The Irish surname O’Donnell is an anglicized form of the Gaelic name Ó Domhnaill meaning “descendant of Domhnall.” The name is originally chiefly associated with Ulster and specifically Donegal, where the main clan were located, with two further septs in West Clare and Galway, all trace their descent from the same ancestral chief “Domhnall,” meaning “world ruler.” The predominence of the clan dates from the 13th century, and at one point they held over thirteen thousand acres of land in the district of Kilmacrenan, Co Donegal, and were measured amongst the leading land owners in the country. In 1603 Hugh Roe O'Donnell lead a rebellion against the English, but was defeated at Kinsale. A later ancestor Maximilian O'Donnell, Count O'Donnell, and forty third in descent from "Domhnall" saved the life of the Emperor of Austria and was granted the unique honour of impaling his coat of arms with that of Austria.
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