Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Quiet Man festival seeks lookalike

John Wayne starred in the 1952 film The Quiet Man

A Quiet Man festival is launching an X Factor-style search for Ireland's best Michaeleen Flynn lookalike.

The impish matchmaker - memorably played by Barry Fitzgerald - brings together John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara in the 1952 film.

The annual Quiet Man Gathering in Cong, Co Mayo, where the blockbuster was filmed, has already found doubles for Wayne and O'Hara but is now seeking a stand-in for Fitzgerald's character.

"It was Michaeleen who put the two together in the film and we want him to be there for the unveiling of a new statue to Wayne and O'Hara," said festival organiser Paddy Rock.

"We're looking to bring the trio back together again for the weekend."

The festival runs from Friday October 4 to Sunday October 6, and organisers said they will hold auditions over the coming weeks to find the country's best Michaeleen impersonator.

"Michaeleen will be meeting and greeting the people who come to the Cong," said Mr Rock.

"He will be an ambassador for the festival. He needs to have a good turn of wit, be able to adapt himself easily to new surroundings and he will have to have knowledge of the film."

The stand-in is likely to be aged between 55 to 65, be a "local village character" and have a good physical likeness to Michaeleen.

Organisers said the lookalike will enjoy three days in Cong with all expenses paid.

"He'll be famous for those three days anyway, and after that who knows what will happen," added Mr Rock.

The festival, in its third year, will unveil a specially commissioned full-size bronze statue of Wayne and O'Hara, capturing the famous characters Sean Thornton and Mary Kate Danaher.

The weekend will also feature set dancing classes, a ceili or two, and tours of key locations in the John Ford film.

There will also be a special screening of the documentary John Ford: Dreaming The Quiet Man.

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