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Filming Ryans Daughter, Robert Mitchum and Ireland's Dingle Peninsula

Updated on June 15, 2015

Ryans Daughter and Dingle

Slea Head, Dingle Peninsula, Co Kerry, Ireland.
Slea Head, Dingle Peninsula, Co Kerry, Ireland.
Ryans Daughter 1970
Ryans Daughter 1970
Dingle Peninsula, Co Kerry, Ireland.
Dingle Peninsula, Co Kerry, Ireland.
Making of Ryans Daughter1969 in Dingle
Making of Ryans Daughter1969 in Dingle
MountBrandon, Dingle Peninsula, Co. Kerry, Ireland
MountBrandon, Dingle Peninsula, Co. Kerry, Ireland
Robert Mitchum in Ryans Daughter 1969
Robert Mitchum in Ryans Daughter 1969

Ryans Daughter in Dingle

If you stand at the very tip of Slea Head and gaze out into the boisterous, untamed ocean you really can smell the salt in your nostrils. Now close your eyes and listen to the waves crashing angrily against the unyielding rocks below. Flick your eyes open again and you can gaze down beneath you and see the twists and turns of the road as it meanders down into Dingle town.

On a calm summers day locals and tourists alike are enchanted by the unspoiled beauty of South West Kerry and the infamous Dingle Peninsula. Starting and ending in Dingle, a tour of Slea Head is 56 Kilometres in length and is a must for anybody visiting the area. It is recommended that you allow yourself a day to savour the full delights of the archaeological sites, visitors centres, museums and craft shops. Don’t forget to bring your camera, as the scenery is among the finest in Ireland.

.It was this sheer, unspoiled beauty that encouraged Hollywood Director David Lean to film Ryans Daughter in the Dingle Peninsula. He had a vision of using the regions natural beauty to enhance what he hoped would be a very human film.

The filming took place in 1969 and this year is forever etched in the minds of those in Dingle who lived through Hollywood Invasion. It quickly became an industry for the locals living around the regions of Dunquinn and Dingle. The older inhabitants still have vivid memories of this exciting time in their lives.

For the 30,000 people who populate the Dingle Peninsula, the influx ofHollywood’s finest will never be forgotten. It was a boom time on a huge scale for what was the unemployment black spot of West Kerry.

Two hundred local people were initially employed in the construction of forty full scale buildings, including shops, houses, a school, a church and of course a pub. Many of the local people rented their houses out the Hollywood elite while they themselves moved temporarily into mobile homes (trailers). The fictional village which was constructed became known as Karrary.

The night life in the area had never seen such a boom, Hollywood actor Robert Mitchum, who played the downtrodden school teacher in the film was notorious for his partying antics throughout his stay. In fact it was commented more than once that the real live antics of the Hollywood Elite would have made a more interesting movie.

Despite all the hype surrounding the making of the film the initial response to it was less than favourable. David Lean was hoping for his film to be portrayed as a love story between the school teacher’s wife and an English Soldier. His idea had been that the Irish Troubles of the time were merely a backdrop for the more powerful love story. However the critics did not agree with him. They felt the film was melodramatic and trivialised the struggle between the two nations by not taking it seriously.

Whatever the shortcomings of the film may have been, Dingle could not have hoped for a better marketing campaign for their tourist industry. If you enjoy good food, breathtaking scenery, lively nightlife and a good taste of real Irish culture then it is time to book your holiday.

Ryans Daughter Dingle 1969

Beauty of Dingle Peninsula


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    • thewritingowl profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Kelly Godley 

      6 years ago from Ireland

      Thanks I am going to check your Hubs out today too.

    • chrisnstar profile image


      6 years ago

      I will follow and watch this space for more!! You might like the Hubs I've written about Ireland.

    • thewritingowl profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Kelly Godley 

      6 years ago from Ireland

      You'll have to make it to Kerry next time. Even though I give out constantly about the messed up Politics and Autism Services here even I have to love the beauty of Kerry the Kingdom and our country in general. As my grandmother used to say 'if only we could live off the view!' You might also like to read my article about the O Connor Kerry Kingdom as the scenery around here is pretty spectacular too and there is even a guest house here at Carrig Island(you won't get more tranquil than this area). Thanks for comment and please watch this space for more.

    • chrisnstar profile image


      6 years ago

      voted up and interesting. I ADORE Ireland and want to make it my home. I've been there 3 times and plan to return soon. I haven't been to Co. Kerry yet.


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