Oillscoilan t-Sleigh, The Academy of Master Madden late 19th century, Ardfield, Clonakilty to Prepare Boys for the British Civil Service Exams. Pupils included Michael Collins and Sam Maguire.

Up to the mid 1960s the opportunities for second level education even for families with a degree of comfort was limited.  In the 19th century as an alternative to home farming or going to America the prospect of the Imperial Civil Service was attractive.

One of Master Madden’s great grand sons taught at second level in Dunmanway in the 1960s.

Apart from Sam Maguire and Michael Collins another pupil was Séan Hurley from Durrus.  He went to work in the Chinese Customs in Shanghai and assisted Chinese Revolutionaries. The first Irishman to be given an honorary Chinese passport.




Courtesy Sharon Hosford, History of Dunmanway Model School, (1849-1999)




Sam Maguire

Among the most noteworthy past pupils of The Model School, Dunmanway is Sam Maguire. Born to John and Jane Maguire in the townland of Maulabracka, Sam came from farming people. They were large tenant farmers on the Shouldham Estate. Sam was one of a family of seven children. ( Mary, Elizabeth, Paul, John, Richard, Willie and Sam).They had the reputation of being kind, generous and hard working people.

Sam attended both Junior and Senior departments in the Model School where he learned such subjects as algebra, mensuration, geometry, agriculture, line-drawing and music. Sam was an excellent student and it was decided that he’d make a good candidate for the British Civil Service. After finishing at the Model he was sent to the renowned Oillscoil an tSleibh at Ardfield to study under Master Madden for the entrance exams.

He graduated into the civil service in London, and far from home, began to feelt he importance of his identity as an Irish man. The Land War (1879-1881) was of major concern to the family, being tenant farmers themselves. The founding of the Gaelic League (1887) and the development of the G.A.A. (1884 onwards) was enthusiastically supported by Sam. He began playing Gaelic football in London and from 1900 onwards his name appeared on many team records. Although Sam played in several finals, he never won an All-Ireland medal. He did however become very involved in the legislative and organisational affairs of the G.A.A., particularly in London.

Later Sam came in prominence in the I.R.B. and has said to have introduced Michael Collins into the movement. His activities within that movement are a matter of much speculation. He certainly had great organisational talent and leadership skills to bring to whatever operations to which his convictions as a Nationalist guided him.

He was the man of principles. After the treaty Sam returned to Dublin and joined the Irish Civil Service. However he frequently clashed with his superiors and was eventually dismissed from the public service. He returned home to Maulabracka in 1924, discouraged, disillusioned and in poor health. He died there and is buried in St. Mary’s Church  of Ireland Cemetery in Dunmanway.

The people of Dunmanway wanted to perpetuate the memory of this remarkable man. In May 1949 a Celtic cross was erected at his grave and in April 1974 the “Sam Maguire Memorial Park” was opened in Dunmanway.

The Sam Maguire Cup was commissioned by comrades and friends and wrought to the design of the Ardagh Chalice. It is awarded each year to the winners of the All-Ireland Gaelic Football Championship and seems a fitting way to remember a man who did much to spread G.A.A. in England and for whom our heritage was so important.

It might be noted that a recent Grand Master of the Orange Order in Ireland Robert Saulter,  grandfather Salter, is buried next to Sam Maguire at St. Mary’s, Dunmanway.