Monday, February 11, 2013

Bradbury in Ireland

In 1953, Ray Bradbury went to Ireland to write the screenplay for Moby Dick. John Huston was living there - reportedly because he was fond of Irish fox hunting.

While Bradbury and family holed up in central Dublin's Royal Hibernian Hotel (demolished in 1991), Huston was living it up in a lordly mansion which he was renting. Courtown Demesne was built in 1815, replacing a previous property which was destroyed. According to this report in the Irish Times, it's a huge building with three floors.

In 2012, Courtown Demesne was still up for sale, its asking price having been almost halved... to ten million euros. It is thanks to its proposed sale that we can see detailed shots of its exterior and interior: there is a gallery here on a property sales site; and you can download the detailed sales brochure for the property from sales agents Knight Frank here!

In Bradbury's account of his Irish experience with Huston, Green Shadows, White Whale, he describes a number of visits to Courtown. The most notable of these is in the chapter adapted from his short story "Banshee", where a fictionalised Bradbury visits his director with a finished draft of the Moby Dick screenplay, and manages for once to get the upper hand over Huston.

Bradbury's weekly trip out to Courtown - driven by Mike (in the book; Bradbury recalled his real name was Nick) - provided many of the ideas for his Irish tall tales which first emerged as short plays, later being re-written as short stories, before finally being incorporated into the grander narrative of Green Shadows, White Whale.

There's more about Bradbury's Irish experience in my earlier post on Bradbury's Dublin.

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