The O’Donoghue or Donoghue Family

O’Donoghue or Donoghue family crest

(Crest No. 101. Plate 40.)

THE O’Donoghues are descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of Heber, third son of that monarch, and belonged to the Eoganacht tribe. The founder of the family was Cormac, King of Munster, A. D. 483. The chief of this tribe was McCarthy More, Prince of Muskerry, King and Prince of Desmond, King of Cashel and Munster.

The sept of the O’Donoghues comprised the families of the O’Donoghues of the Lakes and the O’Donoghues of the Glens, the O’Dinertys, O’Denehys, O’Donaghys, McDeargans and O’Deagans. The ancient name was Deonaightheach, which signifies “Willing,” and the titles of the chiefs of the sept were Prince of Lough Lein and Prince of the Glens. Their possessions were located in the present County of Kerry. The O’Donoghues took their name from Donnchada, A. D. 1030, one of their chieftains.

The O’Donoghues were originally settled in that part of Desmond which is now the County of Cork, where they possessed a large territory, extending from Inniskean to the borders of Bantry, and from thence northward to Ballyvurny and Macroom, comprising the district called Iveleary, which is a portion of Carbery, and also a large part of Muskerry.

In the twelfth century the O’Donoghues were forced from Cork by the MacCarthys and O’Mahonys, when they settled in Kerry, and became proprietors of all the country about Loch Lein and Killarney. They retained their possessions, and continued to be powerful chiefs down to the reign of Elizabeth, when, in consequence of having joined the Earls of Tyrone and Desmond, most of their estates were confiscated.

The O’Donoghues of Glenlesk were called the O’Donoghue More. The O’Donoghues, Lords of Lough Lein, the other great branch, had their chief castle at Ross Island, in one of the Lakes of Killarney, the romantic ruins of which yet remain.

One of the O’Donoghues is mentioned by the Four Masters, at the year A. D. 1038, as “king presumptive” of Cashel. These O’Donoghues also were of the Eugenian race, and the same as the MacCarthys, Kings of Desmond. The ancient Kings of Cashel, or Munster, of the Eugenian race, were inaugurated on the Rock of Cashel; while those of the Dal-cassian race, or the O’Briens, Kings of Thomond, had their place of inauguration at Magh Adair, situated in the townland of Toonagh, parish of Cloney, barony of Upper Tulla, in the County Clare. When the O’Donoghues were originally expelled from their territory in Magh Feimhin, the baronies of Iffa and Offa East, in the Plain of Cashel, Tipperary, and moved further south, they in turn drove out the O’Connells from their lands, which they appropriated to compensate for their own loss.

The O’Donoghues have from an early period occupied a prominent place in Irish history. One of the progenitors of the O’Donoghues, Dombhnall, son of Dubh-dabhoirean, King of Munster, commanded the troops of Desmond, or South Munster, at the famous battle of Clontarf, in 1014. In the Revolution of 1688 we find the names of several O’Donoghues, among the list of officers in King James’ Irish army. They also contributed officers and soldiers to the Irish Brigade in France, while in the civil and military service of Spain the O’Donogliues attained great eminence. At the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution the Viceroy of Mexico was Don Felix O’Donaju (Donoghoe), a descendant of this ancient family.

In the British Colonies and the United States this Irish family has many representatives occupying positions of respectability and distinction. In this relation we need but mention the pioneer Catholic publisher and journalist, Patrick Donahoe of Boston; Joseph J. O’Donoghue. the wealthy New York merchant, and the O’Donoghues of the Pacific coast.