THE O'CONNOR DONELAN LINEAGE

In September 2000, I contacted the James Hardiman Library at the National University of Ireland to investigate any data they might have on the Abbey at Kilconnell. To my delight, I was informed that in addition to the Abbey, they also had material on the Estate Papers of this family. This resulted in a visit to the Library in October where I was presented with a 175 page index to 4 large boxes of documents.


It seems that Thomas Donelan was a descendant of Nehemiah from his son John. Thomas married Mabel, the daughter of Dermot O'Connor of Sylane in 1778. They acquired control of a number of holdings from both the O'Connor and Donelan families. He died in 1816 and Mabel in 1820. Control of his property passed to his brother Nehemiah. Nicknamed "drunken Nemmy"; he appears to have lost control of much of the estate. He married Dorothea Hunt, a member of a prominent Galway family. In a brief dated 14 July 1842 (LE 10/47) it is stated that Nehemiah "became embarrassed in his circumstances and addicted to ardent spirits". He was forced to live with Dorothea in a gatehouse in Limepark. After his death in 1839, Dermot Donelan, eldest son of Thomas, won back control of the lands.


This Dermot Donelan had two sons (Thomas and William) and two daughters (Elizabeth and Belinda). Thomas was a Justice of the Peace and died in 1874 ---passing the estate on to his son Dermot. Dermot was keenly interested in genealogy and here is where it became most interesting to me. In his attempts to have the family recorded in Burke's Peerage, he gathered an enormous amount of documentation on the Donnellan/Donelan/Donellan/Donnelan lineage. A good deal of this came from records held at the Four Courts---- records which were destroyed by fire in 1922. Although it was clear to me that Dermot's line was not my bloodline (they came to the States in 1863), these records could have clues to other avenues of exploration.
I received copies of some of the data referenced in the index and intend to make another visit on my next trip to Ireland. I dedicate this section of the Web site to Dermot. Also, and most important, my personal thanks to Ms. Marie Boran, Special Collections Librarian, and Mr. Kieran Hoare, Archivist for their consideration and assistance in making this resource so available to me.

UPDATE: 12 April 2001 - Kieran has now put most on the Index to the O'CD Estate Papers on the internet. You can view it by clicking on INDEX. The URL is: http://www.library.nuigalway.ie/special_collections/Descriptive%20Lists/le_10.htm