My Own Town · The Southern Star

Sam Maguire the poster boy for Dunmanway

sam_maguireStrong in your deathless faith,

Oh heart of gold

Your kindly, generous smile

Gave strength to all

Who grasped your hand

In that great brotherhood:

Waiting throughout the years for Eire’s call.

Peadar Kearney, the author of our National anthem, wrote that for a fellow Irishman he met in London.

Sam Maguire is the poster boy for Dunmanway in many ways, Irish republican, gaelic footballer, legend.

He is chiefly remembered as the namesake of the Sam Maguire Cup which is given to the All-Ireland Gaelic football Senior Champions.

He was born in 1879 in Mallabraca, Dunmanway and worked with the British Civil Service in London where he joined and captained the London Hibernians Gaelic football team.

In 1907 he went into the administration of the London GAA, later becoming a trustee of Croke Park.

Sam is responsible for recruiting the nationalist leader Michael Collins to the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) in 1909.

He was Collin’s chief intelligence officer in London his main function being to intercept Official State Documents in relation to Ireland.

He was also involved in arms smuggling including post office rifles from his very own office.

He became a suspect in Scotland Yard’s investigation into the assignation of Sir Henry Wilson resulting in his move back to Dublin in 1923.

He then got a job in the Irish Civil Service but his political leanings and sympathies to the Anti-Treaty forces eventually led to his dismissal.

According to ‘Sam Maguire: The Enigmatic Man Behind Ireland’s Most Prestigious Trophy’ by Margaret Walsh he returned to West Cork in 1925, developed TB and died in poverty aged 48.

He now lies in St Mary’s cemetery in Dunmanway. The headstone of this remarkable man reads simply,

‘Erected to the memory of Samuel Maguire, Mallabraca who died 6th February 1927 by the people of Dunmanway and his numerous friends throughout Ireland and England in recognition of his love for his country.’

In 2002, a statue of Sam Maguire was unveiled as the centerpiece of the town square and he is honoured by a yearly festival held in his homestead in September.

He is probably the most well known person to come from Dunmanway (so far as I believe there is enough talent in our town to put us securely on the map) and the great things he did along with his humble beginnings should be remembered.

Remember to get in touch with me no matter where you are with your opinions and memories of Dunmanway at I love hearing from you all.

Keep in Touch!

(Text originally published 26 February 2013 in the online version of the Southern Star


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