Roots: The Marvelous McDonaghs

Martin McDonagh and John Michael McDonagh. Photo by James Higgins.

By Maeve Molloy
April / May 2012

McDonagh is one of the rarer surnames of Ireland, but exists also as MacDonagh, MacDonough, Donogh, and Donagh. The modern forms of the name are derived from Mac Donnchadha, which originates from the first name Donnchadh, a compound of  “donn” meaning brown, plus “cath,” a battle. Often translated as “brown one,” Donnchadh was a common first name in ancient times. Given its popularity, the surname derived from it rose quickly through many regions of Ireland. These many sects of McDonaghs grew separately throughout the country, and thus there is not always a common thread between McDonagh clans.

The McDonaghs of old were found mainly in counties Cork and Galway. In Cork, the McDonaghs were a branch of the MacCarthy clan. They were known as the “Lords of Duhallow” and built Kanturk Castle. Construction began on this semi-fortified castle in about 1610, but was halted when the English government became jealous of the size and apparent strength of the structure. Never finished, the shell of the castle is known as “McDonagh’s Folly.”

A McDonagh family also rose to prominence in Connacht. These McDonaghs, a branch of the MacDermotts, claim Donagh MacDermott as an ancestor and ruled in the barony of Tirreril in ancient times. Their power was spread throughout Counties Sligo and Roscommon. McDonagh or MacDonagh is, in most cases, a Connacht name and is today concentrated in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon.

A martyr for Irish independence, Thomas MacDonagh (1878-1916) was a gifted poet and a lecturer at University College Dublin. He is most remembered for his part in the 1916 uprising, during which he became a signatory of the Proclamation of Independence, and for which he was executed. A distinguished poet, he was highly regarded in Dublin’s literary community and was remembered after his death in the writings of his contemporaries, including W.B. Yeats.

MacDonagh’s son, Donagh MacDonagh (1912-68), was also a poet and dramatist, with three volumes of poetry and the classic play Happy as Larry.

Continuing the McDonagh tradition in the arts is Maitland McDonagh, a noted film critic and author of several books on cinema. Born into an Irish-American family, McDonagh was raised in New York City. Her emigrant grandparents were the proprietors of the Moylan Tavern, which was reincarnated as the Moylan Tavern of Fox’s The George Carlin Show. McDonagh teaches film at Brooklyn College and is author of Filmmaking on the Fringe and Movie Lust.

A shining star in the clan’s theatrical orbit is playwright and filmmaker Martin McDonagh, interviewed in this issue about his upcoming film Seven Psychopaths. London-born to Irish parents, his most famous plays are The Beauty Queen of Leenane and The Lieutenant of Inishmore. He won an Oscar in 2006 for best live-action short film for Six Shooter, and directed his first full-length movie, In Bruges, starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, in 2008.

His older brother, John Michael McDonagh, is also a filmmaker, best known for the 2011 hit The Guard, starring Brendan Gleeson. His next film, also to star Gleeson, is called Calvary.

Upholding the McDonaghs’ sports tradition is Jenny McDonagh, who is a field hockey forward on the Belfast Harlequins team. She played for the Women’s National team in 2001 against England, as well as the Olympic and World Cup qualifiers in 2004 and 2006 respectively. On the ice, Irish American Ryan McDonagh is a rising hockey star. The 22-year-old plays defense for the New York Rangers.

The McDonaghs also have fine pugilists in the family. Irishman Peter McDonagh is currently fighting at welterweight. During the 1980s, Seamus McDonagh was a popular cruiserweight turned heavyweight who fought Evander Holyfield in 1990. Since putting the gloves away, Seamus has gone on to become an actor.

The McDonagh name is popular in Galway City, where “McDonagh’s Seafood” was established On Quay Street in 1902. The restaurant is still owned by the original McDonagh family, and has become known around the world as the restaurant to visit in Galway. Presented with the “Best Bag of Chips [Fries] Award” in 2007, this famous spot even made it into  a version of the video game Grand Theft Auto.

121 Responses to “Roots: The Marvelous McDonaghs”

  1. sally o'brien says:

    I would like to find out more about the name mcdonagh it was my grandmothers maiden name she was from connemara co. galway, where it came from etc, but i cant seem to find to much about it

    • Ciaran Mc Donagh says:

      well sally as you can see i am a mc donagh from co louth ireland .
      My granfather ,father and relations are all from connameara
      co galway.seannagh pheistin to be exact.Do still travel down and visit and if I can be of any help just e-mail

      • valerie says:

        Shanafiestin outside Oughterard Ciaran?

      • Ciarán MacDonagh says:

        Well hello, Ciaran, as you can see i am also a MacDonagh and I have to say I’ve never met another Ciaran, we are certainly a rare bunch! My Great-grandfather was Thomas MacDonagh, signatory of the proclamation of independence and he hailed from Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary but the mythology of our family history is that our ancient ancestors came from Ballymote in Sligo where we were the keepers of the castle until the English Parliamentary wars against King James II. I am extremely proud of the name that I have and the history of our great family. Long may all McDonagh’s prosper and be merry!

        • John Paul MacDonagh says:

          Hi Ciarán, as you can see I am a MacDonagh aswell. My dad was born in Cavan, Michael MacDonagh and my grandad John MacDonagh was born here in Glasgow but lived in Sligo for a bit. Just looking into the history of our name. My Grandad seemed to think we were relations of Thomas MacDonagh!

        • Irene says:

          Hi my mum was a Mcdonagh and from Ballymote she told us that the castle was a mcdonagh castle but I was young don’t remember much more
          Her farther was William McDonagh


    • martin mcdonagh says:

      I’m a mcdonagh from Connemara. Where abouts was your grandmother from

    • michael john mcdonagh says:

      hello sally, its a common name here were i live. what part of connemara did you grandmother come from? my people are from gorumna island.

      • patriciamcdonagh says:

        hi my dad was mcdonagh his parents were thomas and margaret nee folan trying to find information on his siblings my dads fist name was michael

        • callum mcdonagh says:

          by any chance is this the brother of joseph??

      • Clare Cole says:

        Hi Michael,
        My g.grandmother was born in Gorumna. The Kellys, very popular name but we have the McDonoughs married into my family twice. The Galway connection and a different family in Dublin into my fathers ancestors. Fascinating stuff.

      • Hello, I saw a post of yours saying your family is from Gorumna island. My mothers name was McDonough. Both her parents came from Gorumna ( Tierney and Drim) I have been fortunate enough to find both sides , still residing on Gorumna. John and Moira Mcdonagh. And joseph and Michael and Monica McDonagh (siblings). Maybe you and I are related… do those names ring familiar? Kind regards, Rich

        • Vicky mcdonough says:

          I believe my family came from either cork or Kerry and were known as Irish gypsies. The original spelling of our name was mcdonagh but it was changed when they came over to England. Not entirely sure why. I would love to find the history of my family. It’s fascinating.

    • callum mcdonagh says:

      my grandad was also from connemara , galway who moved to liverpool ,who is mcdonagh too please feel free to email if need any information

      • Dennis says:

        What is your email Callum? Mine is Any knowledge on this guy
        Patrick J McDonough
        Born in 1892
        parents Patrick McDonough and Bridget Donohue
        sister Bridget (possibly) had 2 bachelor brothers who still lived in Carraroe in the 1970s
        birthplace Connemara Carraroe

    • Bridget says:

      thats cool! McDonagh is my last name and nearly all my ancestors are also from Connemara

    • Patricia Barry says:

      I believe we are cousins. Your grandmother Mary mcdonough married John o’brien. Emigrated from Oughterard area, I believe Kilcummin parish or Carraroe to Boston area. Her brother Redmond is my grandfather. Mcdonough in the states but everything in Ireland is mcdonagh. My mother’s notes, redmond’s Daughter, states their parents were Michael and Mary. But I can only find a Michael and Brigid matching the correct dates for redmond’s Birth…

      Siblings are listed on my family tree on

      Reply here if you’d like to contact and we’ll compare notes.

      Anyone else on this website have further info regarding the mcdonaghs of Carraroe? Redmond is not a very common name, but another Redmond pops up, related to Coleman mcdonagh, which does not appear to be related.

      All info greatly appreciated!


  2. Catherine Peddie says:

    Hi, I’m another one on the hunt for past family. My Grandmother was Kate Flaherty (later married to Michael Bradley). She was born in 1914 (above McDonagh’s fish shop Galway. Her mother was Sarah Conneely born in Tuarin) or Connelly and her father Padraig Tom Flaherty who came from Carraroe I believe. My mother lives there now. Can anyone help? Thank you.

    • Catherine Peddie says:

      I should have added that Sarah Conneely’s mother was Maire McDonnagh and I think her father called Miles?

  3. frances mcdonagh says:

    I’m another McDonagh Dad one of 11 children from Errislannan Connemara Galway my grans maiden name Connelly a lot of my aunts and uncles emigrated to San Francisco.

  4. Sheena McDonagh says:

    I’m interested in finding out more about my family history. My Grandfather’s name was Patrick McDonagh, married to Nora Burke in Stoke on Trent. My Grandfather was born in Ireland, his father was Joseph and his wife was Bridget Fowey. Patrick had (I think) 3 brothers, Michael (who went into the seminary, but then married and had children), John (who moved to Cheshire and became an accountant), Jay (Not sure if his name was Joseph or not, my dad can’t remember. Who married another Irish lady called Nelly, as far as I know they had no children, but lived in Coventry) there was a sister Mary, also known as ‘Babe’ by her brothers, she moved to either America or Canada, though its thought there might have been another sister who went to either as well. We have had no contact with the family as my dad (an only child) isn’t interested in his family history, whereas I am. I believe that my grandad’s family were crofters in Roscommon, though this has also been thought to be South West, near to Cork too. As you might understand, this has been frustrating for me. My nan (Nora) used to tell me that my grandad was related to Thomas MacDonagh, and that he was a great Uncle or something, this I haven’t been able to verify. Thank you.

    • My grandfather was William McDonagh, from Lackagh, Galway, his mother was Bridget O’Brian and his father’s first name was Thomas. HIs siblings were John, Thomas, Michael, Delia, Sebina, and Mary. I would appreciate any information…..

      • Teri Demola says:

        Michelle I am your cousin from Las Vegas, Nevada. You visited us when you’re uncle James was sick with cancer! Would love to her from you!

        • Tom Fahy says:

          Teri: I saw your note from a few years ago in a website regarding the McDonaghs. My grandmother was Sabina McDonagh — obviously we are cousines.

  5. william f mcdonaghIII says:

    whats the history behind the McDonagh” last castle” . William McDonagh III is an American Irish freedom fighter from san francisco

    • Ciarán MacDonagh says:

      Ballymotr in Sligo is the castle I believe you’re looking for. Interestingly, the name MacDonagh means “Son of the brown high king” The brown kings were crowned on the summit of the local mountain and as long as everything went ok they would keep their down but if there was any problem with their reign, say the crops failed then they would be ritually murdered three times, being stabbed, having their back broken then their throat cut before being thrown into the bog at the bottom of the mountain they’d been crowned on. This practice was carried out in most Celtic parts of northern Europe and it is where the bog bodies that are found occasionally across Europe come from. If you’re a MacDonagh then you really are descended from kings!

  6. natalie says:

    My father is mcdonough (mcdermott) any help? From sligo in Ireland

    • Ann Tilden says:

      My ancestor Francis MacDonough was from Slingo at a place called Carrowkeel. His father Francis apparently had the courtesy title “baron”. Any info?


        Hi, Ann- My ancestor was known as Frank McDonough and he was also born in Sligo c. 1835. He moved to Scotland where he married Catherine Mullin. Thereafter, he moved to Bangor, Maine, where he died in 1908. His brothers, born in Sligo, were Michael (presumed)(1841), James E. (1843- also moved to Maine), and Patrick (also presumed) (1845). They were b. in Skreen/Dromard Co., Sligo. Can you find any connection?

        Fr. Richard

        • Jackie Hines says:

          Hi, my name is Jackie from Portland Maine. I have McDonough’s in my family history learned from John and Mary McDonough were my Great grandmothers parents. She married Thomas Carey in Portland Maine and had one son and four daughters. I have been trying to find out where the Carey’s and McDoungh’s came from in Ireland. Any help would be wonderful!! Thank you.

      • michael mcdonough says:

        Hello Ann,
        If you would still like to acquire information regarding Francis McDonagh/McDonough let me know and I will send to you the information I
        have on Baron Francis McDonagh and Carrowkeelhouse.

  7. Ian MacDonagh says:

    My great grandfather and grandfather are mentioned in the main article. Thomas was executed in 1916 and my granddad was Donagh MacDonagh. I’m hugely proud of my surname and my famous for Father’s. 2016 is the anniversary of the Easter rising and there are lots of celebrations in Ireland. All the clan MacDonagh are meeting up from as far afield as Australia, the US, UK and more. Be a MacDonagh and be proud.

    • valerie says:

      Meeting where? Outside the GPO

      • Brad Donohue says:

        Hi, My name is Brad Donohue. My grandfather, Michael Donohue (started the Emerald Society for Fireman in NYC; now over 50,000 members) indicated in a biography that his Grandfather, John Donaghey had his name changed at Ellis Island around 1885 (He later went back to Ireland and married Mary Carlin in Tireghter). My grandfather said “old records” indicated his name was McDonagh, and that they came from Cork from what I remember. By any chance would you be able to recommend a source to determine my ancestry?

        • Brad Donohue says:

          I should mention John moved back to Ireland in the early 1900s and he died in 1907. My aunt told me my great, great grandfather John’s name may have been McDonagh or Donoghue prior to Ellis Island (Hard to determine because my grandfather Michael was orphaned after his mother, Bridget Donohue (formally Lynch) died.

          • Brad Donohue says:

            Sorry, Donaghey not Donoghue

          • Hi we are also related to the O’Donoghue’s, these are our ancestors:

            Emily McDonagh
            Mary Amelia Mcdonagh
            (18-08-1868) Spidel, Galway
            Michael Donoghue
            (1860) Glen Flesck, Co. Kerry, Ireland
            (1946) Dublin, Ireland (86years old)

            Would you happen to be related to any of these people?

    • Ciarán MacDonagh says:

      I don’t believe it! Now there’s a coincidence, I think my great grandfather might be the same chap you’re talking about!

    • michael mcdonough says:

      Hi Ian,
      I have been searching for information on clan McDonagh/McDonough.I would like to know information you might be able to provide. I have a considerable file on the McDonaghs/McDonoughs that I would be glad to share with you.

  8. Ian, does that mean you will be over for the centenary in Easter 2016?

    To others, I think that almost anyone with one of the variants of the name will be able to trace their roots to Galway or Roscommon/Sligo. If you are from the Roscommon/Sligo branch there is a very good chance that there were travelling people (aka tinkers) in your lineage. There is no evidence that I can find that there were tinkers in my lineage but a poem that my grandfather, Thomas MacDonagh, wrote has to make you wonder if he was writing about his mother or grandmother:


    By Thomas MacDonagh

    I DREAMT last night of you, John-John,
    And thought you called to me;
    And when I woke this morning, John,
    Yourself I hoped to see;
    But I was all alone, John-John, 5
    Though still I heard your call;
    I put my boots and bonnet on,
    And took my Sunday shawl,
    And went full sure to find you, John,
    At Nenagh fair. 10

    The fair was just the same as then,
    Five years ago to-day,
    When first you left the thimble-men
    And came with me away;
    For there again were thimble-men 15
    And shooting galleries,
    And card-trick men and maggie-men,
    Of all sorts and degrees;
    But not a sight of you, John-John,
    Was anywhere. 20

    I turned my face to home again,
    And called myself a fool
    To think you’d leave the thimble-men
    And live again by rule,
    To go to mass and keep the fast 25
    And till the little patch;
    My wish to have you home was past
    Before I raised the latch
    And pushed the door and saw you, John,
    Sitting down there. 30

    How cool you came in here, begad,
    As if you owned the place!
    But rest yourself there now, my lad,
    ’Tis good to see your face;
    My dream is out, and now by it 35
    I think I know my mind:
    At six o’clock this house you’ll quit,
    And leave no grief behind;—
    But until six o’clock, John-John,
    My bit you’ll share. 40

    The neighbours’ shame of me began
    When first I brought you in;
    To wed and keep a tinker man
    They thought a kind of sin;
    But now this three years since you’ve gone 45
    ’Tis pity me they do,
    And that I’d rather have, John-John,
    Than that they’d pity you,
    Pity for me and you, John-John,
    I could not bear. 50

    Oh, you’re my husband right enough,
    But what’s the good of that?
    You know you never were the stuff
    To be the cottage cat,
    To watch the fire and hear me lock 55
    The door and put out Shep—
    But there, now, it is six o’clock
    And time for you to step.
    God bless and keep you far, John-John!

    And that’s my prayer. 60

    • Ian MacDonagh says:

      Niall I really want to be there for my pride and for Bref. All being well I’ll be there with bells on. I’d love to do the connection bit as there aren’t that many more chances. I’m so proud of the MacDonagh name I’ll do my utmost.

  9. Alan McDonagh says:

    I am continuing the mcdonagh family name in October when I have a wee boy, and am looking for names for my son! Any options from the mcdonagh still out there??

    • Ian MacDonagh says:

      My great grandfather was Thomas, galic Tomas, his son was Donagh, my father was Breifne. I like my brothers name Ciaran, my cousin Turlach and Dylan. I think a nod to Irish heritage is a prerequisite.

      • Ciarán MacDonagh says:

        And you had an English name foisted upon you? They should have called you Fiacre or something. Disgraceful!

    • Shannon John McDonough says:

      So I come from Kings?

  10. David N. Harry says:

    My mother’s maiden name is Margaret Mary McDonagh. She was born in Balinasloe, Co. Galway on July 1, 1921. She died in Nov., 2008. Her father was William McDonagh. I’m uncertain of his birth date, but believed in died shortly after the end of WWII. I believe his father’s name was John. I believe William McDonagh and his wife Mary Monaghan are buried in Balinasloe. Mary died around 1929-1930, when my mother was eight years old. Mary, and several of her elder children died from tuberculosis.

    My mother and several of her brothers crossed over to England at the outbreak of WWI and all served in the RAF/WRAF. I met one of her brother’s. Patrick Joseph McDonagh in the early 60’s. He had married an English girl (Peggy) after the war and had two sons, Alan and Neal.

    Neal is married to Kathy, and they have two sons, Mark and Patrick McDonagh. Alan moved to Australia where he lives today.

    My father served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in England after the war, which is how he met my mother.

    Any information on the McDonagh’s of Balinasloe/Aughrim is very much appreciated.

    David Harry

    • David N. Harry says:

      Sorry about the typo… mother and her brothers went to England at the outbreak of World War II (not WWI).

      David H.

  11. PJ McDonagh says:

    My name is PJ McDonagh from McDonaghs Fish & Chips in Quay Street Galway I am trying to uncover as much information on my McDonagh relatives, their descendants and respective families as possible and I would be obliged if anyone can help me in this search!

    I have the original marriage certificate belong to my Grandfather Colman ‘Cogar’ McDonagh, who was married in Maine in 1903 on November 4th to Mary Joyce in St. Patricks Church, Lewiston by Reverend Thomas Wallace and witnessed by Martin Dunlop and Bridget McDonagh. My Grandfather married in Maine because his brothers and sisters had emigrated in previous years. In the weeks after the wedding he returned to Ireland. I hope to locate his brother and sisters whom I believe lived in or around Maine for many years. Their name and dates of birth are as follows;

    Mary McDonagh born on 13/8/1871 (dd/mm/yyyy)
    Bridget McDonagh born on 5/11/1876
    Michael McDonagh born on 12/3/1881
    Mary McDonagh born on 12/3/1881 *there are two distinct birth certs with the name Mary and I an unsure why this is.
    Bartholomew McDonagh born on 3/9/1882

    All came originated from the village of Toureen in Carraroe, Co. Galway in the West of Ireland.

    My grandfathers nickname was ‘Cogar’ (meaning whisper) and I hope the information above would help and/or jog someone’s memory.

    Kind regards,
    PJ McDonagh.

    • valerie says:


      How is all on the wonderful Quay Street. I went to school around the corner and once a week I was in your shop. When I originally saw that Colman was also connected within your “clann” I thought I would touchbase.

      My dad is from Galway and he is called Colman. Please let me know if there could be a connection and I can email you other details.

      Have a good evening.

      Le dea-ghiu

      Let me know if you think there could be a connection.

    • Diane says:

      Hello PJ,
      I am also searching for a Michael McDonagh from Carraroe who was born around 1880 or 1881 to a Bartholomew McDonough and Barbara Berry. I am trying to find more information on him because I have reason to believe that he is my husband’s grandfather. I am not sure, if there is a connection, but the Michael that I am trying to learn more about did have a sister Bridget and Mary.

      Do you know the names of your grandfather’s parents?

      My husband’s grandfather, Michael ended up living in Philadelphia.

      • PJ McDonagh says:

        Hi Diane,

        here is a list of relatives from born in the Toureen around that time;

        Mary McDonagh born on 13/8/1871 (dd/mm/yyyy)
        Bridget McDonagh born on 5/11/1876
        Michael McDonagh born on 12/3/1881
        Mary McDonagh born on 12/3/1881 *there are two distinct birth certs with the name Mary and I an unsure why this is.
        Bartholomew McDonagh born on 3/9/1882

        Clearly I have not visited this site in some time and I hope this message reaches you and we should get in tough.


      • Maria says:

        Barbara Berry is a distant cousin of mine. I have them in my tree.

    • Maureen Harrington says:

      Hello PJ,
      My husband and I visited your fine establishment in Oct of 2011. How I wish I had known at the time that I had a McDonagh for a great grandmother! The “story” is she came from Ros a mhil . She was Honora ( Honor and Nora) who married Festus King in 1864 He was from Carrowroe north,the son of Peter King. her father was Patrick McDonagh.. not too common i’m sure 😉 This predates your info, but with the Carrowoe connection , I wondered. Hope to visit Mcdonaghs again sometime!

    • Brad Donohue says:

      PJ, by any chance were either of the Mary’s or Bridget married into the McDonagh family? Mary Carlin (who left for NYC about 1885), Bridget Lynch? I think my great, great grandfather was John McDonagh.

    • Maria says:

      my grandmother Kate Flaherty was born above the fish shop in 1914. Her parents lived in what is now Cobwebs jewellers. Her mother was Sarah Conneely from Toureen and her mother a Mary McDonagh, Family lore says we were related. Hope you are still on this site, please msge me. My mum was born in Carraroe.

      • Mrs M Peddie says:

        UPDATE : I have since found the the census enumerator’s numbered the houses differently to how I thought, and my lot were not in what is now Cobwebs but the other end of the street in the part that is now condemned.

    • Terry Maroney says:

      my great grand father was Patrick McDonough he was married to Bridget Joyce. They left Toureen in 1884 and settled in St. Paul, MN. USA. Any information you have about Patrick or Bridget would be most help full

      • PJ McDonagh says:

        Hi Terry,

        I have my family history tree that I would be happy to send on to you if you would like to let me know your email address.


        • Terry Maroney says:

          Thank you

          • Terry Maroney says:

            P J would you please send me your family tree Thank You Terry Maroney

  12. PJ McDonagh says:

    Hi Valerie,

    if you’d like to email me some information I’d be delighted to check out any possible connections!


    • valerie says:

      Massive apologises PJ, nearly 12 months later and an email appears in my email.
      Bearing in mind I was in the West and in Tipperary to judge the Great Taste Awards (the Food Oscars) sponsored by Harrods.
      I hope you saw the excellent coverage we had with Mary Kennedy on RTEs Nationwide.

      What is the best email to get you on?

      Best Regards

  13. Dennis says:

    Hi Everyone I have two mcdonough families I am trying to find more information about.

    1915 Marriage Record of Patrick and Catherine McDonough. The birth dates and marriage dates also align to the 1930 census data.

    Their marriage certificate has their parents names

    Patrick J McDonough
    Born in 1892
    parent Patrick McDonough and Bridget Donohue

    Catherine McDonough born in 1890
    parent’s Patrick McDonough and Bridget Bradley

    It looks like Patrick McDonough immigrated to the US in 1910 and Catherine in 1907. Please tell me if you have any info that might confirm this is the case.

    Both were McDonoughs although Patrick was from Connemara, Carraroe was the town. Catherine said she was from a place called “Tiernee” but I never found it on a map of Galway. Ma always said her mother’s name was Bradley or Bradlee (as she sometimes said). Pa and his sister came over on the same ship. I think her name was Bridget.

    • Maria Catherine says:

      Hello again cous!!

    • PJ McDonagh says:

      Hi Dennis,

      I would like to send you a copy of my family tree so you could take a closer look as it has a lot more information that would help. I cannot upload attachments or send an image, how would I go about getting that to you?


    • PJ McDonagh says:

      Hi Dennis,

      I would like to send you a copy of my family tree as there is a lot more information which might help you. I cannot upload attachments or add a screenshot here , how would I go about getting this to you?


      • Dennis says:

        You can email me at

      • Mrs M Peddie says:

        Hello PJ, I met you once at the shop. I know I match you with DNA on GEDMATCH and also the same with Dennis. My grandmother Kate Flaherty was born above the chip shop – they lived round the corner at the time – and her mother Sarah Conneely (her mother nee McDonagh) was from Toureen. They went back to Carraroe. I’d love to see your tree if possible. Mine is public on Ancestry as mariaped Best Catherine Maria

  14. mary mc donagh says:

    hi my grandfathers name is willie mcdonagh my grandmother was julia mc donagh she was donoghue before she married…….my grandfathers surnames were his dad mc donagh his mam clocherty,,,,,,,my grandmothers parents surnames were donoghue and her mother was folan my great grand parents were married in carraroe….my grand parents lived in clynagh carraroe connemara untill the day they died liked some information if any on but side of my grand and great parents thanks

    • Bridget says:

      Hi was reading your message regard your grandparents my parents was Willie mc donagh and Julie mc donagh from clynagh my mum was donohue before she married my dad Willie the rest of his brothers left 4 America and sisters let me no if this helps u

  15. Romayne H says:

    Hi, I dont know much about my grand father except that his name was Patrick Mc Donagh. He had a brother but not sure of any other siblings. He would have been born around the 1930s approx. And he was the partner of my Grand mother Mary Smith They resided in Hamilton New Zealand. He left my Grand mother when my mother was only three. But as far as I know he stayed resided in New Zealand and settled down with another women and had more children.
    Any info would help heaps. Please email me.

  16. madeleine beeching says:

    I would like to know more too.
    My Grandfather was Joseph Mc Donagh,
    My father was John McDonagh and one of 16 I believe!
    They were large families in Dublin area.

  17. Kelly says:

    My Grandmother was Elizabeth McDonough . I am located in Ohio.

    • Robin De Danann says:

      Hi Kelly,
      Here’s a very long shot. My great aunt Elizabeth McDonough was born approximately 1870 in Co. Louth, Ireland, and came to Liverpool at some point with her Dad, Thomas McDonough, and brother, Micheal. Michael married in 1892 and Elizabeth’s signature on the wedding certificate shows she was the witness. I can find no information about her beyond that. Would any of this fit into your knowledge of your grandmother’s history?
      Robin De Danann
      Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

  18. Deborah Singmaster says:

    My ancestor Bryan McDonogh died in Boyle, Co Roscommon, Ireland on 24th December 1817. He served as medical officer in the British Consulate, Tripoli, Lybia, from 1795 to c.1804. He married an Italian, Teresa Leone. I would like to know more about his life, particularly his date of birth, where he was married and where and when Teresa died.

    • Leonard McDonagh says:

      Would anyone have information on a Norah McDonagh born to a Patrick McDonagh and Mary O’Driscoll in Doolin or Liscannor Co. Clare. There were two boys and two girls in the family. Would be grateful for and minute piece of information, Regards. Leonard McDonagh

  19. John McDonough says:

    My name is John McDonough and I live in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.

    My grgrgr-grandfather was Peter McDonough (possibly MacDonogh or MacDonagh) he was married to Bridget/Margaret Landy.

    He had the following children that I know of:
    Patrick b. 1869 died 1944 in Braddock, Pgh
    John b. 1871 died 1908 in an accident (my grgr-grandfather)
    Martin b. 1875 died 1922 also in work related accident

    I know there were still siblings that according to an old family story stayed behind and opened a restaurant. I’ve been told they may have lived in Cork or Galway and the three that came to America all left in the 1880’s.

    Any help would be much appreciated!

    • madeleine beeching says:

      Hi i have sent your email to my cousin in Dublin as im sure she can help. We are in new York and coming to pennslyvania today. How strange… good luck with your searches. My father was John mc Donagh who passed in 68. Very young. Although from Dublin there were connections with Galway I believe. Madeleine.

    • Brad Donohue says:

      John, was your great, great grandfather John married to Mary Carlin, leaving for NYC Ellis Island around 1885?

  20. J.D. McDonough says:

    I’m a McDonough living in Southern Illinois, just outside of St. Louis. I can trace our lineage back to a HUGH MCDONOUGH, born July 4, 1752 in Dublin. Hugh married Nancy, and together they had 6 children (Mary McDonough Queen, Edward McDonough, Elizabeth McDonough Easlick John McDonough Jane McDonough Hugh W. McDonough Helen “Elinor” McDonough Moony).

    I’m not sure if we are Cork or Galway McDonoughs and trying to trace our heritage prior to a family vacation to the ROK in July 2017.

    I’m primarily looking for information on HUGH McDONOUGH’s time/family in Ireland, prior to his transatlantic voyage to the OHIO area. Please feel free to email me directly.

    • Carroll McDonough says:

      I’m also a descendant of Hugh McDonough… maybe even closer relative than that, since several of my father’s cousins live near St Louis. I grew up in Illinois, but live near Sacramento, CA. And I’m curious about your reference to the “ROK.”

    • Barbara McDonough says:

      I am a McDonough from co.louth but moved to austria when i was 16 im now 37…my father is Patrick hugo McDonough and my grand father is Hugo McDonough n pretty sure my grandfather was named after his father….wonder if theres a connection my father side of the family are from bettystown, co.louth

      • Robin De Danann says:

        Hi Barbara,
        My Great-Grandfather was Michael McDonough from Co Louth, born about 1865, somewhere around the Dundalk area. His dad was Thomas McDonough perhaps born around 1840 somewhere between there and Co. Monaghan. There was an Elizabeth I this family – don’t know if she was my Great-Granddad’s sister or Mom. G-G-Dad Michael May also have had a brother John. The only other info I know is that at some point Michael and Elizabeth fo sure (and possibly John) ended up in Liverpool, where Michael married Mary Anne Brennan. They had my Grandmother Sarah Frances (aka Cecily) McDonough. She moved to Canada and had my Mom. Do you know if Thomas born 1840ish, Michael born 1865ish, or Elizabeth or John are anywhere on your family tree? Thanks.



    I was born in Belfast and have a lot of cousins in and around Northern Ireland called McDonagh. I know that the name comes from the west of Ireland and if you go to certain places esp. Connemara you will see a lot of shops with the name McDonagh over the door. Further to this – there is a famous feud between the Walsh’s and the McDonagh’s which has reached the news which you can read about. Also the main family in the series ‘Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’ is a ‘McDonagh’ and this is seen when 1 of the children dies and the name is shown on the tombstone.

  22. Carroll McDonough says:

    I’m curious if you’re related to James Simon McDonough.

    • J.D. McDonough says:

      James Simone McDonough was my Great Grandfather. James Earl McDonough(Hartford/Edwardsville) was my Grandfather, and David Lee is my Father.

      ROK is Ring of Kerry – which will leave us not far from the Kanturk Castle.

      • Carroll McDonough says:

        Hi J.D.

        Well we’re definitely from the same lineage. My Grandfather was Otis Othello McDonough, brother to James Simon. I remember attending (Simon’s) funeral, and meeting your Grandfather (Jack) a couple times. I’m guessing I must be about the age of your Father.

        In my internet research, I’ve run into the McDonough/McCarthy connection in Cork occasionally, but don’t remember the Kanturk Castle connection. I’ve run into the McDonagh connection to Ballymote Castle in Sligo though. Seems I remember reading the McDonaghs split off to the Galway/Roscommon/Sligo area.

        In the past I’ve found information on this site for free… but it seems someone has figured out how to make money from it now. But I think you can still get 5 free pages before it wants you to pay. Seems like the majority of the McDonoughs were in Galway in the 1850s.

        I’ve also often wondered if we’re related to Commodore Thomas McDonough… and did quite a bit of Googling on him. Seems Hugh arrived in the US about the same time and settled in the same area as Thomas’ family. Everything I’ve found about Hugh says he was born in Dublin… but I don’t know if that could include areas around Dublin. Thomas’ family was from an area near Dublin called Salmon Run. I visited Dublin in 2007, but didn’t make it to any other parts of Ireland.

        We probably have lots of information to share and it would be interesting to communicate further, but I can’t figure out how to get your actual email address. Everything seems to filter through this site, and most of that wouldn’t apply to the others on this site.

        Have fun in Ireland 😉

        • Cheryl McDonough Grimes says:

          My great grandfather James Francis McDonogh (b. 1860 ) near Castlebaldwin, Sligo came to the US in 1876 and lived in Woburn, Massachusetts until his death in 1930. He crossed out McDonough twice on the naturalization form and rewrote “McDonogh” so I am assuming he could read and write. On his marriage certificate I discovered his parents were John and Mary. The only other contact he had with his Irish family was a visit to Ballymote in the summer of 1904.
          I would love to learn more about my Irish roots but there are so many McDonoughs! Can anyone help? I can certainly track down any records in Maine, New Hampshire or Massachusetts for those you might need them.
          Kind regards,
          Cheryl McDonough Grimes

          • Dennis says:

            I have done DNA testing with both Ancestry and 23 and me if anyone wants to see if we can find our common mcdonough ancestor feel free to email me directly


  23. Leonard McDonagh says:

    Hi my name is leonard McDonagh, my mam was mary (sadie) McDonagh and her mother was Nora McDonagh. Sadie passed away in 2012. My grand mother Nora gave birth to mam in the infamous mother and child hospital in Kilrush in 1924. Whilst my mam was reared in doolin co.clare by her grand aunt, O,Driscoll i dont know what became of Nora after she had mam. It is my intention to try and piece together as much information as possible and anyone that may have a McDonagh or Driscoll surname and come from Liscannor/doolin area of Co. Clare i would very much appreciate it.

  24. Andrew McDonagh says:

    My father is Paul Mcdonagh and his dad was James Mcdonagh – Married to Evyln. Lived in Atherstone UK.

  25. Hayley McDonagh says:

    My dad, Michael McDonagh is from Trabane, Lettermore, Connemara. I continue to be fascinated with the history of the McDonaghs and where they originated from. My ‘Dado’ was Pat McDonagh and my ‘Mamo’ is called Briedge – still with us at 102 years old!!

    • Martin McDonagh says:

      Hi I seen your message on the marvelous McDonagh roots page. I’m a McDonagh living in tra bane

      • Nelli McDonagh/McDonough DOUGLAS says:

        Where is Trabane in relationship to Oughterard?

  26. Walter McDonagh says:

    I am McDonagh from Knockarasser Moycullen.

    • Cormac says:

      Hi Walter. My ancestry were from Knockerasser and McDonaghs but left for Bealadangan around 1840. Walter is a family name that appears regularly as Watt in the family tree. Are you still living in Knockeraser? My email is

  27. Wesley McDonagh says:

    Hello everyone. I’ve read everyone’s comments and it’s so fascinating to see how many of us are out here! I as well was hoping to connect to someone. I know very little about my heritage, as Ive just begun my research, but little is known. Below is absolutely very thing I know, unfortunately. Any help at all would be absolutely wonderful. Us McDonaghs over here have served our new country with honor =).

    Martin Patrick McDonough (1858-1934)
    Great great grandfather. I believe he was born in Cork, and came to NY around 1874.
    Martin J B McDonagh(1887-1973)
    Great Grandather. Hockey Coach and writer in NY. Served in the Army WWI and WWII I believe.
    Durwood Goldsbourough McDonagh(1916-1961)
    Grandfather. Served Army Infantry in WWII and Korean war.
    Robert D. McDonagh(1939-present)
    Father. Served in the Navy.
    Wesley C. McDonagh (1984-present)
    This is me =). I served in the Army Infantry OIF 06-08

  28. Clare says:

    I’m interested to find McDonaghs from Drogheda. Brothers John and Martin with a sister Margaret, who ended up in England. Born 1930-40s? Their father was possibly fire brigade, as were others in the family.

    • Deborah Singmaster says:

      I am searching for information about an ancestor Bryan McDonogh, born in 1760/61 in or near Doobeg, Co Sligo, in Ireland. He led a colourful life – in the British Navy, and later serving at the British Consulate in Tripoli, Lybia. He married an Italian Teresa Leone and spent the last few years of his working life in Malta before retring to Boyle in Co. Roscommon, Ireland. He died in 24th Dec. 1817. He and Teresa had a daughter, Elizabeth Augusta.
      Most of the posts concern much later McDonaghs/McDonoghs so I don’t have much hope that this will ring a bell with any of you but it’s worth a try and what joy there will be if anyone has any suggestions or leads.

  29. Bethany Boyle says:

    Has anyone ever heard of Glen McDonough? He lived in Pennsylvania in the 1900’s. He is my great grandfather and we don’t know much about him. He disappeared on my great grandmother and my grandmother was only a young girl. I like to think he went to Ireland to fight in the uprising. I don’t know if was born in Ireland or America.

  30. Arnold Fallon says:

    Saw your wonderful posting about your prolific great grandfather! What an impressive history! What great accomplishments!!! In doing my own family research, I came across your great grandfather’s name – he, his wife, two children, and a visiting relative of yours, Miss Burns, were at my grandfather’s place at Pleasantdale, NY (North Troy). There was a gas fire at the dwelling. Martin’s wife suffered burns. The cottage burned to the ground. This happened in 1917.

    Arnold Fallon
    Grandson of Dr. H.C. Fallon

  31. Jessica McEachern says:

    Very interesting article. My great-grandmother was Mary McDonough who was from Gloucester Massachusetts, but her father Miles (Myles?) McDonough had come over from Ireland sometime after 1860 and before 1882 when Mary was born. Sadly I can’t seem to find out where exactly in Ireland he was from and would love to learn more about him.

  32. Mena Gilbert says:

    My grandfather Patrick McDonagh was born in 1880 in Crosswood Galway to John and Honor ( or Honoria ) McDonagh, formally Connell. The birth certificate lists John McDonagh as a landowner and my mother confirmed they were wealthy landowners. My mother said Patrick and his father became estranged and John disinherited him. My mother did say she had relatives in America. Has anyone any connections with this family ? If so I would love to hear from them.

  33. John Denis says:

    High there, my Grandmothers maiden name is McDonough. Her full name is Elizabeth McDonough from county Meath she married Albert Sheakespeare whose father was Thomas Sheakespeare. The Irish Sheakespeares. Are there any Irish Sheakespeares in America? Thomas Sheakespeare married a Mary O Reilly. Thomas Mcdonagh the Irish republican Martyr was a cousin of my Grandmother. So fascinating history.

  34. Eric McDaniel says:

    YDNA testing shows a number of McDonough families in Connacht are actually descendants of the O’Flaherty Clan. Familytree SNP testing is mapping out genetic mutations that are shared by common male ancestors and this is how we know the two families are connected.

  35. Michael Smith says:

    My grandmother, Cecelia (Sarah) McDonagh, born 1888 in Ard West, Galway. She was the youngest of 8 children to William McDonagh and Bridget Mulkerrin. I would like to learn more about the McDonagh from Ard West/Carna/Mweenish/Culleen areas. I have all of the birth records for their children. Thanks.

  36. Brandon McDonough says:

    Hi everyone,
    I am Brandon McDonough from Halfmoon, Saratoga County, New York, US. I am having a hard time tracing back my roots to a location in Ireland. My 4x great grandfather was Cornelius McDonough born about 1796 in Ireland and died in 1867 in Clinton County, New York. His wife was Hannah McDonough. They had children named Daniel, Albert, and John. Daniel being my line. They then moved south to Moriah, Essex County, New York.

    If anyone has any info on where he may be from please help. I want to make a trip to eventually go and visit some family in Ireland.

    Please email me at

    Thank you!!

  37. Ann T. Sipes says:

    My husband’s gg grandmother, Hannah mcDonough b. in Ireland ca 1816 to Simeon and Nancy McDonough. sometime between 1816 and 1820 when a younger brother, James Michael MCdonough was born in America, Simeon brought his young family to Nelson county, KY. We have no idea from where in Ireland they came.their surviving children were named William Martin and Bridget McDonough. Martin McDounough m. a Flaherty girl in Nelson County. There were other Irish families in Nelson County, Whelans and Currans and Brians or O’Brians.

    I would so appreciate someone’s knowledge to help me. know where to begin.
    Ann Sipes,
    Meade county, KY, the town of Flaherty

  38. Nellie (Mcdonagh-McDonough) Douglas says:

    I am a descendant of the McDonagh clan from Baurnagurtheeney, Oughterard, Co. Galway. My father, John Patrick McDonagh came to the US in the 1920’s. At that time he was told by immigration officials that he needed to spell his last name “the American way” and became John McDonough. His father was Patrick John (1868-1962) and mother was Bridget Waters (1878 (?)-1906).They had thee children before her death in 1906, John, Mary and Patrick. He then married Sarah Coneely from Derrynea and had Magarret (Peg) and Peter who came to the US. Joe, Jane, Michael (Mick) and Cummin went to England. Martin stayed on the homeplace. I can not find any information on my grandmother Bridget’s family other than they were from Lochaen Beag in Spiddal.
    My great grandfather was John Patrick McDonagh (b. appx. 1837) and great grandmother Mary Walsh (b. appx.1841). I have not found any factual information on her family as well. They had five children:Margaret,Jane,Patrick, John and Barbara.
    I was able to get my hands on a copy of “A Valley Remembers Glann” which has the history of families living in the Glann community over the past 150 years.
    According to this book, my first descendant to come to this area was Michael McDonagh who was on the run from the British in Sligo during the uprising of 1798.
    I welcome any of you to email me if you see any connections/information to my great McDonagh family tree.
    In the meantime, “keep your Irish eyes a’smiling”
    Thank you for taking the time to read this.
    Nellie Douglas

  39. Enda McDonagh says:

    My name is Enda McDonagh from McDonaghs Lane in Co Dublin. We cam from Co Galway, an area called Ramolin and Shrule near the Mayo/Galway border.

    Please read below some interesting facts I have found regarding the McDonagh Clans and where it all began;

    The story of the illustrious McDonagh McCarthy Lords of Duhallow belongs to the parish of Kilbrin and not, as is often claimed, to the town of Kanturk!

    In Gaelic times the McCarthys, along with O’Callaghans, McAuliffes and O’Keeffes, belonged to a major tribal grouping called Cineal Laoighre. With O’Sullivans and O’Donoghues, they occupied the present areas of East Kilkenny, South Tipperary, North Cork and Mid Kerry, known as the Kingdom of Desmond or South Munster. These related “families” variously provided kings for Munster and Desmond for over a thousand years until the Norman invasion of AD 1169. The tide of invasion spilling over Desmond pushed them all westwards to re-establish in Duhallow, Muskerry, and Carbery and in Kerry, south of the river Main.

    Already around AD 1124, the direct descendants of Tadhg McCarthy, King of Munster & Desmond, had settled in the Newmarket area where they became known as the McAuliffes. Tadhg’s daughter Sabh married Donal O’Brien of Thomond and from them most of the royal houses of Europe, including the English royal family, are descended. In the face of the Norman onslaught, around AD. 1180, the O’Callaghans settled in Clonmeen, the O’Keeffes Lords of Fermoy settled in Dromagh and the McCarthys settled in West Cork and Mid Kerry.

    Dermod McCarthy was King of Desmond at this time and his demesne lands were around Killarney. The McCarthys spearheaded the Gaelic resistance to the Norman advance and were particularly successful under Donal na Curra McCarthy Mór in halting the Normans east of a line from Blarney to Kilbolane. Donal na Curra got his name from the McCarthy castle in the Gaelic Tuatha of Curraghs in the parish of Kilbrin, where he died in AD.1206. His assumption of the McCarthy Mór title was a practical acceptance of the demise of the ancient Kingdom of Desmond, and recognition of his position as head of the premier family of the McCarthys.

    Over the next sixty years or so, Donal’s descendants established a total of 14 McCarthy lordships, some almost independent but with McCarthy Mór as titular overlord. McCarthy Muskerry of Blarney and McCarthy Reagh of Kilbrittan were leading branches, but he first offshoot and senior cadet branch of McCarthy Mór was the Lordship of Duhallow, founded by Dermod McCarthy, younger son of Cormac Fionn McCarthy Mór in AD.1242. Dermod was succeeded by his son Donagh and Donagh’s descendants were thereafter known as “McDonagh McCarthy Lords of Duhallow”. English records frequently give a shortened version of “McDonagh (Lord) of Duhallow”.

    McDonagh McCarthy were overlords of the O’Callaghans, O’Keeffes, and McAuliffes with rights of a feudal lord of the highest rank. Their demesne, or personal lands, were the parish of Kilbrin, Rosline, parts of Drumtarriff and Ballyclough, and some other townlands, about 18,000 acres in all. Their main residence was in Curraghs, where their small castle stood on the left bank of the Allow at the east end of Knocknacolan. Its ruins were removed in the AD 1800s to make way for a mansion for the Blood family. Kanturk, a creation of the Earls of Egmont, did not emerge as a town until the Percevals arrived there in the AD 1650s. Facing them, on this eastern border of Duhallow was the Norman frontier of Orrery and Kilmore, strongly fortified by Subalter, Lohort and Liscarrol and intent on pushing into the Gaelic territory of Duhallow. In July AD 1250, the Norman Court at Kilmaclennine decreed that Kilbrin belonged to the Medi – a Sicilian-Norman family connected with the Barrys. The same Court conceded that 1000 acres of wood in Drominagore belonged to Dermod McCarthy.

    The Norman claims notwithstanding, from their base in Curraghs, the McDonaghs vigorously defended the north-eastern borders of Duhallow and pushed into Norman territory to leave a Norman island of Castle Magner and Subalter completely surrounded by Duhallow in AD 1350. As with all the McCarthys, they were renowned for great daring and fighting qualities. In the AD 1640s, despite being married to Lord Barry M6r’s daughter, Donagh óg McDonagh held most of his father-in-law’s Orrery & Kilmore under Black Rent. In a treaty made at Curraghs in AD 1467 he bought Castlecor Castle from the Barrys, and got a title to Lohort Castle which he re-built as a counter to the new castle of the Magners. Lohort was rented to a family called White who were still there when his grandson Eugene of Knocktemple (Freemount) married Davinia White sixty years later. In the treaty Donagh óg retained Kilbolane built by his grandfather Cormac who had set the McDonagh pace by capturing and burning the Norman walled town of Buttevant before he died in AD 1380.

    Donagh óg had to give back Mallow Castle to the Fitzgeralds, a point that rankled with the McDonaghs down to Cromwellian times. When the youthful John Barry Mór came cattle-raiding into Duhallow, Donagh óg, no respecter of his wife’s family, pursued and killed him at Ardprior on Christmas Day AD 1486. Donagh óg‘s death in AD 1501 led to a dispute among the McDonagh McCarthys about his successor and to a fatal feud that split the family for the rest of its history.

    Donagh óg had a son Cormac by his first wife Eleanor Fitzgerald, a daughter of the White Knight. He also had a son Eoghan by his second wife, a daughter of Cormac Laidir McCarthy Mór. Cormac succeeded but was murdered by Eoghan, in AD 1516. Eoghan, in turn, was murdered by Cormac’s son Cormac óg four years later. Cormac óg, who was married to Honora McAuliffe, was himself killed in AD 1560 by Eoghan’s grandson, also called Eoghan. Embroiled in their blood fratricides, these McDonaghs added little to the credit of their name.

    Cormac óg was succeeded by his cousin Donagh, son of the murdered Eoghan. Donagh died in AD 1581 and was succeeded by his son also called Donagh. This Donagh was married to a daughter of Donal an Dromin McCarthy Mór – a niece of Blessed Thaddeus McCarthy and “a pleasant cultured person who has perfect English”. This Donagh was known as “Donagh an Bhóthair” for the help he gave to Sir Henry Sydney in AD 1568 in making the road through Duhallow that still runs from Kanturk via Kiskeam to Castleisland. Like all the McCarthys, except Eugene of Knocktemple who died in Limerick Jail in AD. 1581, Donagh opposed the Desmonds who responded by massacring the O’Keeffes and killing Prior O’Scullaí at Castlecor.

    Before his death in AD 1584, he attempted to stem the family feud between the McCormacs, descendants of the Cormac murdered by Eoghan in AD 1516, and the McEoghans, descendants of the same Eoghan who was himself murdered in AD 1520. Donagh informally divided the lands and residences among them but he details are not now known.

    Donagh an Bhóthair was succeeded by his cousin Donagh McCormac óg who was married to Joan Fitzgerald daughter of the then White Knight. Dermod McEoghan, nephew of Donagh an Bhóthair and head of the rival family disputed the succession, although it was recognised by Florence McCarthy Mór in AD 1589. When Dermod tried his case in the English Court the only outcome was that Donagh got legal possession of Curraghs castle, the occupation of which seems to have been the main issue between them.

    It was at this time that Dermod started about the building of the Old Court in Kanturk, which was to be a very impressive counter to the modest old Tower House in Curraghs. To pay for it, he mortgaged tracts of the McDonagh demesne although, under Gaelic law, the land was communal property. The mortgagee was Sir Philip Perceval, an English Crown Advisor who arrived in Ireland in AD 1579 and set out to amass vast estates by giving “easy” mortgages to hard-pressed Gaelic landholders. In this way almost half of the McDonagh lands were lost and the Perceval connection with Kanturk had its sordid beginnings. Worse still, Dermod’s efforts were to prove all in vain when the English, jealous of his grand design, in Ad 1598 forced him to put a stop to it. The building was abandoned and the Castle is unfinished to the present day.

    In that year the Munster rebellion broke out and the northern Earls O’Neill and O’Donnell, supporting The Sugan Earl of Desmond, raided and pillaged into Munster. No friend of the McCarthys, O’Neill gave Dermod the titles of Lord of Duhallow and McCarthy Mór. He took Donagh prisoner and attempted to take him back to the north as he feared Donagh might go on the English side against Dermod. In March Ad 1601, going through south Galway, in O’Shaughnessy territory, the party ran into a skirmish with an English force. To prevent his capture, Donagh was killed by his escort. His killer was a supporter of Dermod, called Dónal na Rásca O’Keeffe who, to escape the vengeance of Donagh’s family, went on the run and gained notoriety locally as “The Gortmore Outlaw”.

    Dermod McEoghan, now undisputed Lord of Duhallow, supported O’Neill’s campaign but was imprisoned by the English before the battle of Kinsale. He was released when he submitted to the Crown in AD 1602. In return he was created Lord of Duhallow by the English and granted title for the McDonagh McCarthy demesne. Donagh’s son Cormac, and the many smaller branches of the family opposed this grant to Dermod of what under Gaelic law was communal land, but it was confirmed by the Crown in AD 1615. Dermod died in AD 1625 and ten years later his estate was the subject of a Post Mortem Inquisition. The inquiry found that Rosline, Curraghs, Banemore and Ballybane, Clonribbon, Lohort and Ballygiblin, and some other townlands were all mortgaged to Sir Philip Perceval. Cormac McDonagh still held part of Ballynoe and all of Coolmahane.

    By now the sun had all but set on the McDonagh McCarthys. Dermod was succeeded by his son Dermod óg, who was married to Julia, the daughter of the O’Sullivan Beara who had survived the long march to Leitrim in the winter after the Battle of Kinsale. His inheritance squandered, this Dermod displayed all the heroism of his warrior ancestors. In the Spring of AD 1643 he was involved in the attack on Mallow and the English accounts indicate that he was a popular leader of courage and daring. In November AD 1647, his squadron of horse lead the charge at Knocknanuss which swept the left wing of the parliamentary army to the walls of Mallow. He was again in action at Dromagh in July AD 1651 where he charged at the head of his squadron into the center of the parliamentary position. His half-pike no match for the massed muskets ranged against him, he fell in the thick of the action.

    In the Cromwellian Settlement, Perceval secured the mortgaged lands with the aid of another Inquisition. What was left of the family lands were confiscated and given to a number of settlers and adventurers. Many of the surviving members of this long-tailed family seem to have stayed in the area as tenants-at-will of the new order. In their now lowly stations they were absorbed indistinguishably into the ordinary population. Ironically, the final word from the McDonagh McCarthys lay with the McCormacs. Cormac McCormac appeared as Colonel Charles McCarthy Lord of Duhallow, with a force of a thousand men and Sheriff of Cork under the Catholic James II in the Williamite War. In AD 1691 he submitted to King William before the battle of Aughrim. He left for France with the Mountcashel Brigade of Justin McCarthy Muskerry and nothing further is known of him.

    With him was finally extinguished the illustrious McDonagh McCarthy Lords of Duhallow. Although long departed from the scene, they are still part of the history and character of the parish of Kilbrin. They lived in their own times, which were harsh and bloody, when life was not as well ordered as it is today. Courageous and energetic almost beyond our present—day understanding, with a rising-out of no more than 50 horse and 200 fighting men, they defended Duhallow against all comers for most of 500 years. Undoubtedly, many of their descendants are still in the parish today. The Egans of Curraghs are of the McEoghan lineage and have the martyred Beotius McEgan in their stock. Many of the McCarthys throughout the area carry McDonagh genes.

    If you come across a Kilbrin man (or woman!) in the hurling field, or wherever the going is tough, do well and remember that the McDonagh McCarthys were a hardy crowd!

  40. Holly Bifulk says:

    I am Holly McDonough. I live in Northern Wisconsin, USA. I am in search of my Irish lineage. I dont know where to start. My McDonough family lived in St. Paul, MN. USA. My Father’s name was Harold McDonough. His father’s name was Patrick McDonough.
    When I ask my cousins they do not know much. I am really interested in finding out if we have relatives in Ireland, where we originally settled. Its a mystery. I may have to go to and check through there. I never met my Grandfather and Grandmother, they had 12 children though and because of an incident with my Father and his brother, the family didnt talk. Please let me know if anyone would have a little bit to go on.


    • Nelli T Douglas says:

      Hi Holly,
      Great hearing from you. I would suggest that you do a DNA test. I tested thru Family Tree, my sister tested with My Heritage and two other siblings tested with Ancestory. This gave us a pretty big base for compairing and we were able to figure out quite a few of the Irish ancestors. Let me know what you think. Thanks for the note.

    • Ann T. Sipes says:

      Hi Holly, My husband and I live in Meade County, KY. His gg grandmother was a McDonough who m. aRitchie from Nelson County, KY. in the early 1840’s. We know from 2 Meade County census that Hannah was born in Ireland. Her parents came to Nelson County from Ireland before 1818. They may have lived in Maryland for a while, but I don’t know anything else. Her dad was Simeon McDonough. Kentucky is aways from Minnesota, and in my searching I’ve found a lot of McDonoughs all over US. Your searching on may help you.

  41. Hilary says:

    I am trying to find any information for the McDonagh’s that lived in Dublin around 1850s.
    My great grandfather was Matthew McDonagh ( 29 Jan 1862) who married Sarah Healy (1865). Mathew was baptised in Rathmines, Dublin and the family lived in Wharton Terrace, Harold’s Cross, Dublin.
    His parents were Matthew McDonagh and Alicia Scanlan.
    I did find a child called Patrick for the same parents baptised in St Michan’s Catholic Church 30 Mar 1858.
    Any further information would be very welcome.

  42. Sean McDonagh says:

    Hi, my grandfather James McDonagh was born in Conemarra, he married Margaret from Cork and moved to London and settled on the Isle of the wight. They both are dead now but i believe that some of the family moved to Boston. If this rings a bell,please get in touch. Sean.

    • Dennis says:

      Hi James. I see a James McDonough born in 1883 in the Connemara area in my tree. His parents were Martin McDonough and Barbara Toole. If this sounds like your grandfather feel free to reach out.

      • Sean McDonagh says:

        Hi Dennis,thanks for that but my grandfather was born in 12.11.18 to Michael McDonagh and Mary,they were living in Rusheenamonagh in Southern Ireland. Thanks for your reply though. Sean

  43. E.P. McDonough says:

    We are McDonough’s from Saint Patrick’s Parish, Scranton, Pennsylvnia.My brother’s DNA test reports genetic factors of those common to Sligo/Mayo.I once saw a man walking along the RR track near Castle Ballymote who appeared to be my brother’s double.

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