Connemara has been the haunt of painters, artists, poets and authors as far as history is recorded. One thing they drew inspiration from was the joy they felt looking at the light and colour of the scenery,  the savage beauty of the Mountains and the restless Atlantic Ocean.
It is hardly surprising that the visual storytellers and film makers also sought out this special place to make a background for their work, and help bring their stories to life. So much so that many well-known actors and film makers subsequently made Connemara their home.

In any discussion of Irish film making and Connemara there can only be one place to start and that is “The Quiet Man”, a 1952 romantic comedy-drama directed by John Ford and starring John Wain and Maureen O’Hara. Filmed almost entirely in Ireland it used  Maam Cross, Ashford Castle, Cong Village  and a little cottage hidden away in county Mayo as its locations.
 The Quiet Man is widely regarded as one of Ford’s masterpieces and one of the best films ever made. It won two Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Cinematography, and was nominated for five more, including Best Picture. The film was also selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. It has become part of Connemara history with many people having watched the film adding to their holiday by visiting the locations used.

 

The film is especially beloved by Irish audiences, who appreciate its portrayal of Irish culture and scenery. It is great fun to watch the movie and then go in search of the locations, some of which have changed little, Glasillaun Beach, the quiet man bridge, Ashford Castle and Cong village are all more or less unchanged. The station at Ballyglunin is now refurbished , their website is Here. The cottage that was central to the movie has not fared so well and is now in ruins, which is a pity but there is a copy of it built in front of Peacocks Hotel in Maam Cross and there is a museum dedicated to the movie in Cong.

There is a detailed blog post about this movie on our website Here.

The Guard
The Guard is a 2011 Irish buddy cop comedy film written and directed by John Michael McDonagh, starring Brendan Gleeson, Don Cheadle, Mark Strong and Liam Cunningham.

The film received critical acclaim and was a box office success. Both Gleeson and Cheadle received acclaim for their performances, with Gleeson receiving a Golden Globe Award nomination.

 McDonagh was in turn nominated for a BAFTA Award for his writing achievement. It is the most successful independent Irish film of all time in terms of Irish box-office receipts, overtaking “The Wind that Shakes the Barley”

Began in October 2009, in Lettermore County Galway. Filming took place over a six-week period in Connemara, Lettermore, Lettermullan, Spiddal, and Barna with some scenes for filming in Dublin. It is a great movie to watch and figure out the Connemara locations. Brendan Gleeson has been back in the West very recently with a highly acclaimed movie “Banshees of Inisherin”, and was in “The Field”

 

 

The Field.
The Field is a 1990 Irish drama film written and directed by Jim Sheridan and starring Richard Harris, John Hurt, Sean Bean, Brenda Fricker Brendan Gleeson and Tom Berenger. The filming of this movie slowed life in Connemara right down as lots of people were extras, even at the expense of their day job, and traffic in the village of Leenane and other locations regularly came to a standstill. It was adapted from John B. Keane’s 1965 play of the same name. The film is set in the early 1930s and was shot almost entirely in the Connemara village of Leenaun. 

Gaynors Pub in Leenane was converted back to its appearance in the 1930s and Aasleigh Falls feature strongly as locations. The most sought after and seldom found location is that of the field itself. It is about five miles from Leenane on the Westport Road. 

If you drive out from Leenane heading for Westport and keep an eye out for a grey painted old school house. The Field itself is opposite the schoolhouse about half a mile up a track by a stream. Google Maps link to it Here use the street view to pinpoint the location. Dont be afraid to ask someone where it is its quite a popular question!

 

 

Into the West
Into the West is a film about two young boys, Tito and Ossie , whose father “Papa” Reilly was “King of Irish Travellers” The film was shot in various locations in Ireland. Some of the most memorable scenes were filmed in the picturesque village of Roundstone in Connemara, which provided a stunning backdrop for the film. ‘Into the West’, is a great tale of two young traveller brothers and their white horse Tír na nÓg.

Written by Jim Sheridan and directed by Mike Newell, stars Gabriel Byrne, Ellen Barkin, Colm Meaney and David Kelly.

It is a story of adventure, family, culture and identity set against the backdrop of modern Ireland. It has to be said that the acting of the kids and the horse make the film what it is. A great movie to watch with the children and then spot the pieces of the Connemara landscape used as locations.

 

 

Song of Granite
Born in a remote village on Ireland’s west coast, Joe Heaney went on to become one of his country’s most revered traditional vocalists, as chronicled in this lyrical biopic. Acclaimed filmmaker Pat Collins brings the dramatic life story of legendary seannós singer Joe Heaney to the screen in Song of Granite, a studied exploration of the man and his music.
The screenplay of this film is absolutely stunning and this brilliantly made film uses the moody and rugged landscape to create and enhance the atmosphere of this beautiful work.

You will recognize many parts of Connemara but sometimes you will take a while to figure out where the scenes are set, and then be surprised at how you didn’t recognize them at first. Its use of Irish Language adds to the atmosphere of the film and it was nominated for an Oscar for best foreign language film in the 90th Academy awards, along side a number of other awards. Available on Apple TV and Amazon Prime.

 

Man Of Aran
The oldest film made about life in the Connemara area features life on the Aran Islands.
“Man of Aran” is a 1934 fictional documentary film directed by Robert J. Flaherty about life on the Aran Islands which lie off the west coast of Connemara.

Man of Aran portrays characters living in premodern conditions, documenting their daily routines such as fishing off high cliffs, farming potatoes where there is little soil and hunting for huge basking sharks to get liver oil for lamps. Although the documentary is fictional the hardships and labours of living on an Island in the 1930s scraping a living from the land and the sea were very real. This lifestyle was lived on all the inhabited Islands on the west coast. Although many families were moved off the Islands in the late 60s Inishbofin, Inishturk, Clare Island and the Aran Islands are still inhabited and well worth a visit. Even though this film was made in the 30s you will still see elements of that lifestyle around Connemara, such as the classic inshore fishing boats known as Curraghs.

A bit of a coincidence….
While looking for information we found these two images , one on the cover of a Quiet Man DVD and the other is the location of The Banshees of Inisherin starring Brendan Gleeson.
Its the same Cottage!