Launch of Sam Maguire School Tour 2018-02-28 22:00:00

Press Release.

Many people know the name of Sam Maguire, but few know the story of the man behind the cup. The Sam Maguire School Tour is a partnership between the Church of Ireland in Dunmanway, Co. Cork, where Sam Maguire is buried and five other groups in the area, packaged together to provide a fun and informative day out for primary school tours. (Click HERE to see the Sam Maguire School Tour brochure)

The Sam Maguire School Tour was formally launched in St. Mary’s Church in Dunmanway by Cllr. Declan Hurley, Mayor of the County of Cork and Tracey Kennedy, Cork GAA Chairperson on Tuesday 27th of February. They were accompanied by the pupils from 5th and 6th class of Dunmanway Model School, where Sam himself attended as a child.

Prior to the launch, the children from Sam’s old school went on a trail tour to Top of the Rock, Glenilen Farm, Dunmanway Swimming Pool and St, Mary’s church with the Sam Maguire Community Bells.  Dunmanway Historical Association and Funmanway are also included as options on the tour but were not included in today’s itinerary.

The purpose of this school tour is to tell the story of the life Sam Maguire and the history of his home town, Dunmanway in Co. Cork.  Sam Maguire was a member of the Church of Ireland from Malabracka near Dunmanway and is buried in St. Mary’s Churchyard in Dunmanway town.  After his schooling he took up a position in the post office in London, he became a member of the IRB and provided intelligence and support to Michael Collins in the struggle for Irish freedom.  Sam also played Gaelic Football in London, was captain of his senior football team as well as president of his club, London Hibernians.  He represented the London County Board as congress and was a trustee of Croke Park.

As well as School Tours, the Sam Maguire Community Bells are looking forward to welcoming Coach Tours this summer and are planning to open their doors to tourists every afternoon in July and August, where visitors can hear the story of Sam Maguire and ring the Sam Maguire Community Bells for themselves.

For more information about the Sam Maguire School Tour, contact or ring 023-8856508 from 10.30-3pm Mon-Fri (exc. Wed).  Or see


Rev. Cliff Jeffers:  ‘This summer we are looking forward to welcoming primary schools to come to visit us to learn about Sam Maguire, to hear his story and to play a few tunes on the Sam Maguire Community Bells in St. Mary’s Church in Dunmanway as well as seeing some of the exciting attractions that West Cork has to offer.’

Cllr Declan Hurley, Mayor of the County of Cork. "This is a new and exciting initiative for Dunmanway. Offering a great learning experience for our kids. Taking in the many locations of interest, which tell the story about Sam Maguire growing up in his hometown of Dunmanway."

Cork County Board Chairperson Tracey Kennedy praised the initiative saying "The Sam Maguire School Tour is an ideal opportunity for children to learn more about the life and birthplace of Sam Maguire, while at the same time getting involved in in a number of really fun and educational activities. It's a truly unique experience and I would urge all schools to consider a visit."

Further information (from the brochure):

The Sam Maguire Community Bells were installed in St. Mary’s Church of Ireland, Dunmanway during the summer of 2017. Each of the eight bells has a theme through which we tell the story of the life of Sam Maguire and the famous cup given in his memory. The children will be taken on a guided tour of the bell ringing room, Sam Maguire’s grave and St. Mary’s Church. They will all get an opportunity to ring a tune on the Sam Maguire Community Bells. We have developed a worksheet for seniors and juniors which will help them to make the most of their experience and keep them engaged during their time at the Sam Maguire Visitor Experience. We are partnering with Dunmanway Historical Association through which the children can learn more about Sam Maguire and the history of Dunmanway, his hometown.

The following options are on offer with this tour in addition to visiting Sam’s Grave and the Sam Maguire Community Bells:

Glenilen Farm make yummy yoghurts and cheesecakes on their small dairy farm in Drimoleague since 1997. Come along and learn about how yoghurt is made and watch the dairy in action. Taste some products and learn about how Alan and Val started a little business. The tour lasts about 1 hour

The Top of the Rock is a Glamping farm accommodation centre just one mile from Drimoleague. We have a 48 acre working farm with a walkway around it. Children will interact with the animals and enjoy the playground. The guided walk has lots of information on farm animals, wildlife, conservation and local folklore. There are good bathroom facilities and a spacious dining for the group to bring their own lunch. Dunmanway Swimming Pool:

Funmanway.  Rock, roll and scream down the Yewtree hill here in west Cork inside a giant zorb ball. Choose from either being harnessed inside a 12 foot ball with a friend and riding downhill or sliding downhill with a friend inside our giant hydro balls. Yes you read that right. Located only 1km from the Sam Maguire Homestead. Please check out our website for further terms and conditions and information on our other activities. Established in 2011. Optional extra (€6 per 12” pizza), have a go at making your own homemade pizza and we will cook it for you in our brick oven.

A Short history of Sam Maguire.

Samuel Maguire was born in 1877 in Malabracka, six miles north of Dunmanway town. He was a member of the Church of Ireland and attended Dunmanway Model School after which he went to Master Madden’s National School in Ardfield, Clonakilty who specialised in preparing people for the British civil service exams.  He started working in the Post Office in London where he joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood and became a central figure in this intelligence gathering operation.  Sam played football for London Hibernians, he was their team captain and also served as president of their club. 

Following the signing of the Treaty he returned to Dublin in 1923 to a job as a clerk in the post office. Sam, along with others, became unhappy with the pace of progress in the establishment of the Irish State. The government of the time became suspicious of his activities and he was fired from his job without a pension. At this time he was quite unwell with TB and after staying with friends in Dublin for about two years, he returned to Malabracka for the last six months of his life, where he died in relative poverty.  Sam’s final resting place is in St. Mary’s churchyard in Dunmanway.

To honour his contribution to the GAA and his dedication to his country, Sam’s friends erected a Celtic cross on his grave, and donated a cup to the GAA to be presented in his memory.

In 2017, the Church of Ireland in Dunmanway installed a set of eight bells in the tower of St. Mary’s Church to remember Sam Maguire.  Each of the eight bells has been dedicated to a theme, through which the story of the man behind the cup can be told, as well as the history of his home town.


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