Maureen O’Hara has declared that the real star of John Ford’s ‘The Quiet Man’ was “majestic Ireland”.

Acclaimed Irish actress O’Hara, who now lives in Boise, Idaho, penned a heartfelt letter to the hundreds of people who attended the unveiling of the of bronze figures of herself and 'Quiet Man' co-star John Wayne last weekend, as part of the Cong Festival in Co. Mayo.

"I had never seen Ireland more majestic than she was that summer in 1951," the actress wrote.

"It was the first time she would ever be captured in Technicolor and we all knew while we were making it that the real star of the 'Quiet Man' would be Ireland herself – and she truly is.

"I loved playing Mary Kate Danaher. I liked the hell and fire in her."

The crowd erupted in applause on Sunday when Patrick Luskin, chairman of Cong Festival Committee, finished reading Maureen O'Hara's letter.

Luskin said the statue is “a fitting tribute to the people who took part in the making of ‘The Quiet Man.’”

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring unveiled the sculpture to reveal the Sean Thornton character holding Mary Kate Danaher aloft in his muscular arm, which has been installed near Cong Abbey.

The sculpture was created by Mark Rode, an artist based in Killasser, Swinford, Co Mayo.

Made in 1951, “The Quiet Man” was directed by John Ford and starred John Wayne as Sean Thornton returning to settle down in Ireland after emigrating to the US. Maureen O’Hara played Mary Kate Danaher, the girl he marries. Much of the popular movie was filmed in Cong and Connemara.

Cong has attracted many visitors and fans of the film and has an annual Quiet Man festival to celebrate the town’s connection with the film.