Inaugural Listowel Story-telling Festival celebrates Quiet Man author Maurice Walsh in Thatch

A special event will take place in The Thatch Bar, Lisselton this Saturday, September 7 ,at 2 pm to mark the 140th anniversary of the birth of the great North Kerry writer Maurice Walsh, as part of the Listowel International Storytelling and Folklore Festival.

Born in the Parish of Ballydonoghue in 1879, Maurice Walsh was one of ten children, attending Lisselton National School, and later St. Michael's College in Listowel. He entered the British Customs and Excise Service in 1901 and was posted to Scotland before the year was out.

Maurice had always been interested in writing and, during his early years in Scotland, this interest started to bear fruit. Two of his stories were published in the Irish Emerald in 1908. His first novel The Key Above the Door was published in July 1926. Sales of the book grew steadily, especially in the wake of an unsolicited and generous letter of praise from JM Barrie, author of Peter Pan.

He sold his first story to the Saturday Evening Post following his retirement in 1933, then a well-known weekly magazine published in the United States. That story (later published in the collection Green Rushes) was The Quiet Man. And it was in the Post that John Ford first read it. The rest, as they say, is cinema history.

The event at The Thatch Bar will include a presentation Walsh's life, readings of his verse, music and song. "We are delighted that Manus Walsh, grandson of Maurice, and a renowned artist in his own right, will be joining us on the day" said Cara Trant of Kerry Writers' Museum.

Tickets for the event are €10 each, which includes the fare for a bus leaving Listowel for the event.