Sam Maguire bells ring out a message of reconciliation
A set of church bells dedicated to iconic GAA figure Sam Maguire rang out a message of hope and reconciliation across West Cork last week.
The Sam Maguire Community bells project in Dunmanway, the brainchild of the local Church of Ireland rector, Reverend Cliff Jeffers, brought the local community together in a bid to set the tone for the coming centenaries in Ireland of the War of Independence and the Civil War.
Sam Maguire, a member of the local Church of Ireland parish in Dunmanway, gives his name to the All Ireland football trophy.
The bells — six restored and two new ones engraved with Sam Maguire’s name and dates (1877 to 1927) — rung out for the first time the weekend before last with the Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, the Right Reverend Dr Paul Colton, in attendance alongside the Bishop of Cork and Ross, the Most Reverend Dr John Buckley, the Reverend Greg Alexander of the Methodist Church in Ireland, as well as Archdeacon Adrian Wilkinson, the Very Reverend Ted Collins, PP, and local lay reader, Sam Jennings.
President of the GAA Aogán O’Fearghail delivered an oration at the graveside of Sam Maguire in which he hailed the project as “an opportune time to begin a process of healing, reconciliation and forgiveness”.
In a special sermon, Bishop Colton called for a sensitive and honest approach to the centenary commemorations of the War of Independence and Civil War.
“This project has set a tone that others, locally, regionally and nationally might do well to note and to emulate as we prepare: a note of reconciliation; a note of cooperation and partnership; a note of dialogue; and a note of opportunity of community building for the future,” he said.
St Mary’s Church, Dunmanway held a multi-denominational thanksgiving service recently for the new set of bells (in honour of Sam Maguire) which were installed in its bell tower. Pictured in the bell ringers room before the service were: Ger Lane, Chairman GAA Cork County Board; Tracy Kennedy, Vice Chair GAA Cork County Board; Aogán O’Fearghail, GAA President; Rev Cliff Jeffers; Canon Ted Collins; Paul Colton, Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork; Cllr Declan Hurley, Cork County Mayor and John Buckley, Bishop of Cork, Cloyne & Ross.