Lt Col Richard O’Donovan of Bawnlahan, Skibbereen, West Cork, son of Daniel O’Donovan, The O’Donovan of Clancahill’ and Jane Beecher, 1768; Major in 6th Dragoons 19 December 1799; Lieutenant-Colonel 2 May 1800; brevet Colonel 25 July 1810; subsequently Major-General 4 June 1813; Lieutenant-General 27 May 1825; Recognised at ‘The O’Donovan’, died Ireland November 1829.

From Evanson (Durrus) family history:

The first Mrs Evanson had sisters, one married the O’Shaughnessy (whose daughter married the O’Donovan, ancestor of the late General O’Donovan); and another married Mr Butler (the family of the Duke of Ormond); and another married Mr J Warren.

His kinsman Timothy O’Donovan, JP, O’Donovan’s Cove, Durrus corresponding with Doctor John O’Donovan:

Slightly edited letters to Dr. John O’Donovan, Scholar.

Family History 24039/JOD/278/(iii)

O’Donovan’s Cove,

February 1st, 1841


Your letter of the 18th last should not have remained unanswered for so long but I was waiting to obtain some additional information on the query pertaining to the family of O’Donovan, The late General Richard O’Donovan, Lieutenant Colonel of the Enniskillen Dragoons, was undoubtedly the Chieftain of the Clann or Sept of O’Donovan. He died at the family seat of Bawnlahan Barony of Carbery, County of Cork about 11 or 12 years ago. He was married to a Welch lady her name was Powell by whom he had no issue, he left his estate to his wife and upon her death which happened soon after she bequeathed it to her brother a Major Powell a Welch man in whom possession it is at the moment and this ancient seat and property is now in the possession of a Welsh man.

The title of “O’Donovan” was after the general’s death affected by a Protestant Clergyman Morgan O’Donovan, but the claim was not recognised by the members of the O’Donovan family.

I am descended from a branch of the House of O’Donovan, who were obliged to fly the County Cork in the Civil wars of 1641 who took refuge in Co. Limerick, a considerable tract of land was protected in trust by the intervention of Protestant “Nominees’ who behaved in those olden days with great and fidelity honour to my ancestors.

This seat seat of O’Donovan’s Cove sits in the Parish of Kilcrohane the part of the Barony of West Carbery and County of Cork. It is my property by inheritance my younger brother, Doctor Richard O’Donovan who has an independent estate resides at Norton Cottage, Skibbereen, we are both in the Commission of The Peace of Co. Cork.

There are several respectable family of the name who do not affix the “‘O” to the name.

I believe we are the two of the Sept of O’Donovan here with the largest landed property in respect of the west of the county.

The most ancient document were in the hands of the late James Donovan, Esq., M.D., Clonakilty, I do not know if they are in the possession of his sons, one of whom is a barrister in London (Alexander Grey’s Inns 1822, Court Reporter Court of Common Pleas 1836 Judge Dominica) the other is the Clerk of the Crown for Co. Cork, (from 1838) they are my first cousins.

Bawnlahan the family seat of the Chief O’Donovan is near Skibbereen and is a respectable old residence and domaine.

With respect of the information as to who is the senior or head of the O’Donovan family at present, I cannot inform you. who it is. It is of little import as a matter of courtesy it would be conceded to me by the great majority of of the representative of the Clan but I am not satisfied as to the strict right of my claim, and I would not assent to it.

I believe a person of the name of James Donovan, of Coolderrha. Parish of Myross, Barony of West Carbery, now reduced to the position of struggling farmer, a person of excellent character is the eldest representative of the House of O’Donovan.

I have given you all in my possession in response to the queries in your letter.

I shall be most happy to meet you here to discuss when the pedigree of our ancient family over a glass of good wine.

Yours etc

John O’Donovan,
21, Great Charles Street, Dublin.