Maurice George Moore

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Maurice George Moore
Born 10 August 1854
Moore Hall, County Mayo
Died 8 September 1939 (aged 85)
Dublin, Ireland
Occupation Author, politician
Spouse(s) Evelyn Handcock
Parent(s) George Henry Moore and Mary Blake
Relatives George A. Moore (novelist)

Maurice George Moore (10 August 1854 – 8 September 1939) was an Irish author, soldier and politician.

Early life[edit]

Moore was the second of four sons born to George Henry Moore of Moore Hall, County Mayo, and Mary Blake of Ballinafad, County Galway. His elder brother was the writer, George A. Moore. He was born at Moore Hall, Ballyglass, County Mayo and was educated in Mayo and at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst where he trained as an officer. Moore married Evelyn, daughter of John Stradford Handcock of Dunmore, County Galway and they had two sons, Maurice and Ulick.

Military service[edit]

Moore joined the British army in 1874 serving in the Connaught Rangers Regiment and saw action in the Xhosa Wars and the Anglo-Zulu War. During the Second Boer War he was present at the battles of Ladysmith, Colenso, Spion Kop and Vaal Krantz. He was highly regarded and decorated, and received the rank of brevet colonel in 1902.[1]

Nationalist activities[edit]

However, his horror at the creation of concentration camps in South Africa and ill-treatment of Boer civilians by the British military led to him writing anonymous articles which were published in the Freeman's Journal, which brought attention to the matters. He retired from the British Army on 16 July 1906. Moore was a fluent Irish language speaker and had spoken it with fellow members of the Connaught Rangers Regiment. He was a supporter of the Gaelic League.[1]

In 1903 he started evening schools in County Mayo, teaching the language and Irish history, supporting the 1909 introduction of Irish as a compulsory subject for the National University of Ireland. He was heavily involved in rural development and was an early supporter of the Irish co-operative movement.[2]

A member of the provisional committee of the Irish Volunteers in 1913, he was made the organisation's Inspector General, spending much of 1914 organising the troops in Ireland.[3] He was a very reluctant supporter of John Redmond's takeover of the Volunteers and was ultimately the leader of the National Volunteers after the Volunteer split.[4] Moore finally broke with Redmond in 1916 after the Easter Rising. In that year he collected a petition with Agnes O'Farrelly asking for a reprieve of the death sentence against Roger Casement. From 1917 he was a member of Sinn Féin, which led to his Dublin home being raided a number of times by the British army during the Irish War of Independence. In 1920 he was appointed as Irish envoy to South Africa.[5]

His son, Ulick, served with the Sixth Connaught Rangers during World War I and was killed in action at Sainte-Emilie on 22 March 1918.[citation needed]

Political career[edit]

In 1922 he was made a member of the Irish Free State Seanad by W. T. Cosgrave. As a result of the Irish Civil War members of the Anti-Treaty IRA were attacking property belonging to Senators. On 1 February 1923 Moore Hall, his ancestral home, and the property of his brother George, was totally destroyed.[6] Moore and Jennie Wyse Power were the only two Senators to oppose the election of Lord Glenavy as Cathaoirleach as he had been a former prominent Unionist.[7]

He and Wyse Power would both become increasingly vocal in opposition to Cumann na nGaedheal governmental policies. He was a vocal critic of the Boundary Agreement which was made between Ireland and the United Kingdom in 1925 and this persuaded him to join Clann Éireann which had been founded by Professor William Magennis.[8] When the Ultimate Financial Settlement was signed he proposed a motion that it was prejudicial in the interests in the country. He famously said: "We have been burgled and we have bribed the burglar."[9]

In 1928 six Fianna Fáil candidates were elected to the Seanad under the leadership of Joseph Connolly. Moore immediately joined the party.[10] He was nominated as a candidate for Leas-Chathaoirleach (vice-chairman) of the Seanad in 1928 but was defeated by Senator Patrick W. Kenny of Cumann na nGaedheal by twenty-seven votes to twenty-one.[11] He was re-elected as a Fianna Fáil Senator at the 1931 Seanad Election for nine years and served until the abolition of the Seanad. He was again nominated for Leas-Chathaoirleach that year but again defeated. Moore would ultimately vote against the bill to which called for the abolition of the Seanad, though remained a member of the party.[12]

After the passage of Constitution of Ireland in 1937, Moore was nominated by the Taoiseach Éamon de Valera as one of his eleven nominees to the new Seanad. He remained a Senator there until his death in Dublin in 1939, aged 85.[13]


  1. ^ a b "Mayo People". Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  2. ^ "Mayo Ireland". Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  3. ^ Macardle, Dorothy (1965), The Irish Republic. New York, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p.99
  4. ^ Andrews, C.S. (2001), Dublin Made Me. Dublin, The Lilliput Press. p.85
  5. ^ O'Sullivan, Donal (1940), The Irish Free State and Its Senate. London, Faber and Faber. p.105
  6. ^ O'Neill, Marie. (1991), From Parnell To de Valera: A Biography of Jennie Wyse Power 1858–1941. Dublin, Blackwater Press. pp. 146–47
  7. ^ O'Sullivan, p. 183
  8. ^ Macardle, p. 896
  9. ^ O'Sullivan, p. 267
  10. ^ O'Sullivan, p. 268
  11. ^ O'Sullivan, p. 389
  12. ^ "Colonel Maurice George Moore". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 22 May 2010. 


  • The Moores of Moore Hall, Joseph Hone, 1939
  • Dictionary of Irish Biography, pp. 651–52, Cambridge, 2010