Mary Kate: What manner of man is it that I have married?
Hugh Forbes: A better one, I think, than you know, Mary Kate.
The Quiet Man (Film)
In 1952 Hollywood came to the quiet village of Cong to film John Ford’s The Quiet Man starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, a film the studio did not want to make but agreed after all three agreed to shoot a western for Republic Studios (Rio Grande). The tale of Sean Thornton (John Wayne) who returns to Ireland from America to reclaim his family’s farm in Inisfree, his tempestuous relationship with Mary Kate Danaher (Maureen O’Hara) and her brother’s attempts to pull them apart.
Ford filmed the outdoor scenes in Counties Mayo and Galway including the grounds of picturesque Ashford Castle near Cong. Sixty years latter the movie still draws visitors to Cong, as they walk in John Wayne’s footsteps across the Irish countryside. In one memorable fight scene the protagonists conduct a rolling battle through the streets of Inisfree, a dying man leaps out of his death bed to watch the pugilists punch it out.
The movie garnered Republic Studios their only Best Picture Oscar nomination, and is an enduring favourite with fans.
For most tourists Cong is a quirky little stop to slip into a little movie history but it is also a perfect rest stop on the less travelled road between Galway and Westport via Leenane through the picturesque Connemara countryside.