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Darren McGettigan Biography:

Darren McGettigan is a Wicklow man but with Donegal connections. Darren’s grandfather Neil McGettigan came from the townland of Meenreagh on the slopes of Lough Salt Mountain, very near to the villages of Kilmacrennan and Termon in north County Donegal. The locality has a rich history as the inauguration site of the O’Donnell chieftains. Darren’s cousin Frank, a well-known photographer, still runs the family farm in Meenreagh. Darren holds a PhD in early modern Irish history from the School of History at University College Dublin (UCD), where he recently worked as a tutor and occasional lecturer. Darren is the author of five books and many journal articles and collection chapters.

Darren McGettigan At His Book LaunchDr McGettigan's first book Red Hugh O'Donnell and the Nine Years War (Dublin, 2005), was based on his PhD research and is still available online in e-book format. The book is a biographical study of the noted Donegal chieftain, Red Hugh O'Donnell. O'Donnell had a remarkable life. He became chieftain of his ancestral lordship (Tír Chonaill), while still a very young man, and went on to help lead the serious challenge to the authority of Queen Elizabeth I in Ireland, that is now known as the Nine Years War (1594-1602). Red Hugh is famous in Irish history for his early January escape from imprisonment in Dublin Castle in the year 1592. (The escape is commemorated every January by the Art's Challenge hill-walk and ultra-run). However, O'Donnell also fought in the battles of the Yellow Ford (1598), the Curlew Mountains (1599), and Kinsale (1602) - more momentous events from that time, before dying in exile in Spain.

Darren's second book The Donegal Plantation and the Tír Chonaill Irish, 1610-1710 (Dublin, 2010), was published as part of the Maynooth Local Historical Studies series. The book deals with how the native people of Co. Donegal coped and adapted to plantation and war for the century-or-so after the Plantation of Ulster began in 1610.

Darren is also very interested in medieval history as a hobby! His third book was a foray into medieval Irish history, The Battle of Clontarf, Good Friday 1014 (Dublin, 2013). Darren was very busy throughout 2014 speaking at many events held all over the country (Wicklow, Dublin, Monaghan, Killaloe, Clontarf and Galway), held to commemorate the 1,000th anniversary of this very famous battle.  He was also interviewed a number of times for radio and tv.

Darren's fourth book, Dún Loaghaire Vocational Education Committee: A Commemorative History Part I: 1900-1945 (Dublin, 2013), was concerned with modern Irish history and was researched and written during a period working at the DLVEC (Dún Laoghaire Vocational Educational Committee, now a part of the DDLETB-Dublin and Dún Laoghaire Educational Training Board).

Dr McGettigan's fifth book was another foray into late-medieval Irish history, Richard II and the Irish kings (Dublin, 2016). This was a book Darren had been planning to write for a long time. The main focus of the book are the two expeditions to Ireland (1394-5 and 1399), made by the English king Richard II, so well known to Shakespeare. The book also describes the fourteenth-century revival of the Gaelic Irish population of the island, as seen through the careers of some of the more noteworthy Irish kings that Richard encountered.

Darren is the author of many journal articles and chapters in historical collections. Many of these articles have appeared in the Donegal Annual the journal of the County Donegal Historical Society. Darren's latest chapter is 'The Principality of Tír Chonaill in the early sixteenth-century' which is included in the Atlas of County Donegal (Cork, 2013).  He also contributed many biographical entries to the Dictionary of Irish Biography, published by the Royal Irish Academy in 2009. Recently he has agreed to act as historical adviser to the very interesting Irish DNA Atlas project.

Darren McGettigan At His Book Launch

Darren often speaks in public about his books and historical research, giving talks to schools and historical societies, as well as to local libraries, history festivals and conferences, and sometimes to local media also. Dr McGettigan believes that this is a very important aspect of his historical research and he is always willing to share his enthusiasm for history with others, both old and young.

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