The Society’s Patron


The O’Donoghue of the Glens

Geoffrey Vincent Paul 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. 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 ‘.

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 BAC 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 is now retired. He married Frances Kelly in 1963 and has seven children and eleven grandchildren. 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.

Specific research interests