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Chiefs of the Name

A Chief of the Name is a person recognised by the Chief Herald of Ireland as the most senior known male descendant of the last inaugurated or de facto chief of that name in power in Gaelic Ireland at or before the end of the sixteenth century. Such recognition is always provisional upon no more senior representative emerging. It is a courtesy recognition by the Chief Herald and does not confer, confirm or imply any rights in law or any particular status or title. The designation carries with it the right to use the honorific "The". Wives of Chiefs of the Name are addressed as "Madam" not Mrs e.g. Madam O Conor Don.


  • 1.The O Brien - Conor O'Brien (Clare), Prince of Thomond, 18th Baron Inchiquin, 10th Baronet of Leamaneh and Chief of the Name.

  • 2.The O Callaghan - Don Juan O Callaghan (Barcelona), Lord of Clonmeen and Chief of the Name

  • 3.The O Donoghue of the Glens - Geoffrey O'Donoghue (Wicklow), Chief of the Name

  • 4.The O Conor Don - Desmond O Conor (Sussex), Chief of the Name.

  • 5.The MacDermot - Nial MacDermot (Kildare), Prince of Coolavin and Chief of the Name

  • 6.The O'Donovan - Morgan O'Donovan (Cork), Lord of Clan Cathal and Chief of the Name

  • 7.The Fox (An Sionnach) - John W Fox (Australia), Chief of the Name

  • 8.The Mac Gillicuddy of the Reeks - Richard McGillicuddy (Paris), Chief of the Name

  • 9.The O Morchoe - David N C O Morchoe (Wexford), Chief of the Name

  • 10.The O Neill of Clannaboy - Hugo O Neill (Portugal), Chief of the Name

  • 11.The O Grady of Kilballyowen - Henry Thomas Standish O'Grady (Paris), Chief of the Name

  • 12.The O Kelly of Gallagh, Walter L O Kelly (Dublin), 8th Count of Gallagh and Tycooly (Holy Roman Empire) and Chief of the Name

  • 13.The Mac Morrough Kavanagh - William Butler Kavanagh (Wales), Chief of the Name

  • 14.The O Donel of Tirconnell - Fr A O Donnell (Africa), Chief of the Name

  • 15.Ó Dochartaigh of Inishowen - Ramon O Dogherty (Spain), Chief of the Name

  • 16.The O Carrol of Eile (Ely) O Carroll - F J O Carroll (California), Chief of the Name

  • 17.Ó Ruairc of Breifne - Geoffrey O Rorke (London), Chief of the Name

  • 18.The Mac Donnell - Randal Mac Donnell (Dublin), Chief of the Name

  • The O Toole of Fer Tire

  • The O Long of Garranelongy
  • The Maguire of Fermanagh
  • The Joyce of Joyce Country

  • The recognition of Terence Mac Carthy (Morocco), as The Mac Carthy Mor, Prince of Desmond, was withdrawn in July 1999; the case of claimant Barry Trant MacCarthy (Wiltshire) is under investigation by the Chief Herald.

  • The title of O Neill Mór is claimed by Carlos O'Neill, Marques de la Granja (Spain), but he does not appear to have petitioned the Chief Herald for official designation.

  • All officially recognised Chiefs are entered in the Register of Chiefs held in the Office of the Chief Herald.

  • At the inauguration of President Douglas Hyde in 1938 the Taoiseach, Eamonn de Valera[?] described the President as "inheriting the authority and entitled to the respect which the Gaels (Irish) ever gave to their rightful chiefs.. in you we greet the successor of our rightful princes and in your accession we hail the closing of the breach that has existed since the undoing of our nation at Kinsale". It was fitting then, that in October 1991, a delegation of 18 Chiefs of the Name met the President of Ireland, Mary Robinson at an historic meeting at Arus an Uachtaráin[?], her official residence, in Dublin. This was the first time so many Chiefs had met together since the Flight of the Earls[?] after the Battle of Kinsale[?] in 1601.

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