A women’s group has created an imposing replica of the most prized possession in Gaelic games, the Sam Maguire Cup.
And it’s in Maguire’s hometown of Dunmanway in West Cork where a Knit and Natter Group has reproduced the famed cup, modelled on the Ardagh chalice.
“It was a case of knit, rip, knit and so on,” said Aíne O’Brien, a library assistant with Cork County Council, explaining that a thin yarn and very fine needles were used to create the cup rather than the traditional white lustrous metal.
The cup was put together using a flowerpot, funnel and pineapple can, covered in paper mache and spray-painted. And after many attempts and lots of ripping, the cup took shape and a masterpiece was created.
Working in a group of 12 and 16 at a time, out of Dunmanway public library, the women also used a mixture of knitting, crochet and embroidery to create the detail on the cup.
Aíne, a facilitator who established the group over five years ago, said: “Obviously, there was no pattern used and it was a case of hit and miss”.
In March last, Aíne along with Eileen Hurley and Mandy Ferguson travelled to the GAA Museum in Croke Park to take measurements and photos of the treasured cup — which was first presented 90 years ago.
The completed work will remain on public display in the window of the local library throughout July and August and is surrounded by county flags and bunting, also knitted by group members Chrissie Hayden, Pam Butler, Julie Beswick-Valentine and Margaret O’Donovan.
The GAA is, reportedly, also anxious to have the cup installed in their museum while the local St Mary’s Church of Ireland — which has installed eight community bells in the church in honour of Sam Maguire — is also seeking to display it in the new “bell room”.
The Knit and Natter Group also produced a replica of the GPO in Dublin for 2016 commemorations and among its charity projects are providing knitwear for premature babies in CUMH and chemo-caps for babies being treated in the Mercy Hospital in Cork.
Meanwhile, Cork County Council has recently funded a number of initiatives aimed at increasing tourism in the market town which include a Discover Dunmanway brochure, a website visitdunmanway.ie and a Tourism Information Point.