Donell Dubh Ó Cathail

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Donell Dubh Ó Cathail
Born County Cork, Ireland
Occupation(s) Harpist, possibly to a royal court
Instruments Harp

Donell Dubh Ó Cathail (c. 1560s–c.1660), Irish musician.


Ó Cathail was the son of a Cormac Ó Cathail, and a nephew or close relative of the Donell Óge Ó Cathail, harper to Elizabeth I. Apparently, harping was the family profession. The family were attached to the family of Viscount Buttevant, Lord Barry or Barrymore.

The family may not have been native to County Cork, as Ó Cathail is the name of unrelated families which originated separately in Galway, Clare, Kerry, Tipperary and Ulster.

His wife was Ellen (alive 1664), daughter of Charles MacCarthy and a granddaughter of Richard Barry of Ballinaltig. His known children were:

  • David Óg (1586–1604), who had a son, David fitz David Ó Cathail, born 10 March 1605. The child's mother was Ellis, daughter of Richard, Lord Poer.
  • James (died 1609)
  • Ellen, married Garret fitz John Barry of Leamlara; their descendants were still extant in the 1900s.
  • Lodowick, fl. 1621-c.1654.
  • Daniel Óge, fl. 1635–1663.
  • Richard, fl. 1637.
  • Michael, a minor in the 1650s, alive in the 1690s.

See also[edit]


  • Daniel Duff O'Cahill (c.1580-c.1660), The Queen's Harper, Sean Donnelly, in Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, pp. 1–26, volume 105, 2000.
  • Music and musicians in medieval Irish society, Ann Buckley, pp. 165–190, Early Music xxviii, no.2, May 2000
  • Music in Prehistoric and Medieval Ireland, Ann Buckley, pp. 744–813, in A New History of Ireland, volume one, Oxford, 2005