An Cailín Ciuín star Carrie Crowley was among the guests of honour at the official reopening of Mount Congreve House and Gardens on Wednesday, March 1st, as the Waterford native prepares to jetset to the US in the coming days for the Academy Awards.
An Cailín Ciuín (The Quiet Girl) has been the subject of rave reviews since it’s release, breaking various Irish box office records and receiving global recognition. The film, which is as Gaeilge but subtitled with English, is one of many that will represent Ireland at the Academy Awards.
Ms. Crowley is currently working on a series which revolves around the renovation and restoration of old buildings across Ireland with TG4, hence why she was present in her home county to absorb the stunning restoration of Mount Congreve as a result of €7m worth of government and Fáilte Ireland investment.
“I’m here today because we’re working on a programme with TG4, which is called Buildings Beo”, Carrie explained. “Basically, we’re looking at old buildings all across the country that have been brought back to use, to life, and repurposed. Mount Congreve is the perfect example of what we’re doing. Mount Congreve is Buildings Beo, i bPort Láirge, in Waterford – it’s fabulous”, she exclaimed.
Carrie and her film crew have been on site on a number of occasions in recent months, taking in the incredible volume of work required to restore the famed Mount Congreve to past glories.
“We’ve been here quite a few times in the last few months. It’s been truly lovely. Every time we were here, we saw something different, like the café and shop. It’s just so amazing. You walk in and feel as if you’re in a different universe. It doesn’t feel like a local shop – it’s something very very special. It’s gorgeous.”
Such is her international stardom, Carrie Crowley’s presence was acknowledged by Ministers Heather Humphries and Catherine Martin, as well as Mount Congreve Chairperson, Des Whelan, who played a central role in her early career with WLR FM.
“Life is a circle, but you will always return home”, she acknowledged. “The Ministers and Des Whelan mentioning An Cailín Ciuín was just lovely. I’m just back from New York. I landed back yesterday and came down here last night, I’m going back over to LA in a few days. We go back over for a week around the Oscars. There’s a lot of amazing things happening.”
While the prospect of being present on the world’s most famous red carpet is unquestionably exciting, Carrie says the fuss of it could also be done without. She believes the true success of the film is that it has reintroduced the Irish language back into everyday homes, and has encouraged the use of Gaeilge, no matter how sparingly that may prove.
“Part of me just wants to stay home and walk the dog”, she joked. “It’s exhausting but brilliant and it’s a really positive story for Ireland. There are so many brilliant Irish connections to the Oscars this year. It’s extraordinary to see people I’ve never had a conversation with As Gaeilge trying. People think there is something nice about the language. If we win, we’ll all be up talking Irish on the stage!”.
Carrie Crowley has always had a love of the Irish language, and says childhood experiences of the Gaeltacht were when she first realised her grá for the native tongue.
“When I was 9 or 10, I went to the Gaeltacht, and I just felt like I’d been plugged in to the right socket. Something about it just felt absolutely right. People are apprehensive about having the courage to speak it, but I am not perfect. It’s not my first language, people have much better Irish than I do, but it’s part of us. I’m really looking forward to everything coming together. I was getting petrol recently and when I paid the guy said ‘Slán’ – I thought look at you go! It’s fantastic.”