First drafts of 'The Quiet Man' go on public display

FILM and book fans came face-to-face with the original manuscript of the most famous story to have ever emerged from the mind of a north Kerry writer when the first drafts of The Quiet Man went on display at the Seanchaí on Monday.

Exhibited by the University of Limerick Glucksman Library at the Seanchaí, the original drafts as well as a copy of the US journal in which it first appeared arrived to Listowel to mark the 80th anniversary of its publication.

The Quiet Man conjures John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara to mind immediately, but neither actor could have taken on what would become their career-defining roles but for the imagination of Ballydonoghue native Maurice Walsh, pictured right (1879-1964). He based the short story on the life of local Paddy Bawn Enright, changing the main character's name to Shawn Kelvin and publishing it first in the Saturday Evening Post in the US on February 11, 1933.

It proved an auspicious place to publish as it was in the Post that director John Ford read the story. He lost no time in securing the film rights and the rest is pretty much Hollywood history.

That history was brought home to north Kerry - where Maurice Walsh is celebrated as one of the great writers of the region's literary pantheon - with UL on Monday. Minister for Arts and Heritage Jimmy Deenihan opened the exhibition on Monday and spoke on the rich legacy of Walsh.

The manuscripts are contained in the Maurice Walsh papers at UL, which include a copy of the magazine as well as several handwritten and typescript drafts of the story.


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