Cannon urges Portumna tourism sector to exploit local ‘Downton Abbey’ connection

Katie and Gerard Mac Entee at the September Racing at Ballybrit on Tuesday to cheer on their brother jockey Luke. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Katie and Gerard Mac Entee at the September Racing at Ballybrit on Tuesday to cheer on their brother jockey Luke. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

An East Galway TD is urging the tourism sector in Portumna to make use of the town’s connection to the new movie ‘Downton Abbey’.

Minister for the Diaspora and International Development Ciaran Cannon has said that the movie features the real-life character of Princess Mary, who visited Portumna in 1928 and whose husband was the last owner of Portumna Castle prior to it being acquired by the State.

“Fans of the series ‘Downton Abbey’ will be flocking to movie theatres in droves to see the hit drama revived for the big-screen and interestingly, from the point of view of East Galway`s history, the movie version features the real-life character of Princess Mary”.

“Married to the Earl of Harewood who was the last owner of Portumna Castle before it was acquired by the State, they visited Ireland in October 1928, stayed in what is now Áras an Uachtaráin and then visited Portumna where they received a warm welcome from locals and were taken on a sight-seeing tour of the town by the local parish priest, Monsignor Joyce,” he said.

“There are photographs of the visit extant and I understand that Portumna Castle has some of these images”.

Minister Cannon said that his own region of Galway has many connections to the big screen, either in the use of some places as locations for movies such as ‘The Quiet Man’ or by association.

“I believe the tourism sector in Portumna can make use of the success of ‘Downton Abbey’ by further publicising the link between Princess Mary and the district and adding another component to the visitor experience and especially that of visitors who are fans of this very successful TV series,” he said.

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