JOHN FORD IRELAND SYMPOSIUM held over the weekend of 7-10 June will celebrate the work and legacy of one of the most influential directors the world has seen – the legendary John Ford. Ford as an Irish American, is a true representative of the Irish diaspora and can be considered one of Ireland’s greatest emigrant sons.

The Irish Film & Television Academy (IFTA), in association with the John Ford Estate and the Irish Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, established ‘JOHN FORD IRELAND’, celebrating the work and legacy of John Ford, in December 2011.

The Irish Film & Television Academy will through JOHN FORD IRELAND, will lay the foundations for honouring, examining and learning from the work and legacy of legendary filmmaker John Ford, who is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential filmmakers of his generation.

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John Ford is responsible for creating some of the most enduring films in cinematic history – inspiring, engaging and resonating with audiences, of all ages, around the world.


John Ford still holds the record for winning the most Oscars for Best Director along with claiming the very first AFI Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to him by President Richard Nixon. Over a film career spanning fifty seven years, Ford directed 136 films, receiving 26 Oscar Nominations.  Ford was the first film maker to receive America’s highest honour – the Medal of Freedom.

Ford always emphasised his Irishness and paid numerous visits to the land of his parentage throughout his life – including a visit to his father’s birthplace Spiddal, Co. Galway, during the Civil War. His beloved yacht the Araner, was named in honour of his mother’s birthplace – the Aran Islands.

His homage to Ireland and to the Irish experience emerges through the many subjects and characterisations explored in his films. The Informer based on the IRA novel by the Aran Islander Liam O’Flaherty and for which Ford won his first Oscar; Mother Machree which is notable as the first Ford film to feature the young John Wayne, his last silent feature Hangman’s House set in Co. Wicklow; The Plough and the Stars for which The Abbey Players traveled to the States to star in; The Rising of the Moon filmed in Ireland and the partly directed Young Cassidy a  biographical drama based upon the life of Irish playwright Sean O’ Casey. He filmed the Oscar winning feature film The Quiet Man in 1951 in Cong, Co Mayo, starring John Wayne and Irish actress Maureen O’Hara.