Fears beloved White O’Morn cottage in Maam, Co. Galway will remain a pile of rubble if state intervenes.The Quiet Man

In October, the Galway County Council voted unanimously to add the cottage where “The Quiet Man” was filmed to the council’s Record of Protected Structures.

Sean Thornton and Mary Kate Danaher’s real-life “wee humble cottage,” located at Tiernakill South, Maam, County Galway, currently lies in ruin and has been deteriorating for a number of years.

At a full council meeting on Friday, October 3, the motion to make the cottage a protected structure was raised by Councillor Tom Healy, seconded by Councilor Seamus Walsh, and was passed with cross-party support.

The vote was the culmination of an 8,000 signature petition and many years of campaigning and advocacy by fans of “The Quiet Man,” the beloved John Ford film staring Maureen O'Hara and John Wayne, who have been devastated by the cottage’s neglect.

The cottage is privately owned by an absent Canadian landlord who has never lived in it nor made any move to see it preserved or renovated.

Next steps will see the planning authority notify the owner of the proposal to make the cottage a protected structure. 

Once this happens, the cottage site enjoys full protection under the Planning and Development Act of 2000. This means the structure will have the same protection as a structure already on the RPS, pending the final decision of the planning authority.

The addition of the cottage and site to the Record of Protected Structures will provide the legislative protection needed to halt further decline/ruin of the cottage and site.

More than 60 years have passed since the day in 1951 when John Ford brought in his cast and crew to film on location in Galway and Connemara. Since that time, hundreds of thousands of tourists have flocked to the locations to get a glimpse of how it all began

Belfastman Paddy McCormick, who has been advocating for action on the cottage for 15 years with the White O’Morn Foundation, was heartened by the council’s choice, saying “this decision by the elected representatives of Galway County Council represents the first positive, and substantive, step forward for this iconic location in 60 years.”

* Published in October 2014.