O’Hara to donate memorabilia for centre
By Sean O’Riordan
ONE of the world’s most famous actresses is to donate priceless memorabilia to a group which is planning to develop a million centre in West Cork to honour her achievements.
Tourist interests in Glengarriff and groups in America are fundraising to create the Maureen O’Hara Legacy Centre, in honour of the star who fell in love with the West Cork village as far back as 1969.
O’Hara star of timeless films such as Jamaica Inn and The Quiet Man bought a holiday home in Glengarriff 40 years ago and now spends almost all her time in the picturesque village.
Her personal assistant, Carolyn Murphy, said it was hoped that Maureen O’Hara, who is approaching her 89th birthday, will be present personally to open the centre in late 2011 or early 2012.
Pl Air Max Shoes ans are at an advanced stage for the project and it’s hoped to locate the building in the centre of the village, on a greenfield site owned by Cork County Council.
Donal Deasy of Casey’s Hotel, who is a friend of the flame haired star, said fundraising for the project will commence in the US in September.
“Early indications are that Irish people resident in the US are hugely supportive of the project. The centre will house all Maureen’s memorabilia, some of it dating back to her very first movie,” Mr Casey said.
Ms Murphy said Macy’s, the famous American department store, has promised to provide an “original Christmas window display” from the 1940s for the centre.
Maureen O’Hara starred in the original Miracle on 34th Street, in which the department store Air Max Shoes featured prominently.
“Macy’s adore Maureen. They would do anything for her,” Ms Murphy said.
Memorabilia in the centre will include newspaper articles, O’Hara’s numerous awards, letters and old pictures which are likely to include her famous co stars, such as John Wayne.
“It will be quite a significant centre. We hope to be able to undertake university courses there with cinematography and script writing. It will also double as a cultural centre,” Ms Murphy said.
Part of the centre will be dedicated to the star’s late husband Brig General Charles F Blair. He was a pioneering aviator who was the first man to fly single handed over the North Pole and the first to fly non stop between New York and London.
He died in 1978 when the engine of his plane exploded while in the air.
Despite the fact that Maureen O’Hara hasn’t appeared in a film since 1991, she still gets bags of fan mail and many letters come from young people who weren’t even born when she was a major box office attraction.
“Lots Air Max Shoes of people don’t ask for a signed photograph. But we still get requests to send out betw Air Max Shoes een 70 and 100 every month,” Ms Murphy said.
The star’s next outing will be to the annual Maureen O’Hara golf classic which takes place in Glengarriff from June 26 to July 5.
She came up with the idea of a golf tournament in the early 1980s to boost local tourism.
The annual event has proved very successful and for her endeavours the club made her ladies president in 1986 a title she holds to this day.