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Mag Uidhir
Maguire arms
Parent houseClan Conla
CountryKingdom of Fermanagh
Founded10th century
FounderOdhar mac Cearnaigh
Final rulerCú Chonnacht Óg mac Con Connacht Óig Mag Uidhir
Cadet branchesMcManus

Maguire (/məˈɡwaɪər/ mə-GWIRE, also spelled Mac Guire or McGuire) is an Irish surname from the Irish language Mag Uidhir,[1] which is "son of Odhar" or "son of the dun or dark coloured one". According to legend, the eleventh in descent from Colla da Chrich,[2] great-grandson of Cormac mac Airt, monarch of Ireland about the middle of the third century.[3][4] From the 13th to the 17th centuries, the Maguires were kings of Fermanagh.

As a given name, Maguire is uncommon.

Naming conventions[edit]

The surname has been Anglicised variously as Maguire, McGuire and McGwire.

Male Daughter Wife (Long) Wife (Short)
Mag Uidhir[5] Nig Uidhir Bean Mhig Uidhir Mhig Uidhir


The Maguire sept is primarily associated with modern-day County Fermanagh. They possessed the entire county, also known as Maguire's Country, from about 1250 C.E. and maintained their independence as Lords of Fermanagh down to the reign of King James VI & I, when their country was confiscated like other parts of Ulster. The Maguires supplied Chiefs or Princes to Fermanagh, from about A.D. 1264, when they supplanted the former Chieftains (Ó Daimhín, or Devin/Devine). They were inaugurated as Princes of Fermanagh on the summit of Cuilcagh, a magnificent mountain near Swanlinbar, on the borders of Cavan and Fermanagh; and sometimes also at a place called Sciath Gabhra or Lisnasciath, now Lisnaskea. The family was first mentioned in the Annals as early as 956 AD and have always been closely associated with the other leading septs of Ulster such as the O'Neill and the O'Donnell. They spawned several well-known branches which became septs in their own right, including Mac Manus, Mac Caffrey, Mac Hugh, and several others. The name is among the forty most common names in Ireland, among the top twenty-five in Ulster, ten in Co. Cavan, thirty in Co. Monaghan and is the single most common name in Co. Fermanagh. Maguiresbridge in Co. Fermanagh (Irish: Droichead Mhig Uidhir) takes its name from the family.

In the Nine Years' War (1594–1603), Hugh Maguire, the Lord of Fermanagh, took the rebels' side, while his subordinate kinsman Connor Roe Maguire of Magherastephana sought to displace him and was nicknamed "the Queen's Maguire" for his support of Queen Elizabeth's forces.[6] Connor was granted the whole of Maguire's Country (Fermanagh) by letters patent in 1601, but this was disregarded by the Plantation of Ulster in 1609, which granted him only twelve thousand acres of the barony of Magherastephana.[7] Connor's son Bryan was made Baron Maguire of Enniskillen in 1627; Bryan's son Connor, 2nd Baron supported the Confederate Ireland rebellion of the 1640s and was executed and attainted in 1645. During translation in the Ulster Plantation, various English translations of the original Mag Uidhir appeared, including Mc Guire, Maguire, Mac Guire and McGuire. In South West Donegal, the name is re-translated into Gaelic as Mac Guibhir. An unusual version is Meguiar, an American spelling best known from "Meguiar's Wax."[8]

Enniskillen Castle was the medieval seat of the McGuire (Maguidhir), chieftains of Fermanagh, who policed the lough with a private navy of 1,500 boats.[citation needed] Nearby is Maguiresbridge. At the castle, the King got wind of a large army that had been sent to attack. Fearing the loss of all his clan, he sent half of his people to the northwest of Scotland, who adopted the surname of MacQuarrie.[9]

The Maguire clan motto is "Justia et Fortitudo Invincibilia Sunt", which is Latin for "Justice and Fortitude Are Invincible".[10]




Fictional people


  • Two American sportspeople, fellow-siblings:

Kings of Fermanagh[edit]

Name Ascension Death Notes (date abdicated or deposed)
Donn Óc
Flaithbertach mac Duinn
Ruaidhri mac Flaithbheartaigh
Aodh Ruadh mac Flaithbheartaigh
Pilib mac Aodh Ruaidh
16 March 1395
Tomas Mór mac Pilib
13 November 1430
Thomas Óg mac Thomáis
Abdicated 1471.
Éamonn mac Thomáis Óig
Abdicated 6 November 1486.
Thomáis Óg mac Thomáis Óig
Deposed 1486.
Seánn mac Pilib meic Thomáis Mhóir
Conchobhar Mór mac Thomáis Óig
Cú Connacht Óg mac Con Connacht
Giolla Pádraig Bán mac Conchobhair Mhóir
Seaán mac Con Connacht Óig
Cú Connacht Óg mac Con Connacht Óig
17 June 1589
Hugh Maguire
Cú Chonnacht Óg mac Con Connacht Óig
Fled 1607.
Conchobhar Ruadh mac Conchobhair Óig meic Conchobhair Mhóir

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Keating, Geoffrey (1857). The History of Ireland from the Earliest Period to the English Invasion. P. M. Haverty. p. 727. Mac Uidhir.
  2. ^ Ossianic Society Council. (1857.) Transactions of the Ossianic Society, Vol. 3: Printed Under the Direction of the Council. Ossianic Society Council, Dublin.
  3. ^ The Maguires of Fermanagh
  4. ^ O'Cleary M. (2003.) The Annals of Ireland by the Four Masters: Translated into English by Owen Connellan, Irish Books & Media. ISBN 0940134772
  5. ^ "Mag Uidhir". Sloinne. 5 December 2015.
  6. ^ Lenman, Bruce (15 July 2014). England's Colonial Wars 1550–1688: Conflicts, Empire and National Identity. Routledge. pp. 111–2. ISBN 9781317898825. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  7. ^ Harris, F. W. (1980). "The Commission of 1609: Legal Aspects". Studia Hibernica. St. Patrick's College, Drumcondra (20): 31–55. JSTOR 20496159.
  8. ^ "International Websites | Meguiar's".
  9. ^ Sources: 1) The Fermanagh Story by Peadar Livingstone, published 1969, Cumann Seanchais Chlochair; 2) Irish Families, Their Names, Arms, and Origins by Edward MacLysaght; 3) Historic Maguire Chalices by The Maguire of Fermanagh, published 1996 by Fermanagh District Council; 4) Irish Book of Arms plates; 5) Irish Chiefs and Leaders by Rev. Paul Walsh, published 1960, Dublin
  10. ^ "McGuire Maguire Genealogy Page".


External links[edit]