September 18, 2008

Not Such a Quiet Man, As Baritone Realises His Dream

By Chris Thornton

AN 80-year-old teetotaller from Mullaghbawn was the star attraction yesterday when a pub recreating the Quiet Man movie opened in Co Mayo.

John Norton (above) was invited to the gala opening after the owner spotted on the Belfast Telegraph's website that the widower dreamed of singing in the pub where John Wayne appeared.

Mr Norton read about the replica pub in Cong, where the film was made more than 50 years ago.

He told his daughter, Evelyn Campbell, it was his dream to sing where Wayne's character, Sean Thornton, had the longest fight in cinema history, knocking out Squire Danaher (Victor McLaglen).

However, Pat Cohan's pub didn't exist until yesterday - the exterior in the film was a shop in Cong and the interior was a Hollywood set.

But local man John Connolly, whose uncle was an extra in the film that starred Wayne and Maureen O'Hara (inset), has converted the shop into a replica of the film pub. The baritone sang The Isle of Innisfree at yesterday's opening.

"He went down a storm," said one local.

Mr Norton ended up taking centre stage in one of the most famous Irish pubs in the world - even though he's never taken a drink in his life.

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