The House of O'Donnell of Tyrconnell
is the dynastic Royal House
of the former Kings and Princes of Tyrconnell
. The dynastic and clan motto is In Hoc Signo Vinces
, derived from the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great
, and is also the motto of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George
It is a branch of Clan Dálaigh of the people known as the Cenél Conaill
, or descendants of Conall, after whom the territory Tyrconnell, or Tír Conaill, meaning Country of Conall, is called. The Cenél Conaill were a sub-branch of the Heremonian Dynasty of the High-Kings of Ireland
, the last from whom they descend being Niall of the Nine Hostages
. Heremon was a son of Milesius
The head of the dynasty was traditionally also called "The O'Donnell", and inaugurated as Chieftain in an elaborate ceremony, under the Laws of Tanistry
, part of the ancient Brehon Code of Law. Since the collapse of Gaelic Rule and the Brehon legal system, the succession of the "Chiefs of the Name
" has followed the principle of male primogeniture.
On this basis, the current nominal head of the O'Donnell Clan (Clan Dálaigh), who bears the courtesy title of "The O'Donnell", i.e. the latest in the line of Chiefs of the Name of O'Donnell of Tyrconnell, customarily recognised as a Prince, is Fr. Hugh O'Donel, O.F.M., a Franciscan priest in Dublin who recently retired from missionary work in Zimbabwe. His widely-recognised Tánaiste (or heir apparent) as The O'Donnell of Tyrconnell, Prince and Chief of the Name of O'Donnell, is S.E. Don Hugo O'Donnell, Duke of Tetuan, a Grandee of Spain. He is known as S.E. Don Hugo O'Donnell y Duque de Estrada - the latter appendant Duque de Estrada is not a title but a maternal family name. Don Hugo is an active member of the Clan Association of the O'Donnells of Tyrconnell, and a member of the nobiliary Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes, and of Malta, i.e. a Knight of Malta.
The Royal Household was known in Gaelic as "Lucht Tighe
" and comprised several offices that were performed on a hereditary basis by the heads and members of particular other families, for over four centuries.
- Lector & Inaugurator of the Chieftancy - O’Friel (Ui Firghil)
- Gallowglass Marshalls & Standard –Bearers - McSweeney (Mac Suibhne)
- Commanders of Cavalry - O’Gallagher (Ui Gallchobhair)
- Custodians of the Cathach of St. Columba - McRoarty (Mac Robhartaigh)
- Historians and Scribes - O’Clery (Ui Cleirigh)
- Brehons or Judges - Breslin (Ui Breisléin)
- Bards & Poets - Ward (Mac a’Bháird)
- Physicians - Dunleevy (Mac Duinnshléibhe)
- Stockmen/Cattle Drivers - Timoney (Ui Tiománaigh)
- Calvagh O'Donnell, (d.1566), The O'Donnell, 22nd Chieftain, and Lord of Tyrconnell
- Elizabeth O'Donnell, 1st Countess of Fingall, (1604-c.1630), daughter of Rory, Prince of Tyrconnell
- Henry Joseph O'Donnell, Count of La Bisbal, (1769-1834), Irish-Spanish nobleman.
- Hugh O'Donnell, 2nd Earl of Tyrconnell (1606-1642)
- Hugo O'Donnell, Duke of Tetuan, a Spanish naval historian, and Knight of Malta.
- Joseph Heinrich O'Donnell, (1769-1834), Count of La Bisbal, a Spanish general (Joseph Heinrich O’Donnell).
- Karl O'Donnell, (1715-1771), Count of Tyrconnel (Karl O’Donnell).
- Leopoldo O'Donnell, (1809-1867), 1st Duke of Tetuan, and former Prime Minister of Spain.
- Manus O'Donnell, (1490-1564), The O'Donnell, 21st Chieftain, King of Tyrconnell, and biographer of St Colmcille.
- Maximilian Karl Lamoral O'Donnell, (1812-1895), Hiberno-Austrian Count, saved life of Emperor Franz Josef I of Austria.
- Niall Garve O'Donnell, (1569 - 1626), Prince of Tyrconnell.
- Red Hugh O'Donnell, (1572-1601), The O'Donnell, 24th Chieftain, Prince and Lord of Tyrconnell
- Rory O'Donnell, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell, (1575-1608), The O'Donnell
- Erin’s Blood Royal – The Gaelic Noble Dynasties of Ireland, by Peter Berresford Ellis, Constable, London, 1999, (pages 251-258 on the O’Donel, Prince of Tirconnell).
- The Life of Hugh Roe O'Donnell, Prince of Tyrconnell (Beatha Aodh Rua O Domhnaill) by Lughaidh O'Cleirigh. Edited by Paul Walsh and Colm Ó Lochlainn. Irish Texts Society, vol. 42. Dublin: Educational Company of Ireland, 1948 (original Gaelic manuscript in the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin).
- The Fighting Prince of Donegal, A Walt Disney Film, made in 1966 about the life of Prince Red Hugh O’Donnell (i.e. Hugh Roe), starring Peter McEnery, Susan Hampshire, Gordon Jackson, and Andrew Keir.
- Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland (Annála Ríoghachta Éireann) by the Four Masters, from the earliest period to the year 1616, compiled during the period 1632-1636 by Brother Mícheál Ó Cléirigh, translated and edited by John O'Donovan in 1856, and re-published in 1998 by De Burca, Dublin.
- Blood Royal - From the time of Alexander the Great to Queen Elizabeth II, by Charles Mosley (genealogist) published for Ruvigny Ltd., London, 2002 (O'Donnell listed as Baron of Fyngal (Fingal), page v) [ISBN 0-9524229-9-9]
- The Fate and Fortunes of the Earls of Tyrone (Hugh O’Neill) and Tyrconnel (Rory O’Donel), their flight from Ireland and death in exile, by the Rev. C. P. Meehan, M.R.I.A., 2nd edition, James Duffy, London, 1870.
- Wealth of Dignity, Poverty of Destiny - The Destitution of a Catholic Princess for her Devotion (The tragic story of Mary, Princess of Tyrconnell, Rory's daughter), by Francis Martin O'Donnell, Knight of Malta, in pages 3-6 of O'Domhnaill Abu, the O'Donnell Clann Newsletter no. 32, published by V. O'Donnell, Inver, County Donegal, Summer 2004 [ISSN 0790-7389].
- History of Killeen Castle, by Mary Rose Carty, published by Carty/Lynch, Dunsany, County Meath, Ireland, April 1991 (ISBN 0-9517382-0-8) - page 18 refers to Elizabeth O'Donnell as 1st Countess of Fingall (Fingal). She was a daughter of Rory O'Donnell, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell.
- Vicissitudes of Families, by Sir John Bernard Burke, Ulster King of Arms, published by Longman, Green, Longman and Roberts, Paternoster Row, London, 1861. (Chapter on O’Donnells, pages 125-148).
- A View of the Legal Institutions, Honorary Hereditary Offices, and Feudal Baronies established in Ireland, by William Lynch, Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, published by Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, Paternoster Row, London, 1830 (O’Donnell: page 190, remainder to Earl’s patent).
- Vanishing Kingdoms - The Irish Chiefs and Their Families, by Walter J. P. Curley (former US Ambassador to Ireland), with foreword by Charles Lysaght, published by The Lilliput Press, Dublin, 2004 [ISBN 1-84351-055-3 & ISBN 1-84351-056-1]. (Chapter on O'Donnell of Tyrconnell, page 59).