The O'Donoghue Society

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


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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

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.

Brian Harold Donohoe was honoured as a Knight Bachelor for parliamentary and political service in the UK's mid term awards

Per Wikipedia: Sir Brian Harold Donohoe (born 10 September 1948) is a former Scottish Labour Party politician and former trade union official, who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Central Ayrshire from 2005 until losing his seat in 2015.   Prior to constituency boundary changes in 2005, he was MP for Cunninghame South and was first elected in 1992
Contributed by Kieran McNamara

Something of mild interest for you: a new French beer, brewed by a Donohue:


I haven't tried it but I shall do my very best to do so soon.

From their web site


Nous existons pour creer des experiences gustatives

et encourager des relations profondes et durables.

We exist to create taste experiences and to encourage deep and lasting relationships





Martin O'Neill and RTE soccer correspondent Tony O'Donoghue were involved in some very tetchy exchanges during the Derry native's five-year term in charge of the Republic of Ireland.

O'Neill famously accused O'Donoghue of a 'verbal attack' after Ireland's 5-1 World Cup playoff defeat to Denmark last year following the UEFA Nations League draw back in January.

It wasn't the first time that O'Neill that they had been involved in tense interviews but it certainly was the most memorable.

Reacting to the news of O'Neill's departure on Today with Sean O'Rourke on RTE Radio One, O'Donoghue said: "The reporter should never be the story, should they, and in that instance I was only trying to ask questions in that I expected the viewers and listeners wanted asked.

"He's a man who is sensitive to criticism and that's just not to me or to RTE, but I mean, recently we haven't had the live rights and I've seen him take offence to other reporters as well.

"Right back through his career, when he was a player with Nottingham Forest, people would write letters to the local newspaper and he would take note of them and at the end of a good season with Nottingham Forest he would write back to them.

"So he bears grudges and didn't enjoy or take criticism, I suppose none of us, take criticism lightly. Again, that's another reason he was determined, I'd say, to stay on and to, I suppose, improve or leave a better legacy in his wake as Republic of Ireland manager."

O'Neill had been at the helm since 2013, leading the country to the last 16 of Euro 2016, and stands down by mutual consent after a disappointing UEFA Nations League campaign.

O'Donoghue did point out that there had been many memorable moments including the victory over then World champions Germany at the Aviva, the playoff win over Bosnia and the win over Italy at Euro 2016 that sent us through to the knockout stages of the competition.

"You have to look at the other side of it as well and say the games where he was in charge, there have been highlights... we did beat world champions Germany, we beat Bosnia, at a much higher seed than us, we beat Italy at the European Championship and, away from home, where we couldn't buy a win for years, we beat Austria.,"

"Those are things that will definitely go in the credit column. Although there's a lot in the debit as well."

October 8 2018

IF YOU LOOK out to the vastness of the Atlantic from the Mullet peninsula in northwest Mayo on a winter’s day, it can feel as if you’re perched at the edge of the world.

There are islands even further to the west, though, at the edge of the edge, many of them visible from the shore, depending on the weather. Among the larger are the Inishkea islands, north and south. Deserted today, they show signs of long habitation, and they were populated, although not necessarily continuously, since the Bronze Age. In 1855, 53 families were registered as living on the two islands, which were finally abandoned in the 1930s. The story of the islands, and the people who lived there latterly, provide the subject matter for artist Hughie O’Donoghue’s current exhibition, Last Days on the Islands, which can be seen at 29 Molesworth Street in Dublin.

O’Donoghue’s mother and her family were from northwest Mayo, “the Barony of Erris . . . the wildest, loneliest stretch of country to be found in all Ireland”, as the naturalist Robert Lloyd Praeger described it. O’Donoghue came to know the area through annual holiday visits. Some years ago, he and his wife Clare began looking for a house they might buy in the region. “We looked at a place on the shore of the Mullet. The house had been the home of a family of Inishkea islanders after they were taken off the islands. A house and a plot of land on the islands went with the house on the mainland.”

Since he began visiting islands off the west of Ireland, the harshness and beauty of the environment, and the elemental relationship of the inhabitants to the Atlantic, have increasingly interested him as a subject. He looked into the history of the Inishkeas. The most recent community to have inhabited the islands may have settled there sometime around the mid-18th century, or they may have been there longer. They earned a reputation as a tough, independent people who refused to pay taxes and elected their own leaders. They were skilled, keen-sighted sailors, known for their resourcefulness and their poitín-making. During the famine years they reputedly turned to piracy to survive – and survive they did

“There is also the Naomhóg,” O’Donoghue notes. The Naomhóg was a stone totem. For the islanders, it possessed talismanic properties. It was a charm and a protector and they looked after it carefully. The story got around that they were idolising the stone. In a manner of speaking, if the poitín brought the police to the islands, the Naomhóg brought the clergy.

The story goes that a priest arrived from the mainland and threw the stone into the sea. O’Donoghue’s paintings draw on the account of the Naomhóg as well as other elements in the accounts of the islands. “As with a lot of my work there is an imagined narrative.” The allegorical narrative he constructs refers to the symbolic role of the magic stone, the islanders’ efforts to maintain their freedom, and “the last days before the tragedy that struck in 1927”.

On the evening of October 27th that year, 60 men in 30 currachs set off fishing. It was unusually calm. Initially, they were unworried by the low pressure readings on their barometers, but instinct kicked in and most of the currachs turned for home. Six were still far out when a hurricane swept in from the southwest. Ten of the 12 in those currachs, mostly young men, perished, and just two made it to the mainland.

The tragedy, O’Donoghue says, “took the heart out of the islands and they never recovered”. Gradually the people looked to the mainland and were moved off the islands, often to houses on the sandy western shore of the Mullet, within sight of their old homes.

There are various documentary historical records of the Inishkeas. Brian Dornan’s book Mayo’s Lost Islands(Four Courts Press), and Rita Nolan’s Within the Mullet provide the fullest published accounts. There’s film of the islanders shot in 1908, when Norwegians set up a whaling station there. The project eventually came to grief because, reputedly, of the heated rivalry between North and South Inishkea. Earlier, in 1895, the ethnographer Charles Browne visited and took photographs of the islanders. The photographs, O’Donoghue says, “look like old fashioned anthropology”, in that they are very formalised, a bit like police mug-shots.

The islanders in their distinctive homespun, navy blue clothing, have a stubborn, weather-beaten look about them. These images provided “a loose starting point” for the paintings. “Some of them at least are smiling in the photographs,” notes O’Donoghue, but there is generally little in the way of expression. In his paintings, it is as if the heads are embedded in the landscape, recalling his treatment of the Iron Age preserved bog figures in an earlier series of works. Scraped into some of the surfaces are images of flowering plants that manage to gain a foothold in even the most challenging locations.

O’Donoghue has made 16 paintings so far on the subject of the islands – 12 of them are on view in his solo show, one is in the RHA Annual exhibition – and he plans to develop others. As is often the case with his work, it is tied to a specific place and to specific people and events, but it also allows much wider, allegorical readings. The idea of a community that loses the magic ingredient that holds it together, and loses the will to persevere, is as resonant and relevant today as ever, perhaps more so. But still, it would be nice if one day some of the work is shown in Mayo.

Last Days on the Islands, presented by Yello Gallery, is at 29 Molesworth Street, Dublin

The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and The New York Times ran editorials today opposing Brett Kavanaugh to be the next U.S. Supreme Court Justice. This is hardly surprising. What is most disturbing about them is their dishonesty: they fail to mention their real reason for opposing him — abortion.

The Los Angeles Times says that "We oppose Kavanaugh's nomination not because of his judicial philosophy," but because of "lingering doubts" about the allegations and his "evasive and intemperate testimony."

The Washington Post says that when Kavanaugh was chosen by President Trump, he "seemed to accomplished judge whom any conservative president might have picked," but "given Republicans' refusal to properly vet Mr. Kavanaugh, and given what we have learned about him during the process, we now believe it would be a serious blow to the court and the nation if he were confirmed."

The New York Times says that "President Trump has no shortage of highly qualified very conservative candidates to choose from, if he will look beyond this first, deeply compromised choice."

None of the editorials mentioned a word about Roe v. Wade, "reproductive rights," a "woman's right to choose," or abortion. Yet it was this issue that galvanized them to oppose Kavanaugh on July 10, the day after Trump chose him to be his nominee. Here is what they said.

"We worry about the future of reproductive freedom" is how The Los Angeles Times put it. The editorial in The Washington Post objected to Kavanaugh's "narrow view of what constitutes an undue burden on a woman's right to end her pregnancy." The New York Times left no one wondering what it thought: it ran four op-ed articles bemoaning Kavanaugh's views on abortion.

What makes this so nauseating is the fact that these same papers insist that the Catholic Church is hung up on sex. Nonsense. It is not the Church that is obsessed with sex — it's The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and, most especially, The New York Times. Their refusal to admit why they really oppose Kavanaugh only adds to their deceitfulness.

Dr. William Donohue is the president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. The publisher of the Catholic League journal, Catalyst, Donohue is a former Bradley Resident Scholar at the Heritage Foundation and served for two decades on the board of directors of the National Association of Scholars. He is the author of seven books, and the winner of several teaching awards and many awards from the Catholic community.

Friday 5 October 2018


Shakespeare’s R&J

Adapted by Joe Calarco
Directed by Jennifer M. Spieler

September 7th – 30th, 2018

A rigid boys boarding school becomes the setting for a powerful and unorthodox reenactment of Shakespeare’s immortal tale of doomed lovers breaking tradition, seeking forbidden desires, and painfully coming of age. This high-voltage, all-male adaptation of Romeo and Juliet becomes a provocative examination of adolescents declaring war on all the “thou shalt nots” in their stifling world.


Hot-blooded … wrenching … [it] pulsates with an adolescent abandon and electricity of which Romeo might approve.

New York Times

Cast List

  • Michael Bannigan as Student 1
  • Sam Cure as Student 2
  • Parker Damm as Student 4
  • Conor Donahue as Student 3


Sword Fighter wins the Queens Vase canny front running ride from Colm O'Donoghue

Huge congratulations to Epsom trainer Laura Mongan with Harbour Law finishing a close 2nd

Sword Fighter
© Caroline Norris
Sword Fighter

The Aidan O'Brien-trained Sword Fighter was a surprise winner of the the final race on day four of the Royal meeting.

Under a superb front-running ride by Colm O'Donoghue, the son of Galileo was able to fend off all challengers in the home straight to register a game three-quarter length success.

O'Donoghue, an integral part of the Ballydoyle operation, was registering his first Royal Ascot winner and was delighted the performance. He said: "I got it very easy in front to be fair and Sword Fighter stays well. He had won in heavy ground [Sligo 1 May] before, I know that was only a maiden but it helps and Aidan trains them for the day.

"It's ground that if you handle it, it is very hard to make up ground on it. Obviously, me and the second [Harbour Law] got into a nice position so once we were handling the ground it was going to take a good horse to get by us.

"Sword Fighter has done everything right. He settled and travelled and is not short of speed either. We picked up from a mile out and he was strong to the line.

"He has plenty of stamina and there are not many more superlatives you can give to Galileo. He is an unbelievable sire who gives them lots of heart a great action and speed and stamina.

"The St Leger could possibly suit him. It was one of those things where I got in a position where others were going to find it hard to get back to me. I'll leave the future up to Aidan."

The victory capped what has been a superb week for Ballydoyle so far with the colt's success the fifth for Aidan O'Brien at this year's meeting and his 53rd overall at Royal Ascot. O'Donoghue remarked: "It's very special and it's important to Mr Magnier, Mr Smith and Mr Tabor to come and here and have winners. They love this meeting and the horses are primed to win on the day. It is great to be part of it."