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The Quiet Man
Treasures of Ireland:
The Quiet Man
(Dispatch #17)

Story and photos by Tom Weber

n between a host of organized activities, mouthwatering feasts and evening turndown service, I somehow manage to "escape" from Ashford Castle for a bit to go in search of the man who singlehandedly placed Ireland on his back and carried it to the top of just about every "must-see" tourist destination list.

the woods at the Ashford Castle grounds

During a prolific career that spanned nearly 60 years, the late John Ford, the brilliant Irish-American film director who helmed 137 features, brought one of his projects "home" to Ireland for location shooting: The Quiet Man.

fishing at the River Cong

A nostalgic tribute to Ford's Irish ancestry, the 1952 film is a beautifully shot Technicolor presentation deserving of its Academy Award for Best Cinematography, and which also did much to promote tourism to the Emerald Isle that continues to this very day. Hey, I'm here, aren't I?

the River Cong

Based on a short story by Maurice Walsh, an Irish novelist, The Quiet Man, one of Ford's best-known works and the one that garnered him his fourth Best Director Oscar, is an epic romantic comedy set in the 1920s that tells the story of Sean "Trooper" Thornton (John Wayne), a retired, Irish-born, American prizefighter from Pittsburgh, PA who travels back to Ireland to reclaim his family's farm in fictional Innisfree.

With the deed to the property barely in his grip, Sean quickly falls in love with the fiery Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O'Hara), but has to square off against her brother, Squire Will (Victor McLaglen), in a monumental donnybrook, to finally win her hand.

Cue the music: Dum-ta. Dum-ta. Dum-ta. Diddle-diddle…

One of my all-time fave flicks, I can't very well visit Ireland without paying my respects to The Quiet Man and the genius of Ford. So, here I am in the middle of Cong – aka The Quiet Man village – in Co. Mayo, one of the stops on Insight Vacations' (Insight) Treasures of Ireland journey, where the lion's share of the 42 exterior scenes shown in the movie are located.

tour guide to The Quiet Man locations with Pat Cohan's Pub at the village of Cong in the background

Armed with a detailed map from The Quiet Man Museum & Gift Shop and several cameras draped around my neck, I transform myself into one of what the locals call The Quiet Man "crazies" – the thousands of tourists who invade their fair village every year – and follow in the footsteps of the movie's stars, extras and film crew, reliving the scenes in and around Cong and framing a few shots of my own.

scenes at the village of Cong

Cong, like all the other stops on the Treasures of Ireland journey, is not short on beautiful scenery and landscapes, which, if you screen the classic movie, appear to take on a character all their own within the film. From Cong Abbey, to Pat Cohan's pub ("A glass of Guinness and a toastie, please!"), to the Dying Man's cottage, to the River Cong and its picturesque bridge; they all played their parts equally well in the great romance.
The Quiet Man statue

Mr. and Mrs. Quiet Man statue

Why, I even have an up close-and-personal encounter with Mr. and Mrs. Quiet Man themselves.

replica of the White O' Mornin' cottage

The village of Cong, the real-life Innisfree, has built and painstakingly furnished an exact replica of the White O' Mornin' cottage, just like the one seen through John Ford's lens. All the furnishings, artifacts and costumes are accurate reproductions.

The best part of my "location shooting" is taking the footbridge across the river for a leisurely stroll through the woods leading back to the grounds of Ashford Castle, Insights' five-star luxury digs while in Cong, and where John Ford and company stayed and used the sprawling estate as the backdrop for many of the feature's pastoral and lakeside scenes.

Asheford Castle and bridge over the River Cong

Now fully restored from top to bottom, Ashford Castle, the historic country estate, set amid 350 acres of well-manicured greenery, gardens and rustic paths and trails, screens for its guests stellar, full-length classic movies daily in its new, velvet armchair-style seating.
Ashford Castle and garden

If you'll fill up a couple of boxes with piping-hot popcorn, I'll grab us two seats down front. But, hurry. They're about to dim the lights and start The Quiet Man.

Cue the music: Dum-ta. Dum-ta. Dum-ta. Diddle-diddle…


Insight Vacations brochure

For complete information on Insight's 100+ premium and luxury-escorted journeys around Europe, including the Treasures of Ireland itinerary where Sean and Mary Kate come alive at Ashford Castle, including a five-star luxury stay at Ashford, just click HERE, or call toll free 1-888-680-1241, or contact your travel agent.

If you'll allow me just a few minutes to find my leather glove, I'll meet you at Ashford's School of Falconry where I've got a date with a high-flying gal named Lima.

Related Articles:
Piped Inside Ashford Castle; Galway Bay; The Burren; The Cliffs of Moher; Remembering the Great Famine; Along the Banks of the River Shannon

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Let Tom know what you think about his traveling adventure.

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Feedback for Destination Bosnia: Inside Sarajevo's Tunnel of Hope

Spent time in Sarajevo in the fall of 1973…beer was excellent!

--- David

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Hi Tom,

I must say, you're photographs are always amazing. They are top notch. You bring so much class to Traveling Boy. It's photographs like yours that make me want to go out and do my own traveling. Please don't get tired of sending us your amazing adventures. It's such a delight for the soul.

--- Raoul, Whittier, CA

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Hi Tom:

I'm also an American living in Italy. I've read with interest your blog and articles. I'd like to speak with you regarding residency and citizenship for Americans in Italy as you do seem to have a great deal of knowledge on all of these subjects. Would it be possible to give you a call on the phone? If so, please let me know how to reach you. If not, I can ask my questions via email.

Thank you!

--- David

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Hey Tom – Wow! Love those photos – they are so super that they make me A) Want to start eating NOW. B) Go there myself. C) See all that pristine beauty that looks so restful and peaceful. Great story, superb pix!!! Bravo!!

--- John, Los Angeles, CA

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Feedback for Destination Southwestern France: Saint-Émilion

Good job, Tom, and timely info. St. Émilion is in the list of places Jim Hayes and I will visit in September 2014. If we get the chance, we will exploit your experience to enhance the trip!

--- Bobby Harper, Dameron, MD

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Feedback for Vicenza Walks – Monte Berico

I lived in Vicenza for 4 years in the U.S. ARMY from 1963 to 1967. A wonderful place to explore. Palladio’s works are amazing. Have been back twice since and find new places to visit. My favorite is MONTE BERICO where I have some wonderful photos of my family.

--- Dr. Albert Pizzi, Hanover, MA

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I liked the new TB particularly the Vicenza article that took me back as a youth when we lived in Naples and travelled up there for a baseball tourney (U.S. Military Bases dependent schools played each other.)

Took me back to the plaza.

--- Bill

Feedback for A Canterbury Trail (Sutri)

Very interesting note. I have wedroned which route the early pre-Christian and Christian pilgrims travelled to Rome from England. Is it still possible to travel the Francigena trail?

--- Pawel

You can find out more info on walking tours of Via Francigena at this site: Thanks for stopping by and commenting..


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Good article, enjoyed reading it. Saved your recommended sights for future use.

--- Dardenne Prairie, MO

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You're going to be great at this Tom. Congrats.

--- Donna Vissa -Montreal

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