THE FIELD

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If you are a fan of Irish cinema, you might be familiar with The Field, a 1990 film directed by Jim Sheridan and starring Richard Harris, John Hurt, Sean Bean, Brenda Fricker and Tom Berenger. The film is based on a play by John B. Keane and tells the story of Bull McCabe, a stubborn farmer who is determined to keep his rented field from being sold to an American developer. The film was shot almost entirely in the scenic village of Leenane (Leenaun) in the Connemara region of County Galway, and showcases some of the most beautiful landscapes of Ireland. 

The Field is set in the early 1930s, a time when Ireland was still recovering from the War of Independence and the Civil War. Bull McCabe (Richard Harris) has been cultivating and improving a field for generations, turning it from barren to fertile land. The field belongs to a widow (Frances Tomelty) who decides to sell it by public auction. Bull is confident that no one in the village will dare to bid against him, but he is challenged by Peter (Tom Berenger), an American businessman who wants to build a hydro-electric plant and quarry stone for new roads. Bull’s son Tadhg (Sean Bean) has been harassing the widow for years, hoping to force her into selling the field to his father. However, this only makes her more determined to get rid of it.

The film explores the themes of tradition, attachment, greed, violence and betrayal. It also shows the contrast between the rural and the modern, the native and the foreigner, the old and the new. The film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor for Richard Harris, who gives a powerful performance as Bull McCabe, a man who is willing to do anything to protect his field. The film also features John Hurt as Bird O’Donnell, a travelling storyteller who acts as a narrator and a mediator between Bull and Peter; Brenda Fricker as Maggie McCabe, Bull’s estranged wife who blames him for their son’s suicide; and Tom Berenger as Peter, the American outsider who represents progress and change.

The Field was filmed mostly in Leenane (Leenaun), a small village on the shore of Killary Harbour, one of only 3 fjords in Ireland. The village is surrounded by mountains and offers stunning views of the water and the countryside. The field itself is located on the slopes of the Partry Mountains, about 10 km from Leenane (Leenaun). The field is privately owned and not accessible to visitors, but you can admire it from a distance or from aerial shots.

The pub scenes were shot inside Gaynor’s Pub (also now known as the Field Bar) in the village of Leenane (Leenaun), while the village scenes were shot outside throughout the village itself. The fight scene was shot at the picturesque Aasleagh Falls about 4 km from Leenane (Leenaun), while the church and rectory scenes were shot at Aasleagh Church. 

If you want to experience the beauty and the drama of The Field, you can explore some of the filming locations yourself. The Field is a classic of Irish cinema that will make you appreciate the land and its people.

LOCATIONS & DIRECTIONS

The Field

Gaynor's Pub (Pub Scenes)

Aasleagh Falls (Fight Scene)

Leenane / Leenaun (Village Scenes)

Aasleagh Church (Church Scenes & Rectory)

GALLERY

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