The Irish Prime Minister, or An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, has paid a visit to St Mary’s Church in Dunmanway to see the final resting place of the famous Gaelic footballer Sam Maguire. While there, the politician launched a promotional video spearheaded by the parish. Maguire, who died in 1927, is arguably the most famous name in Gaelic football: each year, the winners of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship are presented with the Sam Maguire Cup.
The west Cork town of Dunmanway has a population of 2,377, according to its tourism website; but it welcomes thousands of visitors each year who come to see where Maguire was born and is buried. In addition to being his final resting place, St Mary’s Church also houses the Sam Maguire Visitor Experience and a newly-installed peel of Sam Maguire Bells. During his visit the Taoiseach took the opportunity to join in the ringing of them.
St Mary’s Parish is part of the Fanlobbus Union. Its Rector, Cliff Jeffers, said: “So many people know the name Sam Maguire, but we want people to experience the fascinating story of the man behind the cup by visiting the many attractions in his hometown of Dunmanway.”
The launch of the video follows a number of other initiatives to assist tourists to the town, including the publication of the “Discover Dunmanway” brochure, a tourism website, and a the installation of a Visitor Information Point. The video was produced by local filmmaker Brendan Hayes to showcase the many tourism attractions available to visitors to the town.
“I was genuinely blown away by this video promoting my home town,” Ireland rugby player Darren Sweetnam, a past pupil of Bandon Grammar School, who features in the video said. “It showcases Dunmanway’s many treasures and puts Dunmanway well and truly on the map for tourism in West Cork.”
The Sam Maguire Visitor Experience at St Mary’s Church in Dunmanway is open every day during the summer from midday to 4 pm.