The O'Donoghue Society

For all those interested in history and genealogy and whose names are derived from the Gaelic


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As distinguished from our forums which are for family history enquiries and responses as now, where people are looking for someone or something and the journal which is for longer well researched articles usually, but not exclusively, of a historical or genealogical nature.

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Back in 1965, when the notion of an indigenous Irish film industry seemed like a flight of pure fantasy, a bunch of brave souls set out to make the first truly Irish musical, a bawdy, boisterous comedy with overtones of The Threepenny Opera, based on some of the country's favourite ballads, and featuring some of its best-known performers.
Abandoned, unfinished and forgotten, for three decades, the film finally receives its premiere at this year's festival, in a special screening which will be attended by many of those involved in its making.
Taking as its starting point the song The Night Before Larry Got Stretched, O'Donoghue's Opera, (Saturday March 7th, IFC, 6.30 p.m.) stars Ronnie Drew as "the cleverest burglar in all Ireland" and appearances by Seamus Ennis, The Dubliners, the McKenna Folk Group and the Grehan Sisters. The beautiful 35 millimetre black-and-white footage of music sessions in O'Donoghue's pub on Merrion Row shows Dublin bohemian life at the start of the folk music boom - duffel-coated beat kids mingling with crinkly traditional types over innumerable pints of stout (drink features strongly in almost every shot in the film). It's a fascinating glimpse of a world which now seems very far away.
O'Donoghue's Opera was directed and produced by the late Kevin Sheldon, a director with RTE. Abandoned due to lack of finance and never completed, the film disappeared for more than 30 years, until the cutting copy showed up last year. Tom Hayes, who had acted as line producer on the original production, showed it to film editor Se Merry Doyle and to Tony McMahon in RTE. Doyle set about reconstructing the film from the existing footage. "I tried to find any information I could about it but it was impossible to find the original negative, so I had to work from the cutting copy and out-takes," says Doyle. "I'm hoping when it comes out that somebody might show up with the original."  August 23 2020
A very quick one some might find funny - Growing up in a diverse New York when I was 7 or 8 years old We had a school assignment about our family names , where they came from, and what they meant..... I asked my Dad from Loobridge, Glenflesk, Co. Kerry and he explained to me that our ancestors arrived by sea and came up the river and eventually settled in the area but over time lost connection with, and forgot their past and when Eventually asked who they were said They were the “Don’t know who’s”..... made perfect sense at the time until I learned through research a few years later the O Donnchu were “brown haired warriors”.... Dating back to The times of Brian Boru....
P.s. I am Dan P, father John(Sean) Born 1932, Grandfather Dan P born 1882 Annaghmore,  GGrandfather Patrick Annaghmore, and GGGgrandfather Dan P .... who worked on construction of G S&W railway in 1840s in Cork and Kerry

Set in Dublin in 1918 in a hospital ward where expectant mothers who have flu are quarantining together, this is a wonderfully written story of women who cross paths there and change each other's lives in unexpected ways.


Snippets March/April - My ancestors were in Entertainment: Response Two: Joseph Corbett Donohue 1905-1996


Joseph Corbett Donohue 1905-1996


Contributed by Tim Donohue


Joe Donohue was the son of first generation American from a small valley town in Northern California. His Grandfather came to America in 1872 from County Clare. 


Joe graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. He was a gifted student and had a mature charm and kindhearted manner beyond his age. After College he moved to New York City and became the administrative assistant to CBS President and media mogul William S. Paley. At CBS he later became supervisor of news and special events.  He then worked for several advertising and public relations groups including J. Stirling Gechell, William Esty Co. and Buchanan & Co in New York. In 1942 he moved to Hollywood to head the radio department of the Myron Selznick Co. where he represented such talents at William Powell, Pat O’Brien, Robert Benchley, Paul Douglas, Robert Newton and Monty Wooley. At William Esty he worked on the Eddie Cantor show, Burns & Allen and the Blondie radio shows. He launched his 30-year public relations and publicity career in 1954 handling the first Emmy Awards on NBC for the Television Academy. He handled accounts that included the National Football League properties, California Wine Institute, Occidental Petroleum, and the campaign to rebuild the Hollywood sign.


Joe experienced the zenith of Los Angeles and Hollywood media industry which he helped launch. He contributed to the evolution that saw society transition from radio to television in the post WW2 generation. The golden age of media was his career. 


When Joe died his Rolodex of phone numbers contained the personal contacts of virtually every important person in Hollywood. Personal numbers of Studio moguls and Walt Disney among other titans in the industry were his friends and colleagues. One of his best friends was Steve Allen who was one of the biggest radio and TV stars of the emerging media world.


Snippets March/April - My ancestors were in Entertainment: Response Three: Joseph Corbett Donohue Junior 1941-2007


 Contributed by Tim Donohue


Joseph Corbett Donohue Junior 1941-2007


“Corb” Donohue was the son of Joseph Corbett Donohue of Hollywood, California. Born into his Fathers affluence he grew up in a world where everyone hanging out at his home was an A-list talent or celebrity. He learned to ride a motorcycle from famous neighbors Lee Marvin and Keenen Wynn much to the chagrin of another neighbor, the future Governor of California Edmund Brown. After College Corb had his first job on a Hollywood TV sound stage at 21 working as a producer for Steve Allen.  Corb had a great ear for music talent and was drawn to representation and management of the developing music scene of the 1960’s and 70’s.  Having attended the University of California at Berkeley Corb had seen the emerging counterculture in San Francisco changing music.


In the mid-sixties he was back in Hollywood and the Sunset Strip. He was the Artist Relations Manager for ABC Dunhill Records. His clients included the Mamas and Papas, Three Dog Night, Jim Croce, Paul Revere and the Raiders among others. Balladeer Jim Croce became one of Corb’s talents and one of his closest friends. Perhaps his greatest discovery and most impressive talent was Jimmy Buffet who gives credit in his book “A Pirate turns Fifty” to Corb for his success.  Jimmy actually devoted a complete chapter to Corb and his influence on his career.


Over his career Corb was a senior record executive at Motown Records, A&M Records, Elektra Records and was the Music Editor of Daily Variety Magazine. He was a founding partner of the “Leading Psychedelicatessen” near UCLA a founding partner of the Rainbow Bar & Grill in Hollywood and a member of the advisory board of the Surfrider Foundation. Corb who was a the mentor to Jimmy Buffet and inspired his storytelling.


James and Margaret Donahue Vaudeville Tap Dancers
By Thomas and Colleen Donahue Witte
Jim and Peg Donahue Dance Team
          Colleen’s father, James Donahue and his sister Margaret were active in the Edwards Juvenile Kiddie Revue and other vaudeville Groups back in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s in Mankato, MN. They tap-danced as a team and individually. The above photo (surrounded by newspapers articles which mention them) is the only one that we possess where they are together as a dance team. Apparently, they were quite good. Some of the collage of newspaper articles are obscured by the photo and others are blurry. Below I have placed some of them to correct some of the problems and added a couple of others which are not above.

James and Margaret win $25 first prize for their tap dance routine

Advertisement for the contest where James and Margaret won the $25 for their Tap Dancing

A little information on where they traveled on the Black Hills tour.

Kiwanis Charity Ball

James and Margaret at the Gun Club Cabaret Dance
          We do not have the dates of any of the newspaper articles about the events except as the primary photo shows, between 1925 and 1935.

Algernon Charles O'Donoghue, known as Don, was born in Kindat, Burma in 1901. He travelled in 1907 to live in Bath, where his grandmother and some of his aunts lived, while the rest of the large family were spread across India and Burma.

During the First World War, Don enlisted in the mechant navy as a Marconi wireless operator, travelling to such exotic places as China, Japan and South Africa. After returning from Service, he made London his home, but regularly travelled back to Bath to visit his mother.

While in London he met and married Edith Cara Pope, known as Cara, the daughter of Edith Pope nee Batten, a Professor of Music and Richard Pope, a professional flautist.

Don's interest in sound and music led him into working in talking movies in the mid 1920s. This largely consisted in synchronising sound to vision.

Having been a Marconi wireless engineer, and working in the early days of film, he grabbed the opportunity to work in the Sound Department of the British Broadcasting Company before it became the British Broadcasting Corporation in 1927, working both in research and in the largest radio recording studio in Europe at the time.

It was a busy family time too, as my aunt and  father were both born at the very end of the 1920s.

In the 1930s he moved back to films working with Alfred Hitchcock and singer actresses such as Jessie Matthews.

During the Second World War he was at one time drafted to Cairo to work on sound wave detection through water; yet this was only discovered from his notes after he died. Had it been a secret....well, who knows.

Living in the 1920s and being a sound engineer married into a musical family, Don, with Cara enjoyed partying in the midst of the 'glamour' of sound stage and screen.

I am a member of this society and they have uploaded 'The Margaret Higgins Database of Catholics in England and Their Friends : 1607-1840' on the society web site

The Introduction alone is worth a read and contains this paragraph
"A word of warning!  If the researcher is able to use the software, Microsoft Access, it would be worthwhile  to  make  use  of  the  asterisk,  “*”,  in  searching  for  names.    This  wildcard  will  reveal possibilities  for  the  various  spellings  of  names.    In  the  database,  it  is  possible  to  find  nineteen variations of the name “Donoghue” and that does not include the variations for “O’Donoghue”. "

My trip to ireland in September 2017
Contributed by John J Pozega Email: of Groton, Connecticut, USA
Great grandson of John Patrick O’Donoghue  1857/9- 1938.  Born in, Adrigole, Beara, County Cork, Ireland, died Mellen, Ashland County, Wisconsin, USA.

My sister and I flew from Hartford, Connecticut, USA, direct to Dublin on Aer Lingus.  There in Dublin we met 20 other family members from across USA.  We began our 10-day trip of Ireland in Dublin.  An Ireland tour company driver and bus from County Kerry met us at a hotel in Dublin and we ended our first night at the Glasha Farmhouse outside County Waterford.  A beautiful place owned and operated by Miss Olive the owner.

We had a four-course dinner prepared by Miss Olive and her staff the first night in Ireland.  Our group stayed at the farmhouse the first night and had a traditional Irish breakfast the next morning before leaving for the second day of our trip.   Here’s a picture of us along with Miss Olive in the blue and white striped blouse and Mr. Brian our tour guide and bus driver in the tie and shirt on left back row. 


I saw many great things on my trip.  Including churches and religious places, shrines, and castles.

The highlight of the trip was day 3, we had made our way down to County Cork.  In Adrigole on the Beara Peninsula we met cousins and got to see the place where my great grandfather lived with his two brothers and 4 sisters and mother and father in the 1850s in Ireland.  The family home and building for the animals are still standing today and are now used for storage.

 We had tea and scones at the home with cousins on the family land.  Later that night everyone got together for dinner at the hotel where we spent the night before beginning day 4 of the tour.

Here’s a photo taken on Healy Pass on day 3 of the tour just minutes after leaving our cousins and heading to the hotel for dinner.

The rest of our tour was filled with seeing the Dingle Peninsula and the Ring of Kerry, Galway, The Cliffs of Moher, The Garnish Islands, Powerscourt, Kylemore Abbey, crossing the River Shannon on the ferry and other adventures as we slowly made our way back to the Davenport hotel in Dublin where we stayed the last two evenings before we all returned to our homes in the  USA from Dublin Airport. All wanting to come back to Ireland again soon.