Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Duking It Out In Cong

We went to Cong, in County Mayo, to see the ruined monastery, which was just so-so. But Cong is where a great John Ford movie, The Quiet Man, was filmed, in 1951...John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara (for whom Technicolor was invented), Barry Fitzgerald, Victor MacLagen, and a cast of scores of Irish actors and actresses. The prosperous little town, better known these days as a capital of fly fishing and a 5-star resort, is studded with statues and artifacts from the movie. The campground we stayed at runs the film on a large screen every night, and having never seen it before, we decided to give it a try. Ford won his 4th Best Director Academy Award for The Quiet Man, still a record, and the movie also won the Oscar for best cinematography, a luscious color depiction of rural Ireland, filmed under the most trying conditions...just 6 days of intermittent sunshine in 6 weeks of filming! (We can relate). Music by Victor Young, who wove many traditional Irish tunes into the score. I've read that Maureen O'Hara, who died in 2015, spent her last hours listening to the soundtrack. It's a loving portrait of Ireland by the Irishman Ford, a romantic comedy, with one of the longest and most memorable fight scenes--part comedy--in all cinema. It's a charmer, despite its datedness. So, we're glad we got to Cong.
Still on the great road...

Part of the abbey ruins

A bit Romanesque

A bit Gothic

The grounds were more interesting than the ruins, and included
a variety of enticing trails we might have tried had I felt better

We especially liked the monks' fishing cabin

Said to have been linked to the abbey kitchen by a string and
bell to alert the cooks of a catch

But the real charmer is the movie

Recognizable bits of the movie are all around

Scene of much of the action (of course)

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