The O'Donoghue Society

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


The blogs are for reporting or discussing something or some subject.

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.

This page lists all blogs in date order. The links to the left allow you to see the blogs categorised by subject matter.  To add Comments click on the Category and then on the title to the blog you wish to contribute to.

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THE Script frontman Danny O’Donoghue has opened up about the fear of losing his voice — and career — after undergoing two throat surgeries.

“I was told: ‘The doctor is going to slit your throat.’ That’s the reality of it,” O’Donoghue, in Melbourne today on a promotional tour, told Confidential. “There was a chance I would never be able to talk again. I had to sign a waiver saying I knew the risks.

“I just thought: ‘What am I gonna do? Do I just fade away?’ This is my bread and butter. I don’t do anything else. It was a big headf---.

“I’m a highly positive person,” O’Donoghue says, “but you can spend too much time focusing on that one per cent of, ‘what if it goes wrong?’”

In late 2015, after four hit albums and five world tours, The Script, a rock band from Dublin, went on hiatus.

Their hits include Breakeven, Hall Of Fame, and Superheroes.

But in July this year, O’Donoghue revealed, in that time away, he’d had two surgeries to have nodules on his vocal chords removed.

“I’ve made a few lifestyle changes,” he says today.

“We were burning the candle at both ends, man. You end up catching fire or running out of wax. We did both. It gave me a real slap in the face about having a long career versus running myself into the ground.”

His post-operative treatment included no talking for two months. That was gradually softened to five minutes of talking every hour. “You can’t burp, you can’t cough, you can’t laugh,” he said. To communicate, he used a type and speak app.

In late 2016, The Script began work on their new album, Freedom Child. Sheehan performed vocals on the demos as O’Donoghue recuperated.

But as the songs took shape, O’Donoghue and Sheehan realised another voice was emerging. “We aren’t a political or religious band,” Sheehan says. “We always avoid those two subjects.

We’re a band about escapism. Our doors are open to everybody. But for the first time, we started thinking, and writing, as extroverts.”

The title track is a reply to Sheehan’s seven-year-old son asking his father: “What is terrorism?” Another song, Divided States Of America, is about the politics of distraction and disunity.

Make Up is a powerful piece about identity and pride.

But production choices on the album make strong statements, too, particularly detours into dancehall (Rain) and dubstep (Deliverance).

“Music has moved on so much,” Sheehan says. “Getting played between Drake and Justin Bieber is very difficult for a traditional band.”

O’Donoghue added: “It’s probably frightening to people who are used to the band side of things. It’s just evolution. We’re still a heartfelt band doing what we’ve always done: three mates sitting in a pub talking about life.”

Freedom Child (Sony) is out now.


Virago is publishing journalist Caroline O’Donoghue’s debut novel, Promising Young Women, which was won in a "passionately fought" auction. The book is a "gothic, darkly witty" novel about sex, power, work and being a young woman in a man's world.

Sarah Savitt, publisher at Virago, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in the book, plus a second untitled novel, from Bryony Woods at Diamond Kahn and Woods. 

The title follows 26-year-old Jane who is recently single and adrift at her job – but her alter-ego, the online agony aunt Jolly Politely, has all the answers. When Jane and her older married boss kiss at a party, Jane does not follow the advice she would give to her readers as Jolly: instead she plunges head-first into an affair – one that could jeopardise her friendships, her career and even her life.

Savitt called it "a funny, unsettling, whip-smart page-turner", touching on issues from gaslighting to infidelity to women in the workplace. "It also has a brilliant, surprising gothic edge which really makes it stand out. I can’t wait to publish this debut and to work with Caroline on her second novel," she said.

O'Donoghue is a contributing editor for The Pool and has also written for Glamour, The Irish Times and Buzzfeed. She also co-hosts the podcast, "School for Dumb Women". 

Virago will publish Promising Young Women in June 2018.

A handprint, Mylar slides, a box of “cosmic crayons” from the early 20th century—these are some of the things tucked in a back room of the South Australia Museum, relics of expeditions into Australia's center. From the late 1920s through the 1970s, the University of Adelaide’s Board for Anthropological Research organized over 40 expeditions to learn about Aboriginal people. Sometimes traveling for months by camel, anthropologists recorded and collected whatever they could think of—genealogical charts, children’s drawings, sound recordings on wax cylinder, standardized tests, Rorschach blot responses, and hair samples.

Now, decades later, those hair samples—long filed away in small manila envelopes—have become a source of DNA for Ray Tobler and Alan Cooper. Specialists in ancient DNA at the University of Adelaide, they wanted to know how humans first migrated across this continent, thousands of years ago. Although many Aboriginal people who gave hair samples to BAR had already been displaced from their homelands by European colonists, their family trees and stories allowed Tobler and Cooper to connect the samples with ancestral homes—and DNA sequences allowed them to see the relationships between groups. “We were able to see beyond the European disruption,” Cooper says.

Before the geneticists could work with the samples, though, they needed permission. In some cases, those whose hair samples were taken were still alive, as in the case of Uncle Lewis Yerloburka O’Brien, now 87 and an elder among the Karuna people, whose locks were on file along with a photo of himself as a boy wearing a dubious expression and a V-neck sweater. In other cases, community liaison officers had to track down descendants and explain the project. Jean Smith, a little girl in the same photo, has died, but her cousin, Claudia Smith, now 78 and a Narungga Elder, was able to give consent.

So far, Cooper and Tobler have published an analysis of the mitochondrial DNA from 111 samples taken from three Aboriginal communities—representing families that the Australian government and missionaries had moved from homelands all across the country. For each sample, the researchers washed the hair, then used enzymes to open the cells and allow the mitochondrial DNA—which is inherited from the mother only—to spool out. They copied the strands many times over, sequenced it, and then got to building their family tree.

Based on how similar the mitochondrial DNA samples were to each other, Cooper and Tobler started organizing their branches, giving them dates based on the average rate that random changes occur in mitochondrial DNA over the generations. Looking at the tree and the dates of each branch, Cooper and Tobler could see that the first groups that separated from the rest were in the far north of the country. Groups continued to split off through time one by one, down each coast, and then different lineages merged again at the very south of the country when the two waves of migration met at the bottom.

But all these splits and merges happened nearly 50,000 years ago. The groups remained stable afterwards, with just the slow tick-tock of random mutation showing the millennia that passed. Astonishingly, after a rapid influx to the continent and a speedy sweep around its coast, individual groups of Aboriginal people seem to have stayed largely sedentary and separate for upwards of 47,000 years—making them perhaps the people with the longest relationship to their home landscapes on Earth.

This was perhaps more surprising to the researchers than their subjects. Aboriginal people are known for their strong bond to their own country. “We are telling them something they already knew,” says project community liaison Amy O’Donoghue.

On September 6th, researchers and a descendant of the woman who provided one of those samples had lunch at the Museum of South Australia to celebrate the opening of a small exhibit about the project, taking some of the items collected by BAR out of the museum’s back rooms and putting them on display. Among the displays were the photos of Uncle Lewis Yerloburka O’Brien and Jean Smith, plus a childhood drawing by Smith, data cards in the elegant cursive handwriting of the last century, and a handwritten family tree.

Being able to see the old records and photos is often a deeply emotional experience for people, explain O’Donoghue and her fellow community liaison, Isabel O’Loughlin, both of whom are Aboriginal people themselves. For much of the 20th century, Aboriginal children in what is known as the “Stolen Generation” were taken from their homes and told not to speak their native languages. Sometimes the records “fill in the gaps” in their own family histories, O’Donoghue says. “People don’t realize how many children were taken,” Cooper says. “So many of them are desperate to find out about their Aboriginal origins.”

Others are touched by glimpses of their family members as young people. O’Donoghue brought one woman in her 60s film footage of her mother that was taken by anthropologists. “She cried her eyes out,” O’Donoghue says. “She never saw her mother as a happy person.” O’Loughlin and O’Donoghue work with an oral historian—the granddaughter of Tindale—who collects the stories that flow when the families see the collections.

Claudia Smith, granddaughter of one of those whose hair samples were included in the study, said over a sandwich at the museum cafe that the long tenure of Aboriginal peoples on the same landscapes doesn’t surprise her. Respect for land and territory was very important to her people. Her father taught her a traditional way to respect territorial boundaries. “When you get to the border you sat down, lit a fire and made smoke and waited for someone to greet you,” she says. And you wouldn’t think of eating or drinking in another group’s land without permission.

As part of their attempt to go beyond merely asking consent from Aboriginal peoples, the research team helped organize the exhibit to humanize the stories behind the samples and presented their results to Smith and the other relatives of those who had hair samples taken before publishing it in the journal Nature earlier this year. They say that a comprehensive nuclear DNA sequence analysis, in planning stages, may tweak the map a bit. The current map is based on the maternal line only; if men in the long pre-European era were more likely to move between territories, the map might be a bit more dynamic.

“I think the way Alan and his team approached the situation and how they are interacting with the indigenous communities is a rare example how these things should be done,” says Lars Fehren-Schmitz, an anthropologist at the University of California Santa Cruz who uses ancient DNA to shed light on migration patterns in South America. “Often there is only the geneticist collecting some samples, or drawing cell lines from some repository without actually considering the communities.”

Tobler and Cooper hope their map will help those Australians who are researching their own Aboriginal ancestors figure out where their homelands were—though they aren’t yet able to sequence interested members of the public. Among those eager to learn more about his own history is Tobler himself. There are Aboriginal ancestors on his father’s side of the family, he says but “my grandad didn’t talk about it.” He and his family could learn from their own hair what their grandfather declined to discuss. “We might find country,” he says.

Smith looks into the display case at her relative’s crayon drawing of Santa Claus, produced at the behest of BAR anthropologists on butcher paper. “I was told ‘don’t tell anyone you are black,’” she says. “Now my grandchildren stand up and tell the school they are Aboriginal and they are blue-eyed blondes. Now this history is there for the next generations".


A ‘MYSTERY’ boat has been discovered buried under years of mud and silt on the banks of the River Ilen in Skibeereen.

The remains of the boat were exposed while contractors continued the town’s flood relief work this week.

‘The bad weather and high tides have hampered us from getting a good look at what remains of the boat,’ Brendan Minihane of Cork County Council told The Southern Star. ‘We have very little information at the moment. However, the work to uncover the boat below an old quay wall at the Marsh, by archaeologist Julianna O’Donoghue and her team, is about to get underway and we will have more information about the boat as soon as this is completed.’

The discovery has generated a lot of interest, and different theories about the boat, and what it was used for, are being discussed.

‘I am convinced it’s a “sand boat”,’ Skibbereen resident and former town councillor Frank Fahy said. ‘That section of the Marsh, where the quay wall is and where the boat was discovered, was owned by Miss May Levis, whose father had a builders’ providers back in the late 1800s and into the early 1930s. They used to transport sand and other building materials upriver in flat-bottomed boats.’

However, identifying the remains of the boat at this point is proving difficult for Ms O’Donoghue and her team, as there is a lot of excavation work to be carried out first.

‘At the moment our plan is to uncover the remains first,’ Julianna said. ‘We are putting together a work plan and I have been in contact with the National Museum, the National Monument Service, and the contractor, so that we can proceed to the first stage of the project, which will be to uncover the boat. We’ll know more over the next few days.’



MARSHFIELD — The United Special Sportsman Alliance (USSA) is a nonprofit organization granting wishes in outdoor adventures for critically ill and disabled children and veterans. USSA operates similarly to programs such as Make-A-Wish but with a focus on the great outdoors.

“We specialize in the outdoors,” explained USSA Wisconsin State Representative John Haydock, “so we do things like hunting, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, some things that maybe they wouldn’t be able to get from another venue.”

Brigid O’Donoghue founded the organization in the hopes that she might remove these individuals from care facilities and take them to a place where they could “focus on the quality of life, family ties, and the wonders of our natural world.”

USSA operates with a volunteer staff and often relies on the generosity of “adventure donors” as well as the donations of private and corporate sponsors.

“There is no one (person) paid,” Haydock said. “This is a fully volunteer organization. There are no paid employees in the whole United Special Sportsman Alliance, so any donations that we get go directly towards wish granting. From Brigid on down, there is no pay.”

Many wishes are granted on a sprawling sportsmen’s complex near Pittsville. Others are taken as far as the Atlantic Ocean.

Each summer USSA hosts a Summerfest event where it welcomes participants from all around the country to participate in a multitude of outdoor activities, including a cranberry marsh tour, wagon ride, arts and crafts, horseback riding, fishing, archery, tubing, boating, volleyball, camping, entertainment, and more.

“They come from all over, and it is just a good time to reunite,” Haydock said. “We are kind of a family. We like to do that annually.

SALT LAKE CITY — Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue won the ice dance competition at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic on Saturday at the Salt Lake City Sports Complex, posting a score of 108.65 in Saturday’s free dance to go with the 71.15 they earned in Friday’s short dance.

Kaitlyn Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker of the United States earned a score of 96.90 in the free dance to edge Japan’s Kana Muramoto and Chris Reed for second place.

Saturday’s score in the free dance was the best for Hubbell and Donohue in international competition. With the Olympics looming in February in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the pair viewed the win in Salt Lake City as a nice stepping stone.

“Everything’s going to have to be more than a new personal best,” Donohue said.

Hubbell and Donohue finished sixth in the world in 2016, and have won the bronze medal at the U.S. Championships four times. Coming into Saturday’s free dance, they were focused on strong technique and not allowing their emotions to get the best of them on the ice.

Remember all of those Porsche Top 5 videos from this past year? The German automaker has been cranking them out to show off important pieces of its history, and also its future. You can't please everyone, though, so Porsche went back to its own well while listening to its fans to create a bonus video. This one shows off the three most requested hits from Porsche's history.

Up first is the Porsche 911 R. No, not the fancy new 991 version that is downright plentiful next to its vintage namesake. Back in 1967, Porsche produced just 19 examples of a race-ready variant of its 911. It was set apart from a standard car thanks to thin doors crafted from aluminum, twin-spark cylinder heads, and an engine producing 210 horsepower. It weighed less than 1,760 pounds as well. While the new 911 R is rare and impressive, the original from 1967 is damn-near priceless.

From a road-based racing car, Porsche moves to one with pure track-only intentions. One of the all-time greats in all of motorsport history is the Porsche 917. The example shown here is the 917/30 Spyder used for Can-Am racing, and it's the most powerful car Porsche ever produced. George Follmer had some success with it, but then Mark Donohue took one and won...well, pretty much everything. In the 1973 season, Donohue won every race but two.

Donohue had the help of a flat 12-cylinder engine that was capable of producing nearly 1,600 horsepower. It was such a dominant machine that the SCCA changed some rules to help out everyone not using a Porsche 917. As it should, Porsche gives us a few moments of the 917/30's uninterrupted soundtrack on a racetrack.

Finally, the Porsche Top 5 (3) crew brings out a bit of a spoiler. Literally. It's the famed Whale Tail from the Porsche 930. That's what we called it in the States, but it seems Germany has always had a better name for the rear end of the 930 Turbo. I'm not going to spoil that one for you, so hit play and watch the bonus video above.

You'll get some other details on the 930 Turbo as well. The first-generation Turbo had a wider body and wider front and rear spoilers, and only 2,850 were built before it went out of production in 1977.

This video was produced as a bonus for the first season. Porsche promises a second season of its Top 5 videos is also coming. We're looking forward to it.


Gerry Donahue plans to celebrate her 100th birthday in style Saturday.

Her son, Dennis Donahue, 75, will take her flying in his airplane in the morning, then for a drive in a 1970 Oldsmobile 98 convertible in the afternoon. Of course, she has done both of those things before.

“I’ve flown with Denny a lot,” Gerry Donahue said Thursday. “He’s an excellent pilot. I wouldn’t fly with him if he weren’t.”

In fact, he took her for a ride in his plane on his 75th birthday in April. But she hasn’t ridden in a convertible for ages, she said.

Gerry Donahue, seated, and her son, Dennis Donahue, stand beside his plane Thursday afternoon outside a hangar at Forbes Field. They will celebrate Gerry Donahue’s 100th birthday Saturday with a flight and a drive in a convertible.


Anne Marie Dunphy was crowned national champion at the Dressage Ireland championships at the Cavan Equestrian Centre on Saturday.

For the second year running, Dunphy won the Grand Prix with her 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Urbanus (by Ronaldo), once again beating Sandra Blake Farrell and Saint Emilion 2 into second place. Urbanus and Dunphy won the Intermediare II championship in Cavan on Friday.


While searching for my 2nd great grandfather Jeremiah D Donoghue 1835-1915,  I came across these 13 photos from that I thought you might like for your new site.

If you would like to see any of them please contact Rod

Thanks to Jean Smoorenburg