With the long-standing links between the United States and Ireland, it’s no surprise that countless movies weave the two nations together into a narrative. More recent examples include the likes of Brooklyn and (the flop) Wild Mountain Thyme, but a classic of the genre is the famous The Quiet Man.
In this case it’s the tale of a retired American boxer (John Wayne) returning to the Irish village of his birth in the 1920s, and quickly falling in love with a local boisterous local woman played by Maureen O’Hara.
The film is a 1950s rom-com and was well received at the time, but even more fondly remembered across the decades that followed for its depictions of the west of Ireland.
Where was The Quiet Man Filmed in Ireland?
Quiet Man Filming Locations
If you’ve landed here then chances are you’re an incoming tourist (if so, hello!), a movie buff, part of the curious Irish-American diaspora, or a mixture of all three!
Either way, let’s dig into some of those famous Quiet Man filming locations that lit up Hollywood screens 70 years ago!
Quiet Man Filming in Mayo
The first thing to know about Quiet Man filming locations is that the vast majority are set in the two neighbouring western counties of Ireland, Mayo and Galway.
The second is that the village in question, Inisfree, is actually fictional. There is a small island called Inisfree, found in Lough Gill in Sligo, which can lead to some confusion but it’s not connected in any way.
Don’t let that fact disappoint you however, as the majority of filming and the entire basis of Inisfree is set around the village of Cong in County Mayo. For many visitors the only difference is the name.
Like a lot of rural Ireland, it hasn’t changed drastically over the years and still represents a great tourist visit and step back in time.
Ashford Castle, Co.Mayo
Ashford Castle, which sits on the edge of Cong village, is another famous Quiet Man filming location.
Many of the cast and crew actually stayed in the castle during filming and both the grounds and bridge feature throughout the movie.
The castle itself has sat in Cong for centuries, first recorded in 1228, and was once home to the High King of Ireland so it’s always welcomed famous guests of one kind or another.
Quiet Man Filming in Galway
The fact that Cong, the main setting for the entire movie, straddles the county lines between Mayo and Galway mean it’s no surprise the Tribesmen county also features heavily.
It’s hard to clearly mark the most famous Quiet Man location, but the “Quiet Man Bridge” found in Oughterard always features near the top of the list.
It’s on this bridge, still standing and largely unchanged even 70 years later, that Sean (John Wayne) dreams his mother tells him of the White O Morn cottage (also known as the Quiet Man Cottage, naturally).
Lettergesh Beach, Co.Galway
What visit to the west coast of Ireland would be complete without a trip to the beach?
Thankfully director John Ford agreed, and Lettergesh Beach features as the location for a dramatic horse race in which our hero Sean eventually wins out amongst roaring crowds and bagpipes.
Like most beaches in Ireland, this one is worth a visit regardless of its history.
Ballyglunin Train Station, Co.Galway
Ballyglunin Train Station was first opened in 1860, but for most people it’s the setting for the famous opening scene in Quiet Man when Sean arrives in Inisfree.
The station closed in 1976 and was eventually declared derelict but thankfully is now open to the public after locals slowly brought it back to life, alongside some crowd-funding help from the likes of Liam Neeson.
You can now visit the train station, explore the famous filming location, and also soak up the 6 acres of biodiversity around the site.
Connemara National Park, Co.Galway
Much like with the beaches, you can’t visit Galway without a trip to Connemara and that’s exactly what Sean had to do on a walk back to Inisfree.
Well worth a visit on its own, the national park was first opened in 1980 and features 2000 hectares of lush, diverse Irish bogland, forest and mountains.
How could you say no?!
The White O Morn (or Morning) cottage, also more generally known as the Quiet Man Cottage, is located in Maam.
Unfortunately what was once a classic Irish cottage has now fallen into such disrepair that there isn’t a huge amount to see anymore. The site was given legal protection in 2015, but little has been done to resurrect the cottage so visitors will see only the remains.
It’s still nice to visit and see the surrounding rural Irish countryside.
Visiting Quiet Man Filming Locations Today
The locals of Cong, and some of the other locations, are well aware of the legacy of The Quiet Man so visitors and tourists should expect an open-armed welcome and help regarding directions etc.
As we’ve mentioned Ballyglunin Train Station is now open, and Cong also features The Quiet Man Museum for interested visitors.
You’ll also find local tours can be provided, but they’re generally on a private booking basis and you can find all the locations yourself by car, if you prefer.