Shamrocks are everywhere, and the wearing of the green is upon us! I love this time of year. For many years I have indulged myself and my kids in Irish culture during this season. We've cooked the traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage popular with Irish Americans, and we've made homemade Irish Soda Bread. My Love of all things Irish extends to romance, naturally. I love to read romances set in Ireland, and I also devour movies with lovers set in Ireland.
Let's take a look at one wonderful , fun, lighthearted Irish romance movie to get you in the mood while your Irish Soda Bread is baking in the oven. Irish Soda Bread Recipe at bottom of page.
The Quiet Man, 1952
This movie is my all time favorite. It's an oldie, being over sixty years old, but it's well worth the watch. It was filmed in Ireland, and stars John Wayne as an Irish American returning to his Irish roots after a traumatic event in his life.
|Shawn Thornton Arrives in Rural Ireland|
Shawn Thornton (John Wayne) arrives in the small village and sets out to buy the cottage he was born in. He meets an old companion, who aids him in settling in to his new life as an Irish farmer. This story is full of lovely Irish landscapes from the 1950's, and plenty of Irish bluster. Shawn makes an enemy in the village, another gruff, burly fellow who seems to run the town. And he meets a goddess in the hills, a lovely red haired woman herding sheep.
When he first sees her, he asks his companion, "Is she for real?" He's used to big city gals in America, not a simple, barefoot shepherdess strolling the countryside with her hair down in casual clothing. His friend assures him he's not imagining things. The woman is Mary Kate. A 'spinster', according to the village people and the times. She's unmarried, and past her first blush of youth.
|Lovely Maureen O'Hara as Mary Kate|
Shawn starts to court Mary Kate, and of course there are difficulties in their relationship. She's from the old world of Irish heritage and he's from America, the new world as it were. They are besotted with each other, and of course their personalities clash. Mary Kate has a temper and she has some high expectations about what is proper in a marriage contract. They have romantic moments, however, and share a few kisses in the rain at an old abbey. (Love that scene).
The lovers encounter a big hurdle in the brother of Mary Kate, none other than the town bully. Shawn has a backstory that conflicts with taking the man on. Shawn was a prizefighter in America. He killed a man accidentally with his mighty paw during a fight, and since then has vowed to never fight again. So, he's required to fight a physical battle with Mary Kate's brother to win an argument and the man's respect, but won't do it. There are whispers from his adversary that he's a coward, which goads him on.
Mary Kate is a complicated woman. She loves Shawn, but has such strict codes of honor regarding her marriage inheritance (some furniture of her mother's and a small monetary inheritance), that she makes it hard for Shawn. She marries him, but when her brother refuses to give her her due portion as her marital inheritance, Mary Kate refuses to sleep with Shawn. She says she will cook and clean for him but not share his bed until he gets up enough 'nerve' to fight (yes physically fight) her brother for what is rightfully hers. So, complicated romance, even after the marriage. Plenty of fun, and a good clean romance.
The Quiet Man has plenty of scenes of Irish culture, including a very well cut scene displaying an annual horse race that is similar to Galway Races. It's fun, as are the pub scenes and the courting scenes. This is an idyllic Ireland, to be sure, as many critics say it's not authentic. However, it is a wonderful movie featuring Irish Lovers, and the breathtaking Irish countryside, including quaint whitewashed cottages and ruined abbeys. There's a happily ever after, of course, but I won't tell you what it is.
Here's a Romantic view of the movie: