Ryan's Daughter returns to Dingle to reveal film's secrets

 

Three decades after Ryan's Daughter was filmed in Dingle, Co Kerry, Sarah Miles, who starred with Robert Mitchum in the David Lean epic, is back in the county to make a documentary on the film, which has passed into local history.

The wild and rugged scenery of the Dingle peninsula proved to be an ideal location when Hollywood arrived there in force in the late 1960s. Filming turned out to be a boon for the local economy because when the heavy spenders arrived, the good times started to roll.

The village of Kirrary had to be built from the ground up, in the mountains behind Dun Chaoin, and that meant that at a time of low employment in the area there were jobs for practically everyone.

When the average industrial wage was between £6 and £7 a week, workers involved in creating the mythical village could earn up to £40 a week with overtime. The pubs were full and every guesthouse on the peninsula did a roaring business during the filming of Ryan's Daughter.

Ms Miles, together with a BBC documentary crew, is now preparing to bring movie buffs behind the scenes to explain how the film was shot and where the locations were. The actress has arrived in Dingle with the crew and it is expected filming will last at least three weeks. The documentary will form part of a series which the BBC is producing on major films. Ms Miles is expected to give a news conference some time this week.

One of the stories associated with the making of Ryan's Daughter is that Hollywood brought pub grub to Dingle. The local version is that members of the film crew were drinking in Kate Ashe's pub in the town one day when the aroma of her Irish stew wafted in from the kitchen.

That was the beginning of pub grub in the town as far as local people are concerned.

Some of the accommodation rented by crew members also benefited from the film. Where there were only outside toilets, renovations were made to provide indoor ones. It is said in Dingle that the film brought a wave of prosperity to the town which is still talked about.