Saturday 24 February 2018

‘It breaks my heart to see how thoughtless building has ruined Dingle’

'Ryan's Daughter' star recalls the two years she spent in Kerry in the late 1960s

Sarah Miles visits Dingle
Sarah Miles visits Dingle
Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

Hollywood icon Sarah Miles has revealed she was "heartbroken" when she saw how the Dingle Peninsula had been allowed develop since filming 'Ryan's Daughter'.

The star of the David Lean-directed epic was back in west Kerry last night to officially open the 10th Dingle International Film Festival with a special screening of the film that also starred Robert Mitchum, Trevor Howard, Christopher Jones, John Mills and Leo McKern, at the Phoenix Cinema.

This is only her second time to visit the area where she spent almost two years of her life in the late 1960s

Crews from 'Star Wars' are expected to begin filming on the Dingle Peninsula in May but it was 'Ryan's Daughter' that put it on the map and showcased the beauty of the area to an international audience.

But Miles (74), who played Rosy Ryan, can't get over how the area has changed.

"I was quite stunned when I came back 10 years ago to see how much thoughtless building there was," she says.

"It upset me to see these thoughtless bungalows all over the place. It's heartbreaking that you can ruin a view with bungalows like that.

"There should have been some control over where you can place your home because the whole of Ireland is ruined now because of these bungalows everywhere.

"It's absolutely heartbreaking that it could happen to the most beautiful isle on Earth. So that upset me a lot, I have to say."

But Miles, whose late husband Robert Bolt wrote the screenplay, paid tribute to the people of the area, whom she described as "decent", "happy" and "beautiful".

"When I first came here, you know, the children were barefoot on the streets.

"The poverty was amazing when you compare it to when I came back 10 years ago to see that everything was wonderfully bright and all the painted houses and everybody doing so well, a buzzing tourist resort and such a contrast," she said.

"I was here for almost two years. It was an eternity. I found more riches here than I would in Beverly Hills because the people were true and they were decent and happy and content, even in their misery.


"They were full of life. I was very struck by the beauty of the people ," she added.

Other highlights of this year's festival include the world premiere of 'The Crest', shot in west Kerry, and the screening of 30 features and 140 short films from across the globe.

The festival also salutes Gregory Peck, closing with a screening of 'Roman Holiday' on Sunday.

Peck's mother Catherine Ashe was from Minard, outside Dingle, and was a relative of Irish patriot Thomas Ashe.

This year, Dingle Film Festival's 'Gregory Peck Award' was presented to the Peck family, on the centenary of the actor's birth, in recognition of their support of the festival.

Irish Independent

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