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Bring your bonnets to Cong

Bring your bonnets to Cong

Willie McHugh

The horse race for the Inisfree Cup was one of the many memorable scenes from the film ‘The Quiet Man’ shot on location in Cong. Before the running of the race all the ladies placed their bonnets on the finishing line to be collected by the jockeys. When the race was over the bonnet of Mary Kate Danaher played by the legendary Maureen O’Hara was still hanging from a pole on the beach. As events unfolded though she was the lady chosen by Seán Thornton (John Wayne) to be his bride and her bonnet became the prized possession.
Now six decades on and the organising committee of Cong Festival 2012 are staging a human re-enactment of this famous race by way of celebrating the 60th anniversary of the film’s release in 1952.
The organisers are sending out a special appeal to all the ladies of the region and beyond to bring their bonnets to Cong for the running of the Inishfree Cup. The best bonnets entered will then be chosen and will be on display at the race finishing line. The owner of the winning bonnet will receive a specially commissioned TJ Miles colour painting of the famous race scene.
Festival organiser Paddy Rock has issued a special appeal to all the women in the region asking them to search through wardrobes and lockers in a bid to find bonnets that have been stored away over the years.
“There’s bound to be a lot of lovely bonnets lying about now is the perfect opportunity to take them out and give them a public airing again at this unique event. We hope to get as many bonnets as possible and the invitation is extended to women and children of every age group,” Mr Rock said.
Reviving The Inisfree Cup is just one of the many happenings in a packed programme of events taking place in Cong over that weekend.  It is also hoped to have an imprint of Maureen O’Hara’s hands and over the weekend they will become the first impression set in the Cong Hands of Fame Trail.