Steele, Inc.-Atlanta Division

 
Kilmacduagh 2
Gort, Ireland
Co. Galway
 

Rory tumbles Rachel from her horse before she has a chance to jump the double wall. (Photo by Pamo)

 

Being at Kilmacduagh was like being in a serene, magical time warp.

 

After leaving Ashford Castle, Sandra and I hopped in our rental car and headed to Gort, which was the closest town to Kilmacduagh. Gort was easy enough to find, but locating the abbey ruins was another matter entirely. After driving several miles behind a construction truck on a teeny, windy, bumpy, narrow, two lane road and finding nothing but grassy fields and political posters, we backtracked to Gort. Going into a shop, I found a lovely, old, Irish gentleman and asked for directions to 'Kill-MAC-uh-doe'. He just smiled and said, "Ah, you mean Kill-mac-DOO-uh. We say things funny here, don't we?" He told me to drive up to the town square, turn left at the church, and then follow Kinvara Road.

Finding Kinvara Road, however, was easier said than done. We found the town square, but there was no building that looked like a church. We drove out of town and backtracked again, this time turning left at the building that did not look like a church. Not knowing which way to go at the next intersection, Sandra pulled up to a shop and I hopped out to ask for directions again. As soon as I got out of the car and turned around, however, there it was - a multi-directional Irish sign with one of the arrows pointing the way to Kilmacduagh.

It was a long, desolate, winding, three mile drive through a landscape inhabited only by the ghosts of the poor unfortunates who died during the Great Hunger. The lush, green countryside surrounded us at every turn, luring us deeper and deeper into a thick blanket of cold, haunting fog. As the wind swirled outside our windows, whispering its long-lost secrets to us as we journeyed on our way, I couldn't help wondering what the haunted spirits thought in 1981 when the film crew for "Manions of America" invaded their territory with their movie cameras and trucks and cranes.

When we saw a round tower looming ahead of us in the distance, leaning to one side, we knew we were getting close to the ruins of the monastic city. We pulled off onto Corofin Road and I began looking around for the gatekeeper's house, since I knew he had the key to the ruined abbey. A couple of tourists were leaving the car park as we pulled in, but they had been unsuccessful in locating the gatekeeper. Undeterred, Sandra, Moira and I hopped out of the car and trudged through the softly falling mist down the road to the gated cemetery.

Luckily, the abbey gate was not locked and we were able to wander around the ancient cemetery to our heart's content. The ground was extremely uneven, but I guess that happens when it's been rained on almost every day for thousands of years. Sitting in the midst of the graveyard were the ruins of the abbey where Rory and the Young Irelanders voted to steal guns from the English landlords. I really wanted to get inside the abbey so I could stand in the same spot where Rory had led his meeting, but the door (such as it was!) was locked and I wasn't tall enough to crawl through the tall window openings.

Sandra mentioned that the couple we had seen leaving earlier had returned and the girl was walking around inside the actual abbey taking pictures while the guy waited for her in the cemetery. We figured the guy must have boosted her through the window. If I had been at the abbey during their 'break-in', I would have handed her my camera and asked her to take pictures for me! Unfortunately, though, I was off taking pictures in a different area of the ruins.

Kilmacduagh was an entire monastic city at one time, so there are clusters of ruins scattered about the area. There's even a very narrow road which is bordered on both sides by a stone wall. This is the double wall Rory warned Rachel about as he chased after her on horseback, and it's the beginning of one of my favorite scenes in "Manions". Coming to the stone wall at a perpendicular angle, you do not see the road or the second wall, so it's easy to see how Rachel would not have realized the danger she was in.

Standing at that double wall and looking out at the very same emerald green field where Rory tumbled Rachel off her horse and they shared their first kiss was a definite WOW moment for me.

 

This is the "Manions" scene that inspired me to seek out Kilmacduagh. (Photo by Pamo)

 

Steele in Ireland

Kilmacduagh 3

Steele, Inc.-Atlanta Div.

 

dtalley@mindspring.com

 

All pictures not labeled otherwise are copyrighted 2002 by Debra Talley. The characters of
Remington Steele are used without permission. These pages are purely for entertainment purposes.