A well known Fermanagh musician, with a passion for the steel guitar, Mr. Andrew Maguire, late of Forthill Park, Irvinestown, has died.

Best known as Andy, and affectionately known as “Big Andy,” he passed away peacefully, after a short illness, at South West Acute Hospital, Enniskillen, on Easter Monday, March 28, 2016, aged 80 years.

Originally from Sydare, between Ballinamallard and Irvinestown, he was a son of the late Bernard and Ellen Maguire.
Andy was educated at Whitehill Elementary School, followed by St. Michael’s Elementary School, and left school at the age of 14.

He worked for Michael Donnelly and sons, where he served his time and qualified as a carpenter at the age of 20.

He later worked for Joe and Ignatius (J and I) Conway, Irvinestown, where he spent a good part of his life. Building projects included the Technical College and the Erne Hospital, Enniskillen, St. Mary’s, Irvinestown, and the Everglades Hotel in Londonderry.

After working with J and I Conway, Andy worked for a time as a carpenter in London, where he was joined by three of his sons, Paul, Mark and Michael. (Paul and Michael are now in Australia and Mark is back in Irvinestown).

Prior to retirement, Andy worked for the late Gordon Wilson at G.E. Wilson’s in Enniskillen in their curtains and household department, where he remained for five or six years - putting up curtain rails, blinds and doing general maintenance work around the shop.

Throughout his life, playing music was a major interest for Andy, who enjoyed his involvement in a number of showbands.
He played trombone and also the steel guitar, which was his favourite musical instrument. He got to meet and became friends with some of the top names in the world of steel guitar playing. Among them were his heroes, Buddy Emmons and Doug Jernigan, whom he formed friendships with. 

His interest in playing music took him all over Ireland and England on tours, and in his heyday, he played with some of the famous showbands such as The Golden Stars, The Comets, The Carnegie showband, the Dawn Breakers, and Morning Glory. Andy’s beloved Zum steel guitar was his pride and joy.

Following a stroke, he could no longer perform, but he enjoyed travelling to Steel Guitar Music Festivals with his good friends Billy Stokes and Dan McAteer.

Some years ago, he went on holiday with his son Michael to the United States and stopped off at St. Louis, the home of steel guitars. He also visited Graceland during the trip, which he greatly enjoyed.

Andy had also been very fond of motorbikes in his younger days and he attended a lot of races including the local Enniskillen 100 event. He had a Norton motorbike at the time. 

Andy married the late Margaret Gormley from Irvinestown (who passed away in 1996) and the couple made their home at 34 Forthill Park, Irvinestown, where Andy continued to live throughout his life. They had a family of six children: Pauline, John, Michael, Mark, Paul, and Andrea. Home and family were major focuses for Andy, who was followed into the world of music by two of his sons Michael and Mark, while all of his children enjoyed music.

Andy’s love of music stemmed from his Uncle Joe Maguire, who emigrated to the USA; he was an acclaimed singer and songwriter and wrote “Lovely Lough Erne.”  

A special event for Andy was his 80th birthday celebration in November past in Mahon’s Hotel, Irvinestown, where there had been a big musical input. His entire family, including his six children joined him at the party, which he greatly enjoyed. A lot of friends from Andy’s music days were there, as well as old friends from his J and I Conway days.  

Andy’s requiem mass was held at the Sacred Heart Church, Irvinestown, led by the main celebrant, the Rev. Fr. Joe McGourty. Family took part in the service, where music also featured prominently. Gerry Quinn and Gerry McNulty did the vocals; Aideen McGirr was the organist, and Dan McAteer played the steel guitar, performing a few songs that Andy requested.

Burial was at the Sacred Heart Churchyard, and the funeral tea was held at the Bawnacre Centre, Irvinestown. The Month’s Mind Mass will be held at the Sacred Heart Church, Irvinestown, on Saturday, May 7, at 7pm.

Andy is survived by his sons and daughters and respective partners, and by his 10 grandchildren. He leaves two surviving sisters, Mona McCullagh, USA, and Vera Morrissey, Belfast; his nieces, nephews, the wider family circle and his many friends. He was predeceased by his wife Margaret, his two brothers Brian, USA, and John, Sydare, and by his two sisters Sheila, USA, and Josie, Glasgow.  

The funeral arrangements were by Funeral Director, Claude McKervey, Ederney.