An impassioned plea has been made to restore the famous Quiet Man cottage in Connemara – made famous in the iconic movie more than 65 years ago – before it completely turns to rubble.
The owners of the cottage, which is located at Tirnakill near Maam, have been inundated with requests to have it restored – but the property has gradually fallen into a state of dilapidation.
A Belfast native living in Toronto is spearheading a campaign to have the cottage restored and says that several people has pledged major funding for this purpose – but it is a matter for the owners and Galway County Council to resolve.
Two years ago the cottage was designated a protected structure following a motion agreed by Galway County Council. But no efforts have been made to restore the cottage as a tourist attraction since.
Now, however, Quiet Man fan Paddy McCormick (56), who has been living in Toronto for the past eight years, is urging Galway County Council to act and contact the owner of the property in California.
“I have been a fan of John Ford’s works all my life and I am particularly passionate about The Quiet Man movie. I have watched it over and over again and it is an intrinsic part of Irish-American history,” Paddy told The Connacht Tribune from his Toronto home.
The cottage is now effectively a ruin. All that remains are the side walls of the house while the remainder has fallen into a crumbled state. Much of the stone has been removed by visitors to the area.
Fans of The Quiet Man will recall scenes of the cottage when John Wayne and Victor McLaglan returned to it following their famous punch-up as Maureen O’Hara’s character Mary Kate Danagher prepared their supper.
In his email to councilors, Paddy McCormick, who is involved in magazine publishing, said that it has been almost two years since the cottage was designated a protected structure but that it had fallen into further ruin and deterioration.
“It was a much celebrated vote but since then not one single thing has been done to further secure the cottage from its ever increasing ruin and deterioration – including the continued and total abandonment of the site by the property owner.
“I am now writing to request that the Council please consider taking further proactive action to secure this nationally and internationally recognised part of Irish-American cinema history for future generations – before it is allowed to disappear forever,” Paddy added.
He is suggesting that if all else fails then Galway County Council should enforce a compulsory purchase order on the cottage but he wanted this to be a last resort. “I would much prefer if the owners of the property made efforts to restore it”, he said.
Known as the White O’Morn Cottage, local Cllr Sean O Tuairisg believes that a commemorative plaque should be erected on the site in honour of the late Maureen O’Hara who passed away in 2015.
Exploring the merits of moving into the west
Broadcaster Mary Kennedy has an abiding image of those early mornings when she’d set out from Dublin at the crack of dawn to begin work on another day’s filming down the country with Nationwide.
“I always liked to go in the morning rather than stay there the night before – so I’d be on the road early. And from the moment I’d hit Newland’s Cross, all I’d see was a line of traffic of people trying to make it from home to their workplace in Dublin,” she says.
These were people whose day began before dawn to get their bleary-eyed kids ready to drop at a childminder along the way, so they could be on time for work – and then race home to hopefully see those same kids before they went to sleep.
But if the pandemic had a positive, it was the realisation that work was something you did, not a place you went to. As a result, many people finally grasped the nettle, moving out of the city and sometimes even taking their work with them.
Which is why Mary – busier than ever since her supposed retirement from RTÉ – is presenting a new television series called Moving West, focusing on those individuals and families who have, as the title, suggests, relocated to the West.
One of the programmes comes from Galway, where Mary met with Stewart Forrest, who relocated with his family from South Africa to Oughterard, and Carol Ho, a Hong Kong native who has also settled in Galway.
The TG4 series also stops off in Sligo, Mayo, Kerry, Clare, Roscommon and Leitrim.
Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Community’s tribute to one of their own – saving final cut of turf after his passing
A local community responded in force to the death of one of their own – a man who had given so much of his life for the good of the parish – by paying one last practical tribute to him last week.
They lifted and footed his turf.
John Geraghty – or Gero as he was known – lived for Gaelic football and he’d filled every role imaginable with the St Brendan’s GAA Club since he came to live in Newbridge in 1983.
He’d cut the turf before he died last Tuesday week, but there it lay, until his old GAA friends organised a bunch of guys – made up of the football team, friends and neighbours – to meet in the bog last Wednesday evening to lift and foot/clamp John’s turf.
“Upwards of 50 fellas from the community showed up,” said St Brendan’s chairman Gerry Kilcommins.
Which was just as well, because, as Gerry acknowledged, John – himself a two-time chairman of the club in the past – had a lot of turf cut!
“It took up an area around three-quarters of the size of a standard football pitch,” he said.
Not that this proved a problem, given the enthusiasm with which they rolled up their sleeves for their old friend.
They started at 7.30pm and had it done at 7.55pm – that’s just 25 minutes from start to finish.
Read the full, heartwarming story – and the St Brendan’s GAA Club appreciation for John Geraghty – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Liver donor dad would do it all again in a heartbeat
It is nearly two years since Paddy Browne gave his daughter Sadhbh part of his liver to save her life. And just ahead of Father’s Day, he reflects on how he would do it all over again in a heartbeat, without a single moment’s hesitation.
After an initial testing time in the first six weeks when they beat a path to the intensive care unit after the operation in St King’s Hospital in London, Sadhbh has never looked back.
“She’s thrived and thrived and thrived. She skips out to school every day. She loves the normal fun and devilment in the yard. She’s now six and started football with Mountbellew Moylough GAA, she loves baking, she’s a voracious reader – she’ll read the whole time out loud while we drive up to Crumlin [Children’s Hospital].”
But it could have all been so different.
Sadhbh from Mountbellew was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia shortly after she was born. She quickly underwent major surgery to drain bile from her liver. It worked well until she reached three years old when an infection caused severe liver damage and she was placed on the liver transplant list.
She was on a long list of medication to manage the consequences of advanced liver disease. While she lived a full life, she would tire very easily.
Paddy was undergoing the rigorous process to be accepted as a living donor when one of the tests ruled him unsuitable. His brother Michael stepped forward and was deemed a good match.
Then, further tests revealed that Paddy was in fact eligible for the operation and the previous result disregarded as a false positive.
Read the full, uplifting story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050. You can also visit the website www.ika.ie/get-a-donor-card or download a free ‘digital organ donor card’ APP to your phone.