Dictionary of Irish Latin American Biography

McManus, Patrick [Padraig] (1864-1929), republican activist and journalist, was born in Mountcharles, Co. Donegal, the son of Patrick McManus sen. and Mary Molloy. His brother Seamus McManus was the author of the Story of the Irish Race (1938).

Patrick McManus went to school in Glencoagh, and at fourteen was awarded the first class certificate by the Board of Education. McManus emigrated to North America and spent eight years in the United States navy. Patrick McManus then settled in Argentina, where he attended college at Mar del Plata. After two years, he was appointed to teach mathematics and English literature. McManus was hired as tutor to the Leloir nephews of Buenos Aires provincial governor, who after some years made him administrator of an estancia in Pergamino.

Patrick McManus travelled several times to Ireland. In 1897 he also visited France, and wrote articles for "L'Irlande libre": Toujours le menes (sic) (October 1898), A quoi tient la superiorité Anglo-Saxone (New Year 1898). He also directed the 100th anniversary of United Irishmen in Mountcharles. Seven years after the founding of the Gaelic League in Dublin, the first branch was established in Buenos Aires by Patrick McManus, John Curry, and others. In 1907 Patrick McManus married to Elsa, née O'Rourke, a sister of William Bulfin's wife Ann. They had three sons, Niall, Conor and Cormac.

On 17 March 1912 McManus launched Fianna, which was "vehemently anti-British, referring to the 'Empire of the Devil' and issuing warnings of British plans to seize the south of Patagonia. The paper never missed an opportunity to attack Britain's occupation of the Falkland (Malvinas) Islands. [...] The paper was illustrated with pictures of Ireland such as 'British authority destroying an Irish peasant's home with battering ram' (5 January 1912)" (Marshall 1996: 9). Fianna "brought years of grumblings and discontent of the people" (Murray 1919: 421), a discontent mainly about the money collected among Irish Argentines and used to build a church for Italian priests, and the sale of the property of the Catholic Orphanage. Patrick McManus signed his articles with various pen names, among them "Padraig MacManus", "Cormac Mac Art", "Conor Mac Neasa", etc. He wrote poems like Hugh of Donegal, Evening at Sea, and In Fair Donegal. The magazine Fianna became well-known in Gaelic circles. Patrick Pearse's An Claideamh Solus said that Fianna would put others to shame for its content and its 120 pages printed on glossy paper.

Previously to the launching of this paper, the Irish community in Argentina split into two factions, one of them being led by Patrick McManus, Fr. Edmund Flannery and Carlos Brady. They seemed "to have been composed of the Irish Republican League and the Irish Catholic Association. [...] Dublin, it seemed, was of little importance to the factions amongst the Buenos Aires Irish" (Kennedy 2000: 59). In 1922 Fr. Edmund Flannery and Carlos Brady addressed a letter to Michael Collins and George Gavan Duffy in Dublin. They represented McManus group, and they wrote on Irish Republican League notepaper. The letter "was little more than a thinly disguised attempt by the McManus faction to gain the upper hand in Irish Argentinean domestic politics by appealing to the Dublin government. McManus was credited with maintaining Irish principles in Argentina and resisting the Anglicisation of the Irish colony" (Ginnell to Gavan Duffy 3 April 1922).

McManus travelled to Europe, most likely to Ireland, in 1912, 1914 and 1927. In that first trip he bought Rossylongan, two miles west of Donegal Town, and later Wood Lodge in Salthill, near Mountcharles. The McManus brothers were noted for their generosity to many people in the area and the church at home and in Argentina. In 1928 Patrick McManus' three sons were at college in Paris and their parents came there to spend the Christmas holidays with them. An influenza epidemic was raging at the time, and Patrick McManus and his wife Elsa died within a week, in January 1929.

Edmundo Murray


- Kennedy, Michael, 'Mr Blythe, I Think, Hears from him Occasionally': The Experiences of Irish Diplomats in Latin America, 1919-23, in: Kennedy, Michael and J. M. Skelly, "Irish Foreign Policy 1919-1966: From Independence to Internationalism" (Dublin: Four Courts, 2000), pp. 44-60.

- Marshall, Oliver, The English-Language Press in Latin America, Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London, 1996).

- Meehan, Helen, The McManus Brothers: Patrick (1864-1929), Seamus (1868-1960) in "The Donegal Annual" Journal of the Donegal Historical Society, N° 46 (1994).

- Murray, Thomas, The Story of the Irish in Argentina (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1919). 

Copyright © Society for Irish Latin American Studies

Online published: 1 June 2004
Edited: 07 May 2009

Murray, Edmundo, 'McManus, Patrick
(1864-1929)' in "Irish Migration Studies in Latin America" November-December 2005 (


The Society for Irish Latin American Studies, 2005

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