The Irish surname O'Donovan, also found in Scotland, is an anglicized form of the Gaelic name Ó Donndubháin meaning “descendant of Donndubhán,” a personal name composed of the elements donn meaning “brown-haired man or chieftain” and dubh meaning “black.” The name originated in county Limerick and the neighboring counties of Cork and Kilkenny. This great Irish family can trace their name back to Donnabhain, the son of Callaghan, a 10th century Munster King. After the Norman Invasion of 1170, the O'Donovan's moved under force to south west Cork where they acquired much territory and became chieftains in Carbery. The family supported the army of James II in Ireland (1690). Jeremiah O'Donovan (1831-1915) called Rossa, the revered Fenian patriot, who went to America following his release from prison, is the most notable bearer of the name in Irish history.
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