Patrick O'Donoghue (Young Irelander)

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Patrick O'Donoghue

Patrick O'Donoghue (died 1854), also known as Patrick O'Donohoe or O'Donoghoe, from Clonegal, County Carlow, was an Irish Nationalist revolutionary and journalist, a member of the Young Ireland movement.

Early life[edit]

Born to a peasant family in County Carlow, O'Donoghue was self educated. He managed to gain a place at Trinity College Dublin.[1] He worked as a Law Clerk in Dublin.

Young Irelander Rebellion[edit]

In the aftermath of the failed Young Irelander Rebellion at Ballingarry, County Tipperary, in July 1848, he was placed in October 1848 before a British 'Special Commission' at Clonmel in County Tipperary and sentenced to death for treason. As with other prominent Young Irelanders, this was later commuted to transportation for life to the penal colony at Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania).

Transportation to Van Diemen's Land[edit]

Trial of the Irish patriots at Clonmel. Thomas Francis Meagher, Terence MacManus, and Patrick O'Donoghue receiving their sentence of death.

In 1849 O'Donoghue, together with William Smith O'Brien, Terence MacManus, Thomas Francis Meagher and many others were on board the prisoner transport ship the Swift for a six-month, 14,000-mile journey under difficult conditions which some fellow prisoners did not survive.[2]

On 26 January 1850, "Using materials he had begged and borrowed" as one account gives it (see [1]), Patrick O'Donoghue started publishing in Hobart Town a weekly newspaper named The Irish Exile, aimed mainly at fellow Irish prisoners and deportees and considered to be the first Irish Nationalist paper to be published in Australia.[3][4]

The paper featured Irish ballads and poetry, articles about Irish history, and a regular column by John Martin reporting on the situation of the Repeal Movement (campaigning to repeal the Act of Union under which the Irish Parliament had been abolished). There were also local news of the Irish deportee community, then numbering in the thousands, and of Hobart Town daily life in general.

O'Donoghue used The Irish Exile to publish excerpts of his journal aboard The Swift, which were reprinted in Australian, British and Irish newspapers.[3][5] Brisbane's The Moreton Bay Courier (reprinted from Dublin's The Nation) found that the journal "will show how severely the tyrannical government of England visited the offences of the Ballingarry cabbage-tree heroes. The studies of Messrs. O'Brien, Meagher (afterwards O'), and O'Donoghoe, will amuse the reader".[5] While in Van Diemen's Land, the Launceston Examiner reprinted London's The Examiner's view that "a singularly large amount of mercy has been shown to those grown-up children who made the escapade from Dublin to raise the standard of Irish rebellion at Ballingarry. One of the worthies, Mr. Patrick O'Donoghue, has published an account of his deportation; and certainly a more pleasureable [sic] voyage could not have been under taken at the expanse of government. A roomy cabin, a capital library, a fair dinner, with a couple of glasses of wine, and cigars upon deck, from the dietary and the entertainment of the political exiles".[3]

Publication of the paper was not in itself illegal, but was highly displeasing to the Governor, Sir William Denison, who found that the paper could be suppressed by arresting O'Donoghue and charging him with having "left his allocated district". He was sentenced to one year's work in a chain-gang – a time spent at hard labour, living in a convict station and wearing a convict uniform, mainly in the company of non-political prisoners such as "rapists, muggers and thieves".

In March 1851 he was released and taken back to Hobart Town. Undeterred, he immediately restarted his paper, prominently featuring an extensive personal account of his year with the chain gang. The governor reacted by sending him again to a chain gang, at a more distant location this time – the Cascades Penal Station. Three months later the governor ordered him released from there and sent to Launceston.

On the way there, he succeeded in escaping from his guards with the help of fellow-prisoners, who managed to smuggle him on board the ship Yarra Yara, on its way to Melbourne.

Escape to America[edit]

There, he successfully hid from the British authorities (who may have been tacitly happy to see the last of him) and with further help from Irish sympathisers managed to get to San Francisco, where some of his fellows such as MacManus and Meagher also ended up.

He died in New York City on 22 January 1854, shortly before the arrival of his wife on a ship from Ireland. The time spent in the chain gang may have contributed to undermining his health. The other escaped state prisoners did not attend his funeral, although Michael Doheny and Michael Cavanagh, fellow Young Irelanders who lived in New York, did. Christine Kinealy, 'Repeal and Revolution. 1848 in Ireland', Manchester University Press, 2009.

The local Sinn Féin Cumman (branch of a political party) in Carlow is named after O'Donoghue.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nine Fine Irishmen Ballingarry History
  2. ^ "A Conspirator's Journal". Launceston Examiner. National Library of Australia. 25 May 1850. p. 4 Edition: Morning. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "Old and Young Ireland Again". The Examiner. Launceston. Tasmania: National Library of Australia. 22 May 1850. p. 4 Edition: Morning. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  4. ^ "Important from Van Diemen's Land". South Australian Register. Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 2 March 1850. p. 2. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Frightful Tyranny of the British Government – The Case of Mr. Patrick O'Donoghue". The Moreton Bay Courier. Brisbane: National Library of Australia. 11 May 1850. p. 4. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • The Politics of Irish Literature: from Thomas Davis to W.B. Yeats, Malcolm Brown, Allen & Unwin, 1973.
  • John Mitchel, A Cause Too Many, Aidan Hegarty, Camlane Press.
  • Thomas Davis, The Thinker and Teacher, Arthur Griffith, M. H. Gill & Son 1922.
  • Brigadier-General Thomas Francis Meagher His Political and Military Career, Capt. W. F. Lyons, Burns Oates & Washbourne Limited 1869
  • Young Ireland and 1848, Dennis Gwynn, Cork University Press 1949.
  • Daniel O'Connell The Irish Liberator, Dennis Gwynn, Hutchinson & Co, Ltd.
  • O'Connell Davis and the Colleges Bill, Dennis Gwynn, Cork University Press 1948.
  • Smith O’Brien And The "Secession", Dennis Gwynn, Cork University Press
  • Meagher of The Sword, edited By Arthur Griffith, M. H. Gill & Son, Ltd. 1916.
  • Repeal and Revolution. 1848 in Ireland, Christine Kinealy, Manchester University Press, 2009).
  • Young Irelander Abroad The Diary of Charles Hart, edited by Brendan O'Cathaoir, University Press.
  • John Mitchel First Felon for Ireland, Edited By Brian O'Higgins, Brian O'Higgins 1947.
  • Rossa's Recollections 1838 to 1898, Intro by Sean O'Luing, The Lyons Press 2004.
  • Labour in Ireland, James Connolly, Fleet Street 1910.
  • The Re-Conquest of Ireland, James Connolly, Fleet Street 1915.
  • John Mitchel Noted Irish Lives, Louis J. Walsh, The Talbot Press Ltd 1934.
  • Thomas Davis: Essays and Poems, Centenary Memoir, M. H. Gill, M.H. Gill & Son, Ltd MCMXLV.
  • Life of John Martin, P. A. Sillard, James Duffy & Co., Ltd 1901.
  • Life of John Mitchel, P. A. Sillard, James Duffy and Co., Ltd 1908.
  • John Mitchel, P. S. O'Hegarty, Maunsel & Company, Ltd 1917.
  • The Fenians in Context Irish Politics & Society 1848-82, R. V. Comerford, Wolfhound Press 1998
  • William Smith O'Brien and the Young Ireland Rebellion of 1848, Robert Sloan, Four Courts Press 2000
  • Irish Mitchel, Seamus MacCall, Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd 1938.
  • Ireland Her Own, T. A. Jackson, Lawrence & Wishart Ltd 1976.
  • Life and Times of Daniel O'Connell, T. C. Luby, Cameron & Ferguson.
  • Young Ireland, T. F. O'Sullivan, The Kerryman Ltd. 1945.
  • Irish Rebel John Devoy and America's Fight for Irish Freedom, Terry Golway, St. Martin's Griffin 1998.
  • Paddy's Lament Ireland 1846–1847 Prelude to Hatred, Thomas Gallagher, Poolbeg 1994.
  • The Great Shame, Thomas Keneally, Anchor Books 1999.
  • James Fintan Lalor, Thomas, P. O'Neill, Golden Publications 2003.
  • Charles Gavan Duffy: Conversations With Carlyle (1892), with Introduction, "Stray Thoughts On Young Ireland", by Brendan Clifford, Athol Books, Belfast, ISBN 0-85034-114-0. (Pg. 32 Titled, Foster's account Of Young Ireland.)
  • Envoi, Taking Leave Of Roy Foster, by Brendan Clifford and Julianne Herlihy, Aubane Historical Society, Cork.
  • The Falcon Family, or, Young Ireland, by M. W. Savage, London, 1845. (An Gorta Mor) Quinnipiac University