One of the best surprised on my recent trip to Ireland was on the day we went to fly falcons at the school of falconry. We had parked the car and were walking toward the facility where we would work with the falcons when we realized we were standing in the very place where part of The Quiet Man starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara had been filmed. What a joy!
The Quiet Man has long been one of my favorite movie classics. I loved the images of Ireland, their customs, lands, and homes portrayed in the movie. I don’t know if the little lady inside heard my squealing with delight, but she came out of the Danagher’s home and started talking to us. She is the daughter of the man who owned the cottage when the movie was filmed way back in its day. John Wayne and her father had become friends. Maureen O’Hara had been a lovely young woman who was kind to everyone and had returned in recent years to visit this woman’s mother before she passed.
Every detail was a delight. She and her family along with community members had been extras in the movie. Then she took us inside her house! There was the table where Squire Danagher knocked the dowry money to the floor! There was the China that Maureen O’Hara had served her brother and works from in the film. All around the room I saw things I recognized from the movie. The suitcase John Wayne had carried at the beginning of the movie was sitting on an honored shelf.
She was the sixth consecutive generation to live in the house! When a door unexplainably opened and closed by itself, as if someone had come into the room with us, she looked, but never missed a beat in her story telling, and never made reference with what had just happened. Maybe some other family members had dropped in on the fun.
It was all such a blur and we were in a rush to get to our appointment at the School of Falconry that we cut short what I would have loved to lingered with. BUT I surely didn’t want to miss the lesson in falconry.
My brother had said if he was going with me, the only place he really knew he wanted to see in Ireland was the place where The Quiet Man was filmed. I had no idea we would be there. In the village, the bar where the big fight scene took place was still standing. A statue of John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara was on the square. A shop was named for the movie.
Our tour guide had not arranged this lovely encounter. Truly, it was a gift from God – a point of joy for us and for the Danagher daughter. Sometimes we plead with God for things we think we want and sometimes he just surprises us with a gift because He knows the desires of our hearts.