Recorded in several spellings as shown below, this one of the most important and numerous of Irish surname. It derives form the Gaelic compound "Donncath" with donn meaning brown and chadha a warrior or fighter. As to who this "brown fighter" was has not been proven, but he may have been a monk or at least a holy man, and "warrior" may possibly have had a transfered meaning of one who fought (for instance) paganism. The original Gaelic spelling as O' Donnchadha is now found under various forms such as O' Donoghue, O' Donohue, Donohoe, Donohue, Donaghy and Donahue. The O' Donoghues constitute an important sept in Kerry and associated parts of County Cork in the ancient area known as Desmond, where they disputed the area with the MacCarthys. Ultimately they were driven into Kerry where their chief territory was known as Onaght O' Donoghue. The Onaght O' Donoghues split into two septs, known as O' Donoghue Mor with its seat at Ross Castle near Killarney and O' Donoghue of the Glen entitled to the name "The O' Donoghue". Geoffrey O' Donoghue of the Glen a leading poet of the 17th Century died in 1678. Among the early recordings in London is the christening of Elizabeth Donoghue on February 1779 at St. Botolphs-without- Aldgate. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Teag O' Donnchadha of Jerpoint. This was dated 1150, in the "Ancient Annah of Kilkenny", during the reign of Turlough Mor O'Connor, High King of Ireland, 1119 - 1156. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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