'Quiet Man’ cottage lies in ruins as desperate bid to save it begins
Mysterious California-based owner refuses to sell to Irish government
The cottage made famous in ‘The Quiet Man’ lies in rack and ruin despite best efforts by the Irish government and local tourist authorities to buy it from the California-based owner.
Jimmy Deenihan, the Irish Minister of Arts and Culture has written urgently to Gregory Ebbit, the California based Canadian who bought the property in 1985 but who has let it go to ruin.
The cottage known as “White O Morn” was where John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara filmed so many scenes for the 1952 classic ‘The Quiet Man.'
The Irish government want to restore the cottage and make it a major tourist atraction in time for 2013 when ‘the Gathering’ a massive get together of Irish clans from all over the world takes place.
Even still tourists show up at the ruined cottage every year and pick up stones from the cottage to bring back as souvenirs.
Mike Ward, a local businessman has made major efforts to get the cottage rebuilt as a tourist attraction.
Ward told the Sunday Independent: "Mr Ebbitt has so far refused to engage with us on this. The story is that he was in Connemara on holiday with his wife in the mid-Eighties and spotted the For Sale sign outside the cottage and bought it. He said at the time he was going to restore the whole thing, do it up and open it up to the public. Since then, more than 25 years ago, nothing has been done.
"Offers have been made, considerably over and above the market value, but without success. Even offers to fully fund the restoration of the cottage, while leaving it within the possession and ownership of the owner, have been rejected," he said.
Local politician Michelle Mulherrin said: "For millions of Irish Americans in particular, the thatched cottage from the Quiet Man film is a symbol of Ireland. It should be a tourism and heritage icon, but unfortunately it is in a state which is nothing short of embarrassing. The roof is gone and the site is effectively an overgrown ruin.
"The scene of John Wayne kissing Maureen O'Hara at the door of the cottage is one of the most iconic in the history of film and regularly features in montages of great Hollywood scenes, including at the Oscars ceremony.
"Many fans of the film who visit Cong find the cottage a massive letdown and express amazement that it has been allowed to fall into such disrepair. If we are serious about attracting visitors to our shores, we need to provide them with an experience that they will cherish," she said.
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