The beloved but crumbling cottage that featured in the film “The Quiet Man” is one step closer to receiving protected status.
The White O’Morn cottage in Maam, Co. Galway is one of six structures that will be listed as proposed additions to the Record of Protected Structures (RPS) by Galway County Council on April 24.
The council unanimously voted in October that Sean Thornton and Mary Kate Danaher's cottage would be added to the RPS after a fierce campaign by activists from the White O’Morn Foundation, which include fans of the cottage from the US and Canada.
The list of proposed RPS structures will go on public display for six weeks, the Connacht Tribune reports, during which time members of the public are invited to make comments and suggestions. After this, the list will be presented to the appropriate government bodies and then the Galway County Council will hold a final vote, likely in July.
Previous reports stated that the cottage had already been added to the list of protected structures, but this will not be finalized until the final vote.
In an effort to dispel this confusion, former Galway Mayor and current Galway County Councillor Thomas Welby posted an update to the Save the Quiet Man Cottage Group on Facebook, stating:
“There appears to be some confusion in relation to the possibility of making the Quite Man Cottage a Record of Protected Structure, RPS, with Galway [County Council]. Some people are of the impression that the cottage has already been included on the list but this is not the situation. The first stage of getting the building on the RPS is to advertise the notice in the local paper and [County Council] are hoping to do this in the next two weeks. When the notice appears in the paper it will give a period of time for people to make a submission. When the period for submissions has expired the Council will have to do a CEO s report and present it to the Councillors. I cannot give the exact dates yet but I will endeavor to post these dates when I know.”
Paddy McCormack, a Belfast man who, with the White O’Morn foundation, has been advocating for action on the cottage for over 15 years, expressed gratitude that the Galway County Council has taken these next steps. 'Sincere thanks to the elected members of Galway County Council for showing true vision towards what can still become a beautiful jewel in Connemara's tourism crown,” he said.
“Hopefully, Sean and Mary Kate's 'wee humble cottage' is finally going to get the chance it so richly deserves.”
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 Connemara in County Galway. Since that time, hundreds of thousands of tourists have flocked to the locations to get a glimpse of how "The Quiet Man" and its legacy all began – with some bringing little pieces of the cottage back home with them.
The cottage is currently privately owned by Canadian Gregory Ebbitt, who purchased it in the 1980s. He has never lived in it nor made any move to see it preserved, though he has expressed some desire to devise a renovation plan.
The cottage’s inclusion on the RPS will not prevent restoration from being carried out, but rather give Ebbitt time to develop a restoration plan while ensuring that the cottage does not deteriorate further.
In the event that he does establish a plan, the cottage can be removed from the RPS by a further Council vote to help facilitate a full and authentic restoration.