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The Society's Patron


Geoffrey Paul Vincent O'Donoghue of the Glens is one of only twenty Gaelic Chiefs of the Name who have the formal right to use their historic title. As Princes of the Eóghanacht, the O'Donoghues of history fulfilled a critical social, political and military role in the life of Munster. While those responsibilities no longer pertain today in a republican Ireland, the desire to preserve a Gaelic heritage, that is the very essence of Irish history, remains strong. In 1944 the Chief Herald of Ireland, at the Genealogical Office in Dublin, confirmed the name of The O'Donoghue of the Glens on Geoffrey's father. On his death, as tanist, he succeeded to the name. He is described in Who's Who in Ireland as 'a low profile Irish Chief '.

A deep interest in and knowledge of Irish history has, however, led him to play an active part on the Standing Council of the Irish Chiefs and Chieftains. They promote and preserve the Gaelic heritage of Ireland through the consideration of matters affecting the Irish Chiefs, Chieftains and the Clans they represent. The Council will express its views and educate on the historical background, while protecting the titles and armorial bearings of the Chiefs from misuse.

Geoffrey O'Donoghue was born in 1937 and was educated at the Christian Brothers School in Enniscorthy, County Wexford. A practical man, he joined the Irish Air Corps and served in engineering for six years. Moving to England, he worked for Vickers Armstrong for five years before returning to Ireland. He inherited Ballynahown Court, in County Westmeath, from his great aunt. This property came into the ownership of the O'Donoghues of the Glens on the death of Sir John Ennis, whose daughter Marie married Daniel O'Donoghue, the MP. In 1874 it was a very large estate of nearly nine thousand acres reducing through the pressures of the Land Acts to 500 acres by the end of the nineteenth century. It proved impractical to maintain and in 1968, was sold.

Today The O'Donoghue lives just outside Tullamore, County Offaly, and runs a number of local businesses. He married Frances Kelly in 1963 and has seven children. His active working life allows him limited time to pursue his personal interests but he is an avid reader of history. As an Irish nationalist, in the traditions of his ancestors, he seeks to maintain and develop his family history.