The original manuscript which inspired the Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne movie “The Quiet Man” is on display in Listowel, County Kerry.
The short story was written by Maurice Walsh, a native of Listowel, and published in The Saturday Evening Post, in the United States, on February 11th, 1933. The exhibition was launched to mark the 80th anniversary of its publication.
It was in the Saturday Evening Post that the Irish American director John Ford first read Walsh’s story. He then secured the rights to the story. However it was not until 1952 that the much loved movie starring Dubliner Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne was made in Cong, County Mayo.
Maurice Walsh (1879-1964) based the short story on Paddy Bawn Enright from his hometown of Ballydonoghue, outside Listowel. He changed the character’s name to Shawn Kelvin in the published story.
The exhibition demonstrates how Maurice Walsh developed the story and how he was influenced by the editorial department of the Saturday Evening Post. The story was revised again by the author in 1935 when he included it in his novel “Green Rushes.”
The exhibition is being hosted by the University of Limerick, which also holds a copy of the original magazine. Handwritten and typescript drafts of the story are held at the Seanchaí Kerry Writers Museum, in Listowel.
Ireland’s Minister of the Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan launched the exhibition saying “Maurice Walsh had an impressive literary output. However, it is for the short story ‘The Quiet Man’ published on this day in 1933 that he is most widely remembered. The story of ‘The Quiet Man’ is a familiar one which has a deep resonance with Irish people, at home and abroad.
“I had the privilege of launching the inaugural Quiet Man Festival, in Cong County Mayo, in recent years and it was still palpable from the people there the tremendous legacy that the making of the film has for this village almost 60 years later. Many visitors sightseeing “The Quiet Man” as one of the reasons why they thought about coming to Ireland. And, it all started with the manuscript, we have on exhibition here in Listowel this evening.”
The exhibition will run until St. Patrick’s Day. For more information visit the University of Limerick’s website.
The original short story is available online here.