‘Majestic Ireland’ was the real star of The Quiet Man

The real star of the iconic 50s film ‘The Quiet Man’ was not John Wayne or Maureen O’Hara but ‘majestic Ireland’.

That is the sentiment of Hollywood legend O’Hara, who wrote a letter to the Cong festival to celebrate a new statue of herself and John Wayne being unveiled.

Majestic Ireland was the real star of the Quiet Man. Photo copyright Elizabeth Toher

Much of The Quiet Man was made in Cong, Co. Mayo and fans often visit to see where it was filmed. Now the town has a bronze statue to mark its contribution to the classic movie. It was made by Irish sculptor Mark Rode, based in Killasser, Swinford, Co Mayo.

In her letter O’Hara wrote: “I had never seen Ireland more majestic than she was that summer in 1951. 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.”

Hundreds of fans erupted in applause when the letter was read out to them by Patrick Luskin, the chairman of the festival.

The Quiet Man tells the story of Sean Thornton returning to his native Ireland to settle down after living in America.

There he meets a beautiful local girl, Mary Kate Danaher and they fall in love. The statue captures the most memorable image of the film, with Sean holding Mary Kate in his arms, as they begin the rest of their lives together.