It was during a six-week filming stint in Ireland that legendary actor John Wayne reaffirmed his connection and love for The Emerald Isle, and so did his family.
It’s a common occurrence that those who visit Ireland tend to fall in love with the country for various reasons, and actor John Wayne is one of many who have felt a deep connection when visiting the Emerald Isle.
While filming the iconic movie The Quiet Man in Cong, County Mayo, back in 1951, the Hollywood star found that his love for the country where he comes from was reaffirmed. Let’s take a look at how John Wayne fell in love with Ireland after filming The Quiet Man.
The Quiet Man − one of the most popular Irish movies to date
The Quiet Man is a film that both Irish and Americans are more than familiar with. After all, it starred our Dublin starlet Maureen O’Hara as Mary Kate Danaher and legendary actor John Wayne as Sean Thornton.
The movie, which saw John Wayne and his family spending six weeks on location in the quaint town of Cong, County Mayo, greatly impacted the star, who famously has Irish heritage.
While playing the role of Sean Thronton, an Irish retired boxer who returns to his hometown of Innisfree (Cong), Wayne had the chance to ‘return home’ in more ways than one.
For the duration of filming the movie, which went on to win two Academy Awards, John Wayne brought along four of his children: Michael (18), Mary Antonia (16), Patrick (13), and Melinda (12).
Not only did the four get to glimpse the behind-the-scenes filming of one of the best Irish movies ever made, but they also had cameos in the movie.
During filming, Wayne expressed his love for the country and a deep connection tied to his strong Irish heritage, with his grandfather hailing from County Antrim.
It was during a speech in 2013 that Waynes’s son, Patrick, spoke about the numerous times his father reminisced about his time spent in Ireland filming the iconic movie, which enhanced the connection.
The Irish experience − how John Wayne fell in love with Ireland after filming The Quiet Man
The Quiet Man, filmed by John Ford in 1951, featured numerous outdoor scenes on location in Cong and surrounding areas, including Congs Ashford Castle and some parts of neighbouring Galway.
Looking back at his time in Ireland, while speaking at The Savoy Theatre almost ten years ago, John Waynes’s son remembered the kindness of the Irish people, the beauty of the countryside and the many trips they got to experience between filming.
He spoke about how important loyalty, decency, family and respect were to his father. He added, “He, as a person, came from a humble background and never lost touch”.
Patrick Wayne told the crowds his father had never forgotten where he came from. Wayne’s great-great-grandfather Robert Morrison was born in 1782 and left County Antrim, Ireland, with his mother in 1799 and eventually settled in Ohio.
Returning to Ireland allowed the Wayne family to connect with their heritage again, which left long-lasting memories for them all.
His big break − a change of destiny
Patrick Wayne told Dublin crowds, “Irish people were so nice to us,” adding that the locals would take them on day trips to Galway Bay or the Ring of Kerry.
“We got to see a lot of the country, which was so beautiful. I was working with my dad and John Ford, my godfather, and so acting was a family experience.
“I didn’t know whether I liked acting or whether I just liked being around my family. But, as it turned out, the acting was a big part of it, too”.
Regarding his father’s career, he told the audience that John Wayne was destined for a football scholarship until an injury changed his destiny.
It was because of John Ford, a good friend of John Wayne and Patrick’s future godfather, that the Hollywood star was given his big break as an actor – and “the rest is history”.
The Quiet Man went on to become one of the most successful movies starring John Wayne and earned John Ford an Academy Award for Best Director as well as an Academy Award for Best Cinematography.
If that wasn’t enough, the movie grossed $3.8 million in its first year and remains critically acclaimed today, with it being deemed a timeless classic by many. If you still haven’t seen The Quiet Man, this is your sign.