Maguire, Conor Alexander (1889–1971), lawyer, revolutionary, and politician, was born 16 December 1889 in Claremorris, Co. Mayo, twin son among four sons of Conor Joseph O'Loughlin Maguire (qv), medical doctor, and Florence Maguire (née O'Neill), writer of prayer books and other religious books for the Catholic Truth Society. His father, a leading figure in the Gaelic League in Connacht and a close associate of Patrick Pearse (qv) and Douglas Hyde (qv), translated English literature and poetry into Irish. Educated at Clongowes Wood College (1902–7), and UCD (MA, LLB), Conor was very active in student life as a member of the Literary and Historical Society and a contributor to the student journal National Student. Qualifying as a solicitor in 1914, he began practising in Claremorris and Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo.
A republican, he was imprisoned in Sligo for six months in 1919 for publicising the dáil loan. Involved in drafting the rules for the dáil courts in 1920, he was appointed a land settlement commissioner, having turned down a post as a circuit court judge. He occasionally sat on appeals from civil courts and on the supreme court, and played an important role, along with Cahir Davitt (qv), Diarmuid Crowley (qv), and Kevin O'Shiel (qv), in the courts' success in dealing with land disputes, usurping the functions of crown courts, and establishing the authority of Dáil Éireann. The land courts, to which he had asked to be assigned, later became the Land Settlement Commission under the direction of the Department of Agriculture. Elected chairman of Mayo county council in June 1920, and nominated as Sinn Féin candidate in Mayo South–Roscommon South for the June 1921 elections to the parliament of Southern Ireland/second dáil, he withdrew in favour of the Mayo IRA leader, Tom Maguire (qv) (no relation). His overt anti-treaty sympathies led to his dismissal from the land courts in July 1922.
Called to the bar in 1922 and taking silk in 1932, he worked the western circuit, serving as an arbitrator dealing with staff compensation under the railway acts (1923–32) and acting as counsel on a range of land disputes. Defeated as Fianna Fáil candidate for the NUI constituency in the September 1927 general election and for Dublin county in the December 1930 by-election, he was elected to Dáil Éireann as TD for the NUI in the 1932 and 1933 general elections. His republican sympathies worked to his advantage after the election of a Fianna Fáil government in 1932, and he was appointed to the state's most important legal and judicial posts: attorney general (1932–6), high court judge (November 1936–April 1946), high court president (December 1936–April 1946), and supreme court president/chief justice (April 1946–1961), after which he served on the European Commission of Human Rights (1962–5) and the European Court of Human Rights (1965–71).
Chairman of the Irish Red Cross 1939–46, he was involved in the establishment of the Red Cross hospital at Saint-Lô and the settlement of German children in Ireland after the second world war; he was given the French award of commander of the Légion d'honneur and the Spanish Grand Cross of San Raimundo de Pontefract, and was honoured by Germany for services to the Red Cross. Inheriting an interest in the Irish language from his father, he supported efforts to revive the language and was president of the International Celtic Congress (1957–61) and of the Conradh na Gaeilge Oireachtas (1962). Also an art enthusiast, he was a governor and guardian of the NGI and vice-president of the Friends of the National Collections. He was also a member of the tenth censorship of publications board (2 April 1962–16 December 1963) and of the Arts Council of Ireland (1961–71). His other interests included reading, sport (especially cricket, rugby, and billiards), fishing, and shooting. Conor Maguire died 26 September 1971 in Dublin, leaving an estate valued at £9,560.
He married (2 February 1921) Nora, daughter of Michael Whelan, farmer and landowner from Drimagh, Co. Wexford. They had three sons and lived in Dublin at St Alban's, Albany Avenue, Monkstown. His twin brother, George Maguire, medical doctor, was also involved in revolutionary politics and later served as president of the Irish Medical Organisation. A portrait of Conor Maguire by Eleanor Harbison is in the Four Courts, Dublin, and another by David Hone is in the King's Inns.