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MacGuire




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Surname:  MacGuire
Branch:  MacGuire
Origins:  Irish
More Info:  Ireland

Background:  The leading sept of Fermanagh. Many members of this sept have been distinguished in the history of Ireland.




Motto:  Pro Deo et patriā, For God and our country.
Arms:  (Maguire) vert, a white horse fully caparisoned thereon a knight in complete armour on his helmet a plume of ostrich feathers his right hand brandishing a sword all proper.


View the Heraldry Dictionary for help.




These are spelling variants of the Irish Maguidhir. Uidhir is the genitive case of odhar meaning dun-coloured; mag is a form of mac used before vowels. This in one of those names definitely associated with one county. The Maguires belong to Co. Fermanagh. The name first appears in the Annals in the year 956, but the pre-dominance of the sept in Co. Fermanagh dates only from the fourteenth century; for the next three centuries their chief was one of the most important in Ulster. They were not entirely dispossessed by the Plantation of Ulster, but they suffered very severely by the Cromwellian and Williamite confiscations. Maguire, Baron of Enniskillen, had a regiment of infantry in James II's army in Ireland. After the final defeat the Maguires are found prominently among the Wild Geese in the service of France and Austria. Later Barons of Enniskillen were accepted as nobility at the Court of France until the title became extinct about 1795. Of the many prominent soldiers of the name in Ireland the most noteworthy was Hugh Maguire who commanded the cavalry at the battle of the Yellow Ford in 1598; There have been many other distinguished Maguires in Irish history, including the famous Bishop of Leighlin, Nicholas Maguire (1460-1512), and two fifteenth century bishops of Clogher, Cathal MacManus Maguire (1439-1498), historian, Conor Maguire (1616-1645), executed for his part in the 1641 Rising, the controversialist Father Tom Maguire (1792-1847), and Thomas Maguire (1831-1889), the first Catholic to be elected to a fellowship at Trinity College, Dublin. At the present day the great majority of those who use the spelling Maguire hail from Co. Fermanagh; the MacGuires are mostly Connacht men (Mayo and Roscommon). This usage is in common with other cases where the Mac has become absorbed (eg MacGee - Magee) the distinct prefix being retained in the western counties. Counting the two forms together the name occupies thirty-ninth place int he list of most numerous surnames in Ireland: it holds first place in Co. Fermanagh and is high in the adjoining county of Cavan. A hundred years ago O'Donovan found the direct descendants of the great Hugh Maguire, mentioned above, working as sailors in cross-channel coal ships.

Another Account:

MAGUIRE (Maguidhir) were Fermanagh's premier family during the Middle Ages, and are still the most common family today in that county. Genealogists give the Maguires an Oriel origin. They could have descended from one of the old Leinster Fermanagh families. It was in Lisnaskea tht Donn Mor Maguire seems to have established them, abut 1200 AD. The book also states that it was probably with help from the O'Donnells that the Maguires took the kingship of Fermanagh. Donn Carrach Maguire, who was the first Maguire king, died in 1302. They gradually came to control practically every aspect of Fermanagh life. At the beginning of the seventeenth century when the Irish were finally defeated, Fermanagh was simply a Maguire property.

There were 15 Maguire rulers of Fermanagh between 1300 and 1600. The most outstanding were Donn Carrach (d.1302), Philip of the Battle Axe (1363-95), Thomas the Great (1395-1430), Thomas the Younger (1430-71), Cuchonnacht II (1566-89) and his son Hugh (1589-1600). The Maguires divided after Thomas the Great, into a senior branch in Lisnaskea and a junior branch in Enniskillen. During the Nine Yaars' War (1594-1603) the junior line controlled the area - and they suffered most in the Ulster Plantation.

Brian Maguire of Tempo (junior branch) received property at Tempo during the time of the Plantation. He became anglicised and was "loyal" until he died in 1655. It was Cuchonnacht, grandson of Brian Maguire who led the Fermanagh Irish against William of Orange; he was killed in 1691 in Aughrim. The family retained the estate until after 1830, when Constantine Maguire moved to Tipperary.

The senior branch of the Maguires became very discontented, despite having fared well during the Plantation. In 1641 they led Fermanagh in the Rising. In 1644 Lord Conor was hanged at Tyburn, and in 1648 Rory was killed near Carrick- on-Shannon. The remaining family went to live in France and became prominent in the French army. The last of that line died in 1801 in Toulouse.

During the Penal Days other Maguires who retained prominence were the family of Brian Maguire of Knockninny and the Maguires of Gortoral.

Name Variations:  MacGuire, Maguire, Maguidhir, Guire, Guirey, Guiry.

References:
One or more of the following publications has been referenced for this article.
The General Armory; Sir Bernard Burke - 1842.
A Handbook of Mottoes; C.N. Elvin - 1860.
Irish Families, Their Names, Arms & Origins; Edward MacLysaght - 1957.
The Surnames of Ireland; Edward MacLynsaght - 1957.

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