1842.  Letter to Dr. John O’Donovan, Antiquarian re O’Donovans of O’Donovan Cove, Durrus, West Cork.

From Graves collection Royal Irish Academy, Dublin.  This is part of a large correspondence of Dr. John O’Donovan, antiquarian from South Kilkenny anxious to trace his paternal roots in Carbery.

Portrait of Dr. John O’Donovan (1809-1861), Scholar, National Gallery  on loan to Royal Irish Academy.

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James O’Donovan is a journalist with the London Times newspaper.



Letter from James O’Donovan/Donovan (Cousin of Timothy O’Donovan),  to Dr. John O’Donovan 2409/JOD/274 (viii)

Cygnet Cottages, Perry St.,

Gravesend, Kent,

July 14th 1842.


The Genealogical ignorance of my worth kinsman in the nearest degree remind me of a contest for the family presidency which took place three or four years ago. at a public assembly in Cork and in which figured foremost concerning Richard O’Donovan (Eldest son my cousin Timothy of the Cove) and was at he … part causing him to be presented and introduced as ‘The O’Donovan’ whereupon, a lady expressed some curiosity to see this ‘O’Donovan’ and having been gratified by an introduction, most indignantly repudiated all pretence of such distinction, claiming it as a right inherent to her cousin the Richard O’Donovan of Lisheen.

The abashed youth abandoned the assembly and with that his claim, as I may say, the lady having subsequently informed me with much self-satisfaction, that, she  .. that night.

I saw last year in the possession of Doctor O’Donovan, of (Norton) Cottage, Skibbereen, an uncle of this Richard, a printed copy of a Genealogical Pedigree of the McCarthy family purchased in Paris, and in this there is frequent allusion to the O’Donovan family and to the .agary Donovan inconnection with the McCarthys.

Rickard? O’Donovan, is a man of considerable literary attainments and has, probably directed himself also to a much of antiquarian research as would interest him on inquiry as to his own pedigree. on the paternal and maternal side.  I enclose a note to him which if   you are likely to be productive of any useful results, you can enclose to him.  His father was the late Richard O’Donovan of O’Donovan’s Cove and his mother was my father’s sister (consequently of Ringorish? family).  He surprises me much when that his elder brother Timothy, of the Cove, could not give you any information as he is not only a man of much family pride, but also a of very extensive information (for a country gentleman) and of intellectual abilities above the ordinary standard.