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Donoghue or O'Donoghue is an Irish surname, an Anglicized form of the Gaeilge Ó Donnchadha or Ó Donnchú ‘descendant of Donnchadh’, a personal name composed of the elements donn = ‘brown-haired man’ or ‘lord’ + cath = ‘battle’. Dochartach which means hurtful or obstructive.

Spelling variations (which include an initial "Ó" or omit it) include Donoghue, Donaghoe, Donoughe, Donaho, Donahoe, Donough, Donahue, Donahow, Doneghoe, Donehue, Donighue, Donoho, Donohoe, Donahugh, Donohough, Donohow, Donohue, Donaughue, Donaghie, Donaghy, Doughue, Dougue and many more. Some of these variations exist also in Northern Ireland and Scotland, with the same elemental meaning in Scots Gaelic.

The O'Donoghue name is first found in County Kerry, Ireland, where they held and still hold a family seat, O'Donoghue of the Glens, from very ancient times (14th - 17th centuries). This family is associated with two powerful ancient kingdoms of Munster, Eóganacht Raithlind and Eóganacht Locha Léin, having migrated from the former to conquer the latter.

See the main article, Eóganachta, for further discussion on the O'Donoghues and their relations.

The Scottish Clan Robertson, anciently known as Clann Dhonnchaidh, 'Children of Donnchadh' is of separate origin, though of the same elemental meaning in Scots Gaelic.

People with the surname O'Donoghue[edit]

Daniel P O'Donoghue Principal Lecturer in Geography at Canterbury Christ Church University, UK

In entertainment, sports, activism

See also[edit]

Other Munster families


  • Byrne, Francis J., Irish Kings and High-Kings. Four Courts Press. 2nd edition, 2001.
  • Curley, Walter J.P., Vanishing Kingdoms: The Irish Chiefs and their Families. Dublin: Lilliput Press. 2004.
  • MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families: Their Names, Arms and Origins. Irish Academic Press. 4th edition, 1998.