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.

In order to post you must be logged in.  This is necessary to avoid spam type attacks on site.

Plans to reintroduce the Eurasian lynx 1,300 years after it became extinct in the UK will be submitted soon, campaigners have said.

The Lynx UK Trust wants to import up to six of the cats from Sweden to Kielder Forest in Northumberland.

With a public consultation over, the trust said the five year trial plan would go to Natural England by September.

It has been criticised by some residents and sheep farmers.

The scheme would see four to six lynx wearing radio tracking devices with Kielder chosen due to its dense woodland and low number of roads.

The trust said the animals would help control deer numbers as well provide a tourism boost.

Dr Paul O'Donoghue, the chief scientific advisor, from the trust told the Guardian the lynx "belongs here" and is an "intrinsic part of the the UK environment".

He also told the paper he hoped the lynx could be in the forest by the end of the year.

Sheep farmers fear the animals could target their livestock although the trust said the cats would hunt in woods rather than fields.

The trust did admit, however, that some sheep could be killed but farmers would be "generously compensated" for any losses.

'Unnecessary pain'

Phil Stocker, chief executive of the National Sheep Association, said there were several hundred sheep farmers around Kielder, any one of whom could be affected by the lynx.

He said valuing a sheep was complex and, money aside, there were major welfare concerns.

Mr Stocker said people would not accept animals facing "unnecessary pain" and one sheep being attacked by a lynx could cause major stress and possible damage to others in the flock.

He said the UK no longer had the "landscape" for the lynx to be "genetically sustainable" and it would not be in the cat's interest to be reintroduced into an environment that, thanks to roads and industry, has changed so much since the cat existed here.


Thu, Jun 29, 2017, 06:00

The answer, of course, is that “it depends”. It depends on how you measure popularity. Sales? Number of copies published?

One way of measuring popularity is to look at library holdings: the number of appearances by an author or work in library collections worldwide. Libraries reflect popular interest. However, they also reflect scholarly interest and have collected the published output of nations over time. Library collections are where world literature is stewarded and defined.

Using WorldCat, a database of library catalogues, we can actually look at aggregate library holdings from around the world. WorldCat is produced by OCLC, a global library co-operative headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, working with individual libraries and library organisations. It knows about the collections of more than 16,000 libraries, representing about 400 million publications or other individually catalogued items (maps, CDs, etc), which in turn represent about 2.5 billion holdings in individual libraries. WorldCat is probably the best approximation we have anywhere to the published record.

So what does WorldCat say? Library data tells us that Jonathan Swift is the most popular Irish author, and the work for which he is best known, Gulliver’s Travels, is the most popular work by an Irish author in world literature.

Our findings certainly confirm the remarks of Dr Aileen Douglas, Head of the School of English at Trinity College Dublin, in The Irish Times recently. “Gulliver’s Travels belongs not just to Irish literature, but to world literature and its relevance only increases over time.” It is a particularly timely finding as Dublin is marking the 350th anniversary of Swift’s birth with its Swift350 celebration throughout 2017.

Rounding out the top five most popular works by an Irish author are Dracula by Bram Stoker; The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith; The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde; and Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer. Oscar Wilde, Eve Bunting [born in Maghera in 1928, the US-based author of more than 250 novels, most for children], George Bernard Shaw and Oliver Goldsmith follow Swift in the ranking of the top five most popular Irish authors.

These findings confirm the strong literary focus in the Irish published record. Works of the imagination feature very strongly in Irish literature. Similar work in Scotland for example shows the importance of Robert Louis Stevenson and Walter Scott, but also underlines the preponderance of David Hume, Adam Smith and other writers of the Scottish Enlightenment. The Scottish published record has a rather different profile. The most widely held “non-fiction” works by Irish authors are by Edmund Burke and George Berkeley.

An approach based on library holdings favours classics – works that are now published in multiple versions, are translated, are retold for younger readers and are widely distributed in core collections.

We can correct for this by limiting the analysis to a particular time period. So, for example the most popular contemporary (ie born after 1945) authors are Eoin Colfer, Darren Shan, Alister McGrath [Belfast-born Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University], John Connolly, Roddy Doyle, Michael Scott, Cecelia Ahern, Colm Tóibín, Marian Keyes and Emma Donoghue. It is interesting to see the strong presence on the list of young adult fantasy fiction authors, alongside more broadly known names.

We can also correct by looking at particular time slices – looking at materials only published in a specified period. So, limiting to materials published between 1900 and 1904, the most popular authors (or other creators associated with works, such as musicians or performers) are George Bernard Shaw, Oliver Goldsmith, Oscar Wilde, James Bryce, WB Yeats, LT Meade, Jonathan Swift, Charles Lever, Justin McCarthy, and Charles Villiers Stanford.

Jumping forward to the period 1950 to 1954, one sees Joyce Cary, Cecil Day Lewis and Elizabeth Bowen join Shaw, Wilde, Swift, Joyce, Yeats and Goldsmith. Also featuring here is Jimmy Kennedy, the lyricist who put words to Teddy Bears’ Picnic. Iris Murdoch, Sheridan Le Fanu and Norma Burrowes feature among others in the 1975 to 1979 list. Moving forward to 2000-2004, Maeve Binchy, Eoin Colfer, Bram Stoker and Marian Keyes join Wilde, Shaw, Swift, Joyce and Yeats. We also see the first appearance of Samuel Beckett.

So again, we can see the dominance of now classic authors. However, it is also interesting to see the time-bound reputation of the once popular Justin McCarthy or James Bryce. Of particular note is how reputations can fluctuate. LT Meade was a prolific Victorian writer of children’s literature and detective stories. Her work recently saw a modest revival of interest as one of her creations featured in the TV show, the Rivals of Sherlock Holmes. More starkly, Sheridan Le Fanu and Bram Stoker are much more popular now than they were when they were writing.

Library collections are also important repositories of music and films. What is the most popular Irish musical work? Astral Weeks by Van Morrison, followed by Watermark and A Day Without Rain by Enya. And film? Not unsurprisingly, The Quiet Man, followed by Philomena, My Left Foot, The Crying Game and Once.

These findings are part of OCLC Research’s continuing work exploring cultural patterns and trends through library bibliographic and holdings data. This is a form of “reading at scale”, identifying patterns in how countries project their cultural, intellectual, literary and musical traditions through the published record. OCLC Research has developed methods for identifying a national presence in the published record, encompassing materials that are published in, are authored by people from, and/or are about a particular country. We rely on WorldCat for library data and use DBpedia, a more structured version of Wikipedia data, to identify Irish authors. We define Ireland as the island of Ireland. Earlier studies have applied these methods to Scotland and New Zealand. We will publish a report on our Irish work, authored by research scientist Brian Lavoie, later this year. I presented preliminary findings from the Irish study at the recent CONUL annual conference in Athlone. CONUL is a consortium of Ireland’s main research libraries.
Lorcan Dempsey is vice-president, membership and research, and chief strategist, OCLC

Irish authorities say they have clinched deals with more than a dozen London-based banks and finance houses to move some of their operations to Dublin in preparation for Brexit.

As Dublin continues to battle with Frankfurt, Luxembourg and Paris for the Brexit spoils, the head of international financial services at Ireland’s Industrial Development Authority said definitive decisions had now been taken on an Irish location by these firms.

Kieran Donoghue said these included “one American bank” with each firm looking at offices ranging in size from 10 to 500 staff.

All banks and financial services operations are obliged by regulators to be “day one ready” for Brexit at the end of March 2019. But with the time needed for banking licence applications, securing real estate, trading floors and having credit ratings in place by then, contingency plans need to be complete in the next few weeks.

The Bank of England has told financial firms to provide it with details of their Brexit plans by July 14th and to be ready for all possible outcomes, including a hard Brexit.

Mr Donoghue said the IDA had fielded more than 80 inquiries since the referendum last June.


The Minister for Expenditure and Reform says the new Lansdowne Road Extension is a good deal that makes sense for the whole country.

Minister Paschal Donohoe has again urged unions to accept the new public service pay deal which he says is a fair and affordable programme.

Balloting will take place in the weeks and months ahead, and the Minister is hopeful of getting the deal through.

"Over a three-year period it offers a good plan in terms of how we want to manage wages for our entire economy and it makes really big progress on dealing with the issue of how we fund public pensions in the future," he said.

"Over that three-year period, I believe that this is a sensible and affordable plan which is why we are recommending it to the unions and I'll be taking it to Government tomorrow."

Galway boss Micheal Donoghue admitted that his side had to overcome some rustiness before finding their stride against Dublin yesterday.

In the end it was a handsome 14-point victory with the result effectively sealed from early in the second half though Donoghue lamented his side throwing Dublin a lifeline just before half-time.
The battle to oust the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) from its stronghold of Raqqa is creating daunting challenges for aid groups responding to the latest humanitarian crisis in the Syrian conflict.

Tens of thousands of civilians have fled Raqqa and its surroundings since the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) began its operation to capture the jihadist stronghold last year.

But new waves of displacement are expected as the battle inside the city progresses.

A key problem is getting aid supplies to the relatively remote desert region in Syria’s north, with just a trickle of assistance currently crossing from neighboring Turkey and Iraq.

“There is supply but it’s very, very limited and the needs of the population are very high,” said Puk Leenders, emergency coordinator for northern Syria for the group Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

The United Nations, which operates inside Syria with government permission, has been able to airlift supplies to the city of Qamishli, northeast of Raqqa, from government-held Damascus.

But “this offered limited capacity and was insufficient to meet all needs”, said David Swanson, regional spokesman for the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The U.N. is now hoping to start transporting aid from Aleppo to Qamishli, a distance of more than 400 kilometers, but the route must first be tested for security, said Swanson.

An estimated 300,000 civilians once lived under ISIL rule in Raqqa, including 80,000 displaced from other parts of Syria before the group seized the city.

Tens of thousands fled Raqqa and surrounding areas as the SDF closed in on the jihadist bastion.

The U.N. estimates more than 169,000 people fled Raqqa city and its environs in April and May alone, and thousands of displaced civilians are now living in overcrowded and underresourced camps.

In Ain Issa, 50 kilometers north of Raqqa, new arrivals say they are sleeping on the ground, with neither mattresses under them nor tents overhead.

“There are now more than 25,000 people in the Ain Issa camp, which was built with a capacity of 10,000,” camp director Jalal Ayyaf told AFP.

“International organizations are providing support, but it’s not sufficient for the numbers who are arriving.”

MSF’s Leenders said up to 800 people were arriving at Ain Issa each day, and many more people were simply sleeping on roadsides or under trees in the countryside north of the city.

The “highly volatile security situation” is another major concern for aid groups working in the region, said Paul Donohoe, senior media officer at the International Rescue Committee NGO.

“We know that there are many mines and IEDs (improvised explosive devices), there is also the risk of ISIL attacks and there have been reports of some fleeing civilians being killed by coalition air strikes.”

“It is thought up to half the population of Raqqa could ultimately flee the city and they will still be very vulnerable to mines and IS snipers, as well as air strikes.”

Arriving civilians are already presenting health problems ranging from dehydration to untreated chronic illness.

And aid groups expect an uptick in wounded arrivals as the fighting intensifies.

MSF is establishing stabilization points near the frontline to provide emergency care to keep the seriously injured alive until they reach hospitals.

But there is a severe shortage of qualified medical staff in the region, Leenders said, and medical facilities have also been affected by the fighting.

“Hospitals are being mined and it’s really difficult to start those back up because they need to be demined... It can be extremely challenging.”

The most difficult problem of all may simply be reaching those in need.

“Many people fleeing... initially end up in locations too close to the frontline for aid agencies to safely respond,” said Donohoe.

And others cannot leave at all, with ISIL reportedly using threats, arrests and violence to prevent civilians fleeing.

Those who do escape risk unexploded ordnance en route, and the threat of being mistaken for fleeing ISIL fighters by SDF forces or the U.S.-led coalition.

MSF warned last week that civilians in the city faced “impossible choices.”

“Either they stay in Raqqa, subjecting their children to increased violence and air strikes, or they take them over the frontline, knowing they will need to cross minefields and may be caught in the crossfire.”
McMECHEN — Almost 62 years ago, three local parish priests had a dream for a Catholic high school in Marshall County, which came to fruition as Bishop Donahue Memorial High School in 1955.

However, after the sudden announcement over the winter that the school would close after classes ended this year, the community is now left with a vacant structure and no answers regarding the building’s future.


During the early 1950s, Wheeling had two Catholic high schools, but few students from Moundsville, McMechen and Benwood could afford to attend. In 1952, the Most Rev. John J. Swint, bishop of Wheeling; the Rev. Benjamin F. Farrell, pastor at St. Francis in Moundsville; the Rev. Joseph J. Daly, pastor at St. James Catholic Church of McMechen; and Rev. John J. Griffin, pastor at St. John Catholic Church in Benwood, formed a partnership to make the dream Bishop Donahue a reality. They purchased property adjacent to St. James Church, McMechen, midway between Moundsville and Benwood. The doors were first opened in September 1955 to an enrollment of 43 freshmen, who made up the first class of Bishops.

A few years later, 35 students became the first graduates in 1959.

During the first years of the school’s history, Sister Mary Gilbert and Sister Ellen Francis, both natives of Brooklyn and faithful Dodgers fans, taught all subjects to the new freshmen for the school’s initial two years.

What’s Next?

Last month, Bishop Donahue graduated its final class, following the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston’s decision to close the school, announced in January. The historic building’s future is now uncertain.

According to Tim Bishop, marketing and communications director for the diocese, no decisions have been made regarding the McMechen structure. Bishop previously stated the diocese had no plans to sell the building, and said it would continue to be used for “educational” purposes.

“There are no current plans for use of the building,” Bishop said. “I know that the principal and many of the teachers are still in the building collecting paperwork and tying up loose ends.”

A sports uniform giveaway is also planned for June 8 from 6-8 p.m. at the school. It will be held on a first-come, first-served basis for student-athletes and alumni.

Some educators at Bishop Donahue already have moved on to find other employment. This past week, science teacher Jarett Kuhns was hired by the Diocese of Steubenville as principal of St. John Central Elementary and High School in Bellaire.

And Bishop Donahue guidance counselor and religion teacher Amy Granato will soon begin employment at Weirton Madonna High School as a religion teacher, but said she will never forget Bishop Donahue’s impact.

She said Bishop Donahue staff are currently archiving transcripts and records for storage, to be completed by June 30.

“They can shut the building, but they can’t snuff out the spirit of this community and family. It just isn’t going to happen,” she said. “Our kids are still going to be who they are and they will take Bishop Donahue with them wherever they are. They will bring the spirit of the school to all of those other schools.”

Keeping a Legacy Alive

Anna Lehew, a member of the Save Bishop Donahue Foundation, recently said students are making an effort to keep the school’s Blessing Box, an outdoor food pantry, open. It will remain stocked throughout the summer, as it is housed outside of St. James Church.

“This is a perfect example of what Donahue teaches — to be a vessel for God and to serve others,” Lehew said. “This was their concern (on the last day of school), to not leave the Blessing Box empty. This is what sets this school apart from others. They didn’t learn to serve from their shepherd in Wheeling, they learned this in between the walls of that tiny school.”

Graduating senior Junior Holmes said his last day at school was bittersweet.

“It’s somewhat difficult and somewhat peaceful,” Holmes said. “I’m moving on now into my life, but at the same time I’ll miss going through the halls and knowing who everyone is. I know most of the students aren’t going to have that at other schools.”

Soon-to-be junior Josie Purpura will attend The Linsly School this fall after spending two years at Bishop Donahue.

“It’s really sad,” Purpura said. “I’m friends with everyone here and we will be split up. There won’t be as much time to hang out with everyone.”


An 'All-Star Benefit & Tribute to Jerry Donahue' took place on Tuesday 28th April 2017 at BOGIES, 32001 Agoura Road, Westlake Village, CA91361. Hosted by Freebo (world-renowned bassist, singer/songwriter) the show will feature Albert Lee, Laurence Juber, Carl Verheyen John Jorgenson and Peter Asher. Also as part of the night signed guitars were auctioned to help raise precious funds.

Jerry is battling the effects of a recent massive stroke and there is no better way to help out than by presenting an evening of music he loves performed by his friends and peers to raise some money.


Brendan O’Donoghue regained the Irish National Senior Championship after a 7-3 victory over Rodney Goggins at the Ivy Rooms on Sunday.

Goggins O'Donoghue 17

O’Donoghue, second from right, completed the hat-trick in Carlow. Photo credit: PJ Nolan

The Nenagh native had been one of the pre-tournament favourites after a strong season which saw him capture two out of the six previous ranking events this term.

After emerging from an extremely tight and tense semi-final tussle with Tom O’Driscoll 6-5, O’Donoghue recovered from a slow start in the final to claim his third domestic championship.

It places the 34 year-old, who enjoyed prior successes in 2003 and 2015, on a par with the likes of TJ Dowling, David Morris, and Vinnie Muldoon.

O’Donoghue is now one behind Martin McCrudden’s tally of four, which stands as the modern day record for most national crowns.

The former European Championship runner-up pocketed €1,000 for his efforts and also finished the season as the top ranked player in the country.

Goggins, national champion 17 years ago, had dispatched of defending champion Dowling in the last 16 before comprehensive thrashings of Colm Gilcreest and Philip O’Connor.

In the final showdown, Goggins established an early 2-0 lead but could only muster one additional frame as O’Donoghue took control.


Only fragments and substitutes of the 1821-51 Irish censuses survive. Search surviving records online at FindMyPast