With the big day fast approaching, the Echo looks to some great Irish-themed love stories for inspiration. Consider these stories only as inspiration, however, as no love story can replace the thoughtfulness of dinner reservations made in advance.
From the sweeping passion of the celluloid screen to modern-day wartime chance meetings, some tales are a testament that love can be found anywhere, with the Irish in a starring role.
Sean Thornton and Mary Kate Danaher
Most people will agree not enough can be said about John Ford’s “The Quiet Man.” The criticisms and raves the film garnered over the years can fill volumes, and the film, shot mostly on location in Cong, Co. Mayo, and in Technicolor, is lauded for making Ireland one of its biggest stars. But while it retains a reputation as somewhat of a twee Irish film, actors Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne were anything but quaint in their roles as lovers who must endure more than your typical courtship.
Wayne’s disgraced boxer and O’Hara’s spitfire Colleen might go little beyond stereotypes, but these two lauded actors give the film a lovable quality that has endured for decades. Between the rituals of the town of Innisfree and Mary Kate’s brother, disgruntled at the prospect of Sean courting his sister, there is a long and rocky road ahead for the displaced American Wayne plays so convincingly.
After integrating himself and winning over the young Irish lass, the stage is set for yet another happy ending, with one obstacle still in Sean’s way. Culminating in the classic test of true love — a fistfight — Sean once and for all is able to prove his love for Mary Kate, and brings the audience to its feet at the same time.
Maude Gonne and William Butler Yeats
Torment and pain are all too befitting markers for the love affair of a poet. Especially when the poet is Irish and both involved are wrapped up in nationalist causes. These two giants of Irish history and literature crossed paths amidst the heady backdrop of war and nationalism, and the literary world has been the richer for it.
Maude Gonne had made a name for herself before ever meeting Yeats. Born in England to parents of Irish descent, it was after becoming educated and financially independent that she decided to devote herself to both Irish and French freedom.
Gonne organized protests, wrote journals and traveled extensively to promote the cause for a free Ireland. It was at the point when the two met that Yeats would say “all the trouble of my life began.” While she continually rebuffed his marriage proposals, Gonne successfully piqued Yeats’s own nationalistic tendencies, and both waged on as proponents of a free Ireland. He joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood and Gonne co-founded the Daughters of Erin.
Her independence streak and beauty caught many eyes, as Yeats wrote in “When You Are Old”:
How many loved your movements of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true;
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.
One of Yeats’s most romantic gestures was writing his play “Cathleen n
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