaven!
More about my visit with Maureen in Glengarriff and with Liam & his family in Galway
Chapter 2 (click below)
Come along to Glengarriff and Galway
During the two days of touring I of course saw all the touristy film spots located in and around Cong, (as shown above), however, I went as far as Clifden by the sea, and other distant and remote locations that I cannot now remember. In Cong some sites of "The Quiet Man" are meticulously maintained, others, like Cohen's Bar (which most people already know is NOT a bar), is in a sad state of disrepair. More information to come as I receive Paddy's photos . We also visited Kylemore Abbey. Scenes from TQM were filmed near there also. Meanwhile take a look at what my good friend Shamrock Bob has done with this lovely Abbey setting, and read information on the Abbey directly from their website.. It is in the most splendorous setting you can possibly imagine. I lit a candle there and also in about 5 churches across Ireland. Please click on photo below:
Kylemore Abbey (click on photo)
Back to Maureen O'Hara Magazine Cover Page