So I just finished watching this movie for the third time this weekend. Sue me, it's one of my all-time favourites! But now also it's severely increased my expectations of love and adventure in Ireland. :/ Haha.

On Display

October 07, 2012

by: Her Head in the Clouds

She wouldn't trade in all his musty, woolly sweaters for ironed, tweed black suits. Nor, would she give up his rugged beard for a freshly shaved jaw. She wouldn't dare give away his Baby-rickety of a car for a flashy Nissan Rouge; and she wouldn't dream of exchanging his crude, opinionated, Irish jabber for a well-mannered, soft-spoken conversation. Nope none of it.

But Anna was willing to tie up her long, red hair in a ponytail and set to removing her husband's heinous excuse for hotel décor for better fixtures.

Hey! That's a classic! Yeah, that's what he'd probably say if he saw her yank out the old armoires and ugly lamps and moth-balled blankets. But it's not like he didn't see it coming! Really Declan, you've loved the woman a month-and-a-half now and you forget what she did for a living back in Massachusetts? Tsk tsk.

Anna had squeezed his hand as they watched the sun set on the Dingle Peninsula. It was something they did on Sundays when the pub was closed and they'd plan out things for their immediate future. Because, remember, Declan wanted to make plans with her, and Anna was a control freak.

It needs a woman's touch! And he'd laughed when the words left her lips. But after that patronizing look on her face and thinking back to how many female customers he'd ever actually had stay overnight (Anna had been the only one since… ever) and he'd resigned. With a small smile, he made sure to point out what belonged to his family and what didn't and gave her his blessing.

Nothing at the B&B ever really belonged to the O'Callaghans since the bloke had bought the pub with his 'backstabbing snake' friends way back when, but a few things did since they needed to furniture the place and it saved up on money. But after they were salvaged, Anna thought the rest of the cleanup would be a breeze.

With her keen eye in interior décor and fashion, she'd swept the online furniture shops for cheap, accessible pieces to fly over. This was her most exciting project yet! Much more meaningful than she'd ever done for the narcissistic, rich guys and dolls who lived in the high-end apartments back where she grew up. No, this was all for her and her future life and she was brimming with imagination. Everyday was like an adventure, and every room, she had a special place for. Hey, it was to help the temporary families remember? Who's to say they can't enjoy a little modern flavour?

Of course, her darling husband would but what did he know? He still thought his itchy sweaters were in style.

So Anna flew off like a plane to Dublin and ransacked the B&B's sleeping quarters of its old curtains, scratched up wooden furniture, and odd trinkets hanging and sitting about. And when Declan would ask What you doing with that?, she'd smirk and tell him to just go back to the bar and leave the bedrooms to him.

And in all her tenacity, the same one she'd grown up with as a once-homeless girl with two jobs… whatever didn't work, she gave/threw away and whatever did, she polished or sent for reupholstering.

At first, all that Dingle village heard from the Kerraugh were Declan's anguished shouts when his fiery redhead of a wife tossed strange and 'supposedly' out-of-style chairs and wallpaper from open windows into a large trash bin. They knew her heart was in the right place and while the O'Callaghan boy would fuss and pretend that any of the junk really mattered to him, they also knew that he was lying bullock.

The American lass has a got a plan, she does, they'd tease and gossip delightfully and Declan would grumble as he'd shoot out meals and booze from the kitchen. But he was just as anxious as they… what with Anna's god-only-knows schemes to 'soften the pub's edges'. So he waited and helped when needed…

Colours started flying in.

In fabrics, silks, paint (that her excited daddy sent in cans to her overseas when she asked)… honestly, the first thing he had said to her on the phone when she mentioned an Irish fella was her hubby now and not Jeremy was, 'Oh praise merciful heaven! I thought I'd be stuck with that prissy boy for the rest of my days!' …yes, the colours started piling so much that Anna had to lock one room up for her stash until the rest were completely done.

Don't worry, the last will be a surprise, she'd piped with a tired grin and all six-feet-two of Mr. O'Callaghan would roll his eyes playfully and go make himself a sandwich.


It would be four weeks before that room could breathe again.

Once Anna stopped choking it of all its available space and the other rooms were set… she would forever hear the warm 'oohs' and 'ahhs' in her memory of the sweet, Irish neighbours and tourists she'd come to befriend and love when they stopped by the hotel for a sleep or a drink and saw her work.

It wasn't a drastic change, mind you. Anna Brady may be a raging in-home stager who knew what the expensive taste in furniture was and how to please the modern home seeker, but this wasn't uptown-Boston. And like her mother once said, 'Don't forget where you came from to get to where you are today...' So Anna didn't think expensive.

Anna didn't think chic. Anna didn't think about trying to get a sale. She thought about… home. And that's when the simple, warm ideas started flowing. Like stewed chicken seasoned with vegetables from a herb garden. Anything to remind her of the comfort of a real home where people loved and took care of you.

Unsurprisingly, she thought of Declan and his itchy sweaters and old beat-up car. And the rest was easy…

By the forty-third day into her project, the man had had enough of her brown, heeled boots clunking above his head in the kitchen. Normally he or his staff didn't hear it on a regular business day, but when the Kerraugh was closed and the wooden floors were like nails on his ears, he sighed and made a quiet trek up the stairs, letting the radio play his way,

The hallway smelled of fresh paint. He'd glance in every open door – the rooms weren't rented out for the weekend – and was noted how every other room followed a paint-pattern of golden yellow then earthy peach. Anna, he noted, liked to play around and assigned more blues to one room or more greens to another. And almost every room had some sort of shock of red to warm it up. The maple wood and iron furniture throughout gave it either a rustic or chic feel and the cushiony sheets and pillows added the right amount of lush that even tempted a manly-guy like himself to jump into.

And it all only cost about $1300, she'd prided even though that sounded like a lot to him. But then she pointed out that she could do a lot worse and Declan thought that she probably would, considering how girly she was.

This was a man's joint too. Boundaries had to be maintained!

But she didn't and he found himself sleeping next to her without any discomfort for what the morning would bring to her ideas. Although Anna was stubborn like him, she could compromise. And while she was direct in telling him when he was wrong, she was subtle in other things. And despite her obviously more feminine nature than most girls he grew up around, she understood the comfort of a pair of old jeans and messy hair.

And that's how he found her, all smiles and worn out on an old armchair with an old magazine in her hands. He was about to ask why his old chair from the father rooms was still there when they agreed its mustard stain on the arm wasn't good for guests to see. But then he realised the atmosphere in the entire room felt different to him and he looked around.

The walls were painted in sky blue and the curtains were orange with a green flower print running across it. The paintings on the wall were of the sunny shore of Bundoran and Rossnowlagh, and other scenic beaches across Ireland even he'd yet to see. A cute photograph of Frank and his wife, the train station/fellow B&B owners, were smiling in front of the ancient castle sat near a pillow. In another, Jack Brady and his daughter were smiling from a pretty cliff. Stephano and Carla sharing a hug in a room they rented out a month ago… and suddenly he noticed, the entire cherry-red bedsheet was covered in snapshots of new and old customers and friends they'd made over the weeks. His mouth dropped a little.

Catching his gaze, Anna eyed him with a small smile as she swung her legs lazily over the armchair sideways. This was the first time he'd come up to the rooms in a while since she was in post-decorating mode and he'd never stopped by to see this room, since he'd considered it a storage for the past couple weeks. Just thought they'd bring more love to the hotel, you know, she'd said. Oh, how that redhead's mind worked!

Then she followed his green eyes to where a lame statue of a cow and a large sheep dog sat perched beside the drawer and she challenged that there was nothing he could do about it. Nor about The Colonials posters that hung on the wall, or the ugly figurine of the model of his beat-up car sitting on the dresser. And suddenly, all their memories poured in like Irish seawater…

Because as they stared at each other's reactions they knew, despite their opposites, that they wouldn't change anything about how they ended up together for the world.

Anna grinned cheekily while she twisted his mother's ring on her finger.

This was definitely the strangest room on the floor.

But for Declan, with a soft grin on his handsome face and a mischievous twinkle in his green eyes, he declared it was now his most favourite.

"Mrs. Anna O'Brady-Callaghan from Boston… you are grand."


Sigh... this movie. Haha thanks for reading.