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Enigmatic Sam Maguire's life is told in new book

July 29th, 2019 2:03 AM

By Southern Star Team

Enigmatic Sam Maguire's life is told in new book Image
Pictured at the launch in Dunmanway of Margaret Walshe's special limited edition of her book on Sam Maguire were - from left - guest speaker Dr Mervyn O'Driscoll, UCC School of History; Margaret Walsh, author; County Mayor Christopher O'Sullivan, and MC Tommy Collins. (Photo: George Maguire)

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A new book tells the largely unknown story behind the enigmatic Sam Maguire.

A NEW book tells the largely unknown story behind the enigmatic Sam Maguire.

Author Margaret Walsh was inspired to research the man closely associated with Dunmanway as she felt ‘there had to be more than just a name on the cup.’

‘The reason why I wrote the book was because there was nothing much known about Sam Maguire’s life,’ she said. ‘I had to find out why such an important trophy was named after him. If one looks at the names of the committee members who gathered funds for the cup, they were the head Fenians and IRB men, army comrades, head couriers between himself and Michael Collins and prominent people from the GAA. These people were well aware of some of his activities and they wanted his role in the War of Independence made known and acknowledged and to immortalise his name, they could not have picked a better memorial than the Sam Maguire Cup.’

Margaret followed Sam’s childhood and family life in Maulabraca, his education, to finishing his schooling in the famous Master Madden’s school who prepared many for work in the British civil service.

The book covers the Maguire and Kingston origins, his parents, John Maguire and Jane Kingston.

‘I followed his trail to London where he got a job as a sorter in Mount Pleasant Post Office. It was when he was introduced to Liam McCarthy (of the cup) that Sam Maguire’s life really began. He joined the London Hibernians, rising in the ranks to captain and finally president of London GAA in 1907. Liam McCarthy also inducted him into the Irish Republican Brotherhood,’ she explained.

Sam Maguire was then not just a recruiter for the Hibernians, but a shrewd recruiter for the IRB organisation, recruiting a very important figure Michael Collins in 1909 among others, she says. ‘He was Michael Collins’ mentor, with the closest association between them until the death of Michael and during the years after that, when Sam Maguire had returned to Ireland.

‘Sam Maguire’s major work was during the War of Independence; he was head of intelligence in London, breaking codes and getting information either directly or through couriers to Michael Collins. He used his recruits in the post office to gather information. He gathered money and arms to be dispatched back to Ireland. A Cork member of the London Brigade said of him “There would be no Michael Collins without Sam Maguire.”

‘Sam did major work to get the London Volunteers to agree to the Treaty; and the aftermath was a horrendous time for all the Volunteers and the new Saorstat. The book covers the army mutiny, the assassination of Major Henry Wilson; the attempted Junta and finally Sam’s death in Maulabraca from Tuberculosis, but it is said he died of a broken heart.’


• This is a special centenary hardback limited edition that has been revised and reviewed with added research. Dr Mervyn O’Driscoll, head of history, UCC will give his review on the launch night on Friday 19th July at 7.30pm in Atkin’s Hall Main Street Dunmanway.


Bandon Co-Op is delighted to be involved with and supporting many local community groups all over West Cork. This video encapsulates some of the wonderful people that we have the pleasure of dealing with #TogetherStrongerWestCork

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