When I saw Maureen O’Hara

St. Patrick’s Day is a fun time to remember Irish heritage. A little over 2 years ago, I took my first trip to Cork, Ireland to volunteer at the Cork Film Festival with a special appearance by Maureen O’Hara. There was a special screening of The Quiet Man because director Se Merry Doyle screened his documentary John Ford: Dreaming the Quiet Man on the making and legacy of The Quiet Man in Ireland with interviews from Maureen O’Hara but also the townspeople from where the film was shot.

I was on my way to book a flight to Nicaragua when I saw on the Maureen O’Hara Facebook webpage that the Cork Film Festival needed volunteers. As a child I wrote a fan letter to O’Hara at her St. Croix, Virgin Islands address without a reply. I like to think she didn’t get it due to spending more time in her home in Scottsdale, Arizona. Since I don’t hold grudges, I booked a flight to Cork instead of Nicaragua (I’m still dying to go) in part because of Ms. O’Hara but I had always wanted to visit Ireland anyway.

O’Hara at 90 was still a beautiful redhead, loving the attention, and very vocal discussing her meanie director John Ford but at the same time spoke admiringly of him. The younger generation in Ireland associate her mainly with The Quiet Man. Otherwise they don’t know much about her. I wished I hadn’t been so shy. My seat wasn’t too far from where she stood on the stage. While most questions focused on John Wayne and Ford, I’d love to have also known her relationships with Lucille Ball, Alfred Hitchcock , and  Herbert Marshall to name a few.

Maureen O'Hara Glengarriff Film Festival 2011.
In 2011 she had her 1st Maureen O’Hara Film Festival in Glengariff Ireland. O’Hara wanted to have an annual film festival and start a school for actors and it was happening but unfortunately the 1st film festival was to be its last. I regret I never went. I believe O’Hara now lives in Boise but isn’t taking on a similar project there as she had planned in Glengariff.