Daniel O'Donovan

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Daniel O'Donovan of Mahoonagh and Feenagh, was the hereditary chief of the remnants of the Ui- Donnabhain of the Uí Fidgenti,[1] and represented the Manor of Doneraile in James II's 1690 Patriot Parliament.[2]

By the mid 13th century, the Ui-Chairpre had devolved into the Ui-Donnabhain (composed primarily of Donovans) and the Ui-Chairpre (composed primarily of MacCarthys and Donovans, under the leadership of the MacCarthys). the Following the split of the Ui-Cairbre Aebhdha in 1283 arising from a contest between two MacCarthys, two O'Donovan septs, later Clan Cathail and Clan Lochlain, migrated into the southwest area of Cork where they may have eventually merged with O’Donnamhain's of Corca Laidhe. One other sept, represented by Daniel O'Donovan of Feenagh and descended from Eneislis O'Donovan, allied with the Ango-Norman overlords and remained in the historical territory of the Ui-Fidgheinte, which reached from Muscry Ganogh, west of Kilmallock through the plains of the Shannon, and included Adare, Askearton, Croom, Bruree, Newcastle West and Newcastle Kenry. This sept of the O'Donovans was still resident in the geographical territory of the Fidgheinte in 1549, as noted in the Calendar of the Carew Manuscripts which listed O'Donnowayne of Synganyge.[3]

Daniel O'Donovan, Esq.,was born about 1630, and was transplanted to Clare in 1655. His father, Donnel M'Donevan, of Cloncagh, was pardoned in 1601 for his involvement in the then recent rebellions arising from the Desmond Wars and subsequent upheavals. His near kinsman, of the northern Donovan septs, were also pardoned. Although the northern septs of the Donovans were not involved in the 1641 massacres of Protestants (unlike the southern Donovans of Clan Cathal, which had numerous depositions against them to their discredit), their history of a descent from an Irish chief ensured their selection for transplantation. One of the first acts of the 1689 Parliament was to pass an act to restore to the transplanted proprietors their lands taken in the mid-1650s, which act was reversed and denounced by the subsequent parliament.

The MacCarthys which remained in their historical territory following the 1283 split went on to become Clan Donogh, and were Lords of Muscrery, the wealthiest of the three McCarthy clans in 1560. Following the distribution of lands to English adventurers after the Desmond rebellion in 1584, combined with the famine and desolation of the country following the Desmond rebellion, the fortunes and land holdings of those that had remained in their historical territories declined greatly. The MacCarthy's, Lords of Muscrery, fell victim to an almost complete elimination of their wealth, and the two southern branches of the MacCarthys (MacCarthy Mor and MacCarthy Reagh) and their O'Donovan allies (Clan Cathail and Clan Lochlain) became the dominant force in the Cork and Skibbereen areas.

By 1601, the O'Donovans which had remained in the Ui-Fidgheinte territory were of little consequence. Donnel M'Donevan, son of Donnogh O'Donnowayne, relocated several miles to Cloncagh, but did not obtain any significant land holdings. The redistribution of Desmond lands in 1585-1588 had effectively ended any significant land holdings of the northern septs of the O'Donovans. The O'Donovans of Limerick and Kenry, whose family histories clearly note they had never migrated into the Cork area, all share a common thread - the absence of any significant land holdings after 1500.

After the surrender of clan lands from 1591 through 1615, the families of the then Chiefs were established as the leading O'Donovan families. The disenfranchising of the septs from their lands (which totaled approximately 100,000 acres (400 km2) between Clan Cathail and Clain Lochlain) marked an end of an era. Three generations later, there was an attempt to resurrect the sept structure in connection with the King James II revolt. The approximately 224 members of the 1690 House of Commons represented a form of clan representation, and were the last vestiges of structured clan organizations in Ireland.

There were three O'Donovan members of the 1690 House of Commons: Daniel O'Donovan (MP Baltimore), of Clan Cathail, Jeremiah O'Donovan (MP Baltimore), of Clan Lochlain, both represented Baltimore, and Daniel O'Donovan, grandson of Donnel M'Donevan, represented the manor of Doneraile. Daniel O'Donovan, noted as an Esquire of Gallinlaghlin, was outlawed in 1691 following the Parliament, along with his brother, William.[4]

Despite the similarity of names, O'Donovan of Gallinlaghlin was not a member of Clan Lochlain, which was represented by Jeremy O'Donovan.

Descendents of Daniel O'Donovan of Feenagh went on to found the monastery of Roscrea and distinguish themselves in political and business ventures in southern Ireland, Canada and the United States. Daniel's granddaughter by his son Thomas, Ann O'Donovan (1702-1768) married Captain Thomas Maynard, whose brother Robert Maynard gained fame as a result of his victory over the pirate Blackbeard.

Daniel O'Donovan, Esq., member of Parliament for the Manor of Doneraile, was attainted as a result of his activity and participation in the 1689 Parliament.

Daniel O'Donovan, gent., whom represented Baltimore in the 1690 Parliament, was a great grandson of Donal of the Hides. Ultimately, his direct line terminated in the mid-19th century, at which time the senior line of the descendents of Donal transferred to the descendents of Teige O'Donovan, younger brother to Donal III O'Donovan and thus uncle to Daniel O'Donovan, member for Baltimore in the 1690 Parliament.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Genealogical Memoir of the O'Donovans, by Rev. Michael O'Donovan, published 1902
  2. ^ Genealogical Memoir, Rev. Michael O'Donovan, published 1902, C.L. Non & Sons
  3. ^ Genealogical Memoir, Rev. Michael O'Donovan, published 1902, C.L. Non & Sons, Ch. V
  4. ^ 'Irish Pardons Of King James II, 1685-1699, Outlawed Or Pardoned By King William III, 1689-99' (List from Trinity College, Dublin, MSS N.1.3., Analecta Hibernia, No. 22 1960) originally published in O Kief, etc, Vol. 6
  • Rev. Michael O'Donovan, Genealogical Memoir of the O'Donovan. C.L. Nono and Sons, Ennis, Ireland, 1902.

Further reading[edit]