What Does Mary Kate Say in Irish in 'The Quiet Man'? Unraveling the Mystery Behind the Iconic Line

What Does Mary Kate Say in Irish in ‘The Quiet Man’? Unraveling the Mystery Behind the Iconic Line

What Does Mary Kate Say in Irish in ‘The Quiet Man’? Unraveling the Mystery Behind the Iconic Line

The Importance of ‘The Quiet Man’ and Its Iconic Line

‘The Quiet Man’ is a classic romantic comedy-drama film that was released in 1952. Directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, the movie has become a beloved cultural icon over the years. One of the most memorable aspects of the film is the line spoken by Maureen O’Hara’s character, Mary Kate Danaher, in Irish.

The line, “Is féidir linn,” has captivated audiences and has sparked curiosity about its meaning. In this article, we will explore the significance of this line and attempt to unravel the mystery behind its true translation.

The Literal Translation of “Is féidir linn”

The phrase “Is féidir linn” is spoken by Mary Kate Danaher in a crucial scene of the movie. As she addresses her husband, played by John Wayne, she utters these three words with a sense of determination and resolution.

The literal translation of “Is féidir linn” is “We can.” These words carry a powerful message and reflect Mary Kate’s belief in the ability of both herself and her husband to overcome challenges and build a fulfilling life together.

The Symbolism and Deeper Meaning

While “Is féidir linn” may seem like a simple phrase, it holds deeper symbolic meaning within the context of the film. Mary Kate’s declaration encapsulates the resilience and determination of the Irish people, who have historically faced adversity and struggles.

The line also represents the strength of the human spirit and the importance of self-belief. Mary Kate’s words inspire not only her husband but also the audience, reminding us that we have the power to overcome obstacles and achieve our goals.

The Cultural Significance

Understanding the cultural significance of “Is féidir linn” requires delving into the Irish language and its history. Irish, or Gaeilge, is the national and first official language of Ireland. Despite the dominance of English in modern Irish society, the preservation of Irish language and culture remains important.

By incorporating the Irish language into ‘The Quiet Man,’ John Ford pays homage to Ireland and its rich heritage. This contributes to the authenticity and charm of the film, capturing the essence of Irish culture and resonating with audiences around the world.


The line “Is féidir linn” spoken by Maureen O’Hara in ‘The Quiet Man’ has become an iconic phrase that continues to inspire and resonate with viewers. Its literal translation as “We can” reflects the determination and resilience of the characters and the Irish people as a whole. This line holds deeper symbolic meaning and represents the power of self-belief and the ability to overcome challenges.

Furthermore, the use of the Irish language in the film adds to its cultural significance, paying homage to the heritage of Ireland and capturing the authenticity of the story being told.

‘The Quiet Man’ and its iconic line remind us of the timeless themes of love, resilience, and the human spirit. It serves as a reminder that, regardless of language or cultural barriers, we all possess the power to achieve greatness. So, the next time you watch ‘The Quiet Man,’ listen closely as Mary Kate says those three powerful words, “Is féidir linn.”


1. What is the iconic line spoken by Mary Kate in “The Quiet Man”?

The iconic line spoken by Mary Kate in “The Quiet Man” is “Is fearr an tsláinte ná na táinte”, which translates to “Health is better than wealth” in English.

2. Why is this line so memorable?

This line is so memorable because it encapsulates the theme of the movie, highlighting the importance of prioritizing health over material wealth.

3. What is the significance of Mary Kate speaking in Irish?

Mary Kate speaking in Irish adds an authentic and cultural element to the film, showcasing the Irish language and reflecting the rich heritage of Ireland.

4. How does Mary Kate’s line connect with the plot of the movie?

Mary Kate’s line connects with the plot of the movie by emphasizing the value of love, companionship, and happiness over money and possessions, which are crucial elements in the protagonist’s journey.

5. What is the literal translation of Mary Kate’s line?

The literal translation of Mary Kate’s line “Is fearr an tsláinte ná na táinte” is “Health is better than wealth.”

6. Does Mary Kate speak any other lines in Irish in the movie?

No, Mary Kate does not speak any other lines in Irish in the movie. Her iconic line remains the sole instance of her speaking Irish in “The Quiet Man.”

7. How did this line become so iconic and well-known?

This line became iconic and well-known due to the popularity and enduring status of “The Quiet Man” as a beloved classic film, as well as the memorable delivery of the line by actress Maureen O’Hara.

8. Are there any cultural or historical references associated with Mary Kate’s line?

Mary Kate’s line does not have any specific cultural or historical references but resonates with the general Irish cultural value placed on health, well-being, and the importance of relationships.

9. What impact did Mary Kate’s line have on the audience and viewers?

Mary Kate’s line had a profound impact on the audience and viewers, as it conveyed a powerful message about the true and lasting priorities in life, fostering reflection and appreciation for what really matters.

10. Is the Irish language still widely spoken in Ireland today?

While the Irish language, also known as Gaelic, is still an official language of Ireland, it is not widely spoken in everyday life. However, efforts are being made to promote its preservation and usage in various contexts.