ON THE TRACK OF “THE QUIET MAN” – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Track

In 1990 in Ireland, Garry and I decided to find where they had filmed John Ford’s “The Quiet Man.” We were in the right location and it turned out that we were not the only seekers of that location.

There were little maps that showed you where to go, where to walk. You couldn’t get there by car alone. You had to park, then trek through a field where sheep roamed — which is not good for your shoes.

Garry in Cong

Maureen O’Hara had to do one scene in a field like that barefoot and she said it was absolutely disgusting. I’d probably have to wash my feet at least 100 times before I thought they might be clean enough to go to bed with me.

Cong, September 1990

Anyway, we got maps and we got moving and then, we saw it. We didn’t see the cottage because except for a bit of rubble, the cottage was completely gone. It wasn’t even the remnants of the cottage. A few rocks and that was it. But the setting was the same. The stream across which they drove the carriage and the long field.

Ireland

We followed the track, explored, and then went back to town. Many scenes for the film were actually shot in and around the village of Cong, County Mayo, on the grounds of Cong’s Ashford Castle. Cong is now a wealthy small town and the castle a 5-star luxury hotel, but when we were there, it was another small, struggling town who were trying to keep the remnants of the movie’s fame because that was the only notable thing which had ever happened there.

Now that we live in an equally small town, we get it. If anyone made a major motion picture here, you can bet it would be the feature of everything.

Somewhere in Ireland

That was our “track following.” It was a lot of fun. I have followed a few other tracks. I followed a mountain path up Mount Gilboa to see the wild irises in bloom and climbed down Land’s End. So there have been a few tracks, here and there.

But no fast tracks. I seem to have missed them.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

12 thoughts on “ON THE TRACK OF “THE QUIET MAN” – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. That was very interesting. Unfortunately I had never heard of the film “The Quiet Man” or the village of Cong. Thanks to you I can now catch up on it.

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    1. It was John Ford’s love song to Ireland. After we’d located where they shot it, we realized how they had edited it to look like Ashford Castle was right next to Cong (they are several miles apart). But Ireland really IS beautiful. And so green. And the people are really lovely.

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  2. When I visited Ireland, the land of my ancestors on my mother’s side, I fell in love with the country, even the sheep. The people were wonderful, incredibly open and friendly and ready to discuss Irish poetry and plays. One taxicab driver wouldn’t take us to the airport, saying, “You have better things to do with your money. I’ll take you to the bus station and you can ride one to the airport.” Our landlady at a bed and board in Dublin took one look at my daughter and said, “You’re certainly Irish.” And to me, “And you’re one of the black Irish.” A waitress scolded my daughter for not eating her vegetables. A long distance operator chatted with me about my stay in Ireland while we waited for my call to California to go through. It was as if we were instant family. I’d love to live there…..with my umbrella for the daily showers.

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    1. We loved it too. Garry obviously loved it because he’d been there a few times before. It was the friendliest place I’d ever visited and we had fun absolutely everywhere. Also, we drank an awful lot. Garry got started on porter, but at some point, I suggested they called it porter for good reason, so he switched to Hennessey. We found pubs where we could sing, and pubs where everyone told stories, and pubs where everyone spouted poetry … and Yeat’s grave in Sligo. I wish we could have gone back, but it never happened. Nobody thought I was Irish, but everyone was sure Garry was, which he thought was quite mad … but when he got home, his father confessed that his grandparents were both Irish.

      It was the world’s best Honeymoon.

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    1. Actually, he was a British author named Gordon Winter. He wrote expose books about ancient Royals and other famous people. “Secrets of the Royals” and it turns out, you can buy a copy on Amazon. I think we have one of the very rare pictures of him. He claimed to have been a British spy and from what I’ve read of him, he might actually have been. He lived a rather solitary life in a stone house at the foot of Mab’s Cairn (Ireland). We bought his book. We had tea. We played with chickens. But you know, he DOES look like Ford.

      And some of his books appear to have been republished by his daughter on Kindle. I probably have the original signed one somewhere.

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