Step aside America – Northern Ireland is home to the most fervent fans of The Quiet Man movie.
The John Ford classic has long been a favorite of Irish Americans.
But a report in the Sunday Independent newspaper claims that the movie’s most avid fans come from Ulster.
Tourism bosses in the Mayo village when the movie was shot have made the claim ahead of their annual three day Quiet Man festival.
Festival organisers have confirmed that 80 per cent of film tourists making the pilgrimage to the village every year are from Ulster.
And they expect similar stars this year when they pay homage to the movie that made Maureen O’Hara a global star.
Organizing committee chairman Pat Luskin said: “The film allowed people to escape into another world from The Troubles. Things have changed now, but the biggest fans are still from Northern Ireland. They just seem to love the movie more than anyone else.”
Locals in Cong have also unveiled ambitious plans to create a Hollywood style Walk of Fame in the village.
They plan to invite Hollywood stars to Mayo to receive lifetime achievement awards before being asked to leave a print of their hands, which, in turn, will be bronzed and then mounted at various locations in the village.
Maureen O’Hara will be the first star invited with plans to then honour Liam Neeson, Gabriel Byrne, Colin Farrell and Michael Fassbender.
There are also plans to unveil a life-sized statue of O’Hara and co-star John Wayne as part of Cong’s contribution to The Gathering Ireland 2013.
Luskin added: “We’d then look at other actors, for example Pierce Brosnan, who has a link as he got married here in Ashford Castle.”
For more information, see www.congfestival.com.