Darren is an established Author and Genealogist from County Wicklow, Ireland. He provides genealogy services to help you discover your family history in Ireland.
Fictional Irish American detective, Jimmy McNulty, of the Baltimore, Maryland police department and the hit US TV crime drama the Wire, has been one of the most original Irish American characters of recent years.
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O'Donnell chieftain with many wives and dozens of children
In late medieval times marriage practices in Gaelic Ireland were often a great deal more lax and easy going than in subsequent centuries. A very good example is Turlough of the Wine (an Fhiona) O'Donnell, who was lord of Tír Chonaill from 1380-1422. The O'Donnell genealogies (see illustration) which date from the sixteenth century with some late additions from the 1660s indicate that Turlough of the Wine had eighteen sons by at least ten women. The names of Turlough's wives which are recorded indicate that he married into the ruling O'Neill family of Tyrone and also took wives from amongst the families of his sub-chieftains in Tír Chonaill, families such as O'Doherty of Inishowen (two wives), O'Boyle of Boylagh, McSweeney Doe and O'Cullinane (all one wife from each family).
As a result many O'Donnells alive today living in County Donegal and indeed all over the world are descended from Turlough of the Wine O'Donnell. However, due to the many wars in medieval and early modern Ireland and the dispossession of the O'Donnell families by the English, most memories and records of genealogical links with this famous chieftain have been lost. However, the story of Turlough of the Wine O'Donnell and his imense family is a very interesting genealogical one.
The Irish people are unique in western Europe for the extent of emigration from their small island to other areas of the world over many centuries. In the seventeenth century dispossessed Gaelic nobles and soldiers left Ireland to serve in the armies of the Spanish Empire and later in those of France, Austria and Russia. In the eighteenth century there was a different type of emigration when a large element of the Ulster Scots population of the north of Ireland emigrated to the then British colony of New England to settle and farm. Many people in the original thirteen colonies of the United States including many prominent political and social figures in subsequent American history are descended from the Ulster Scots.
The Great Famine which struck Ireland in the 1840s let loose a massive migration of Catholic Irish, mostly to the USA and ports like New York and Boston, but also to Canada, Argentina and parts of the UK such as Liverpool and the city of Glasgow in Scotland. Irish emigration to these areas continued unabated right to the end of the 1980s. Many Irish were also transported to the penal colonies of Australia in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, particularly in the wake of the 1798 rebellion. As a result Irish emigrants and their descendants have played a very prominent role is such events as the Liberation wars of Chile and Argentina, the settling of Australia and New Zealand and the political life of the United States where the Irish long ran the cities of Chicago and Boston.
With the great interest in genealogy and family history which has developed over the past decades, many people all over the world are now interested in researching and finding out about their Irish ancestors. Darren McGettigan who has set up this website is a professionally trained and very accomplished historian with two major books and many journal articles to his name. His biography of the Co. Donegal chieftain, Red Hugh O’Donnell, a famous figure in Irish history in particular has been very well received. If you are interested in finding out about your Irish ancestors why not let Darren put his research skills to use in researching an interesting and very well researched account of your ancestors and family history. With the proliferation of genealogy websites offering online sources and information, Darren guarantees that his research will be different using only primary material in original archives thus providing an accurate history of your family which will not rely on other peoples’ work or online contributions, many of which are often unreliable.