Dowd,ODowd,Dubhda,ODubhda,Clan O Dowd Clan Home

Failte/ Welcome!

This website is for all members of the O'Dubhda Clan.The original Gaelic name, meaning "descendant of the Dark One", has changed over the years as different spellings have been used.Therefore, anyone with the names O'Dowd, Dowd, Dowds, Doud(e) Doody Duddy or the others mentioned in Variations list below  is descended from the 10th century King of Connacht, Aedh Ua Dubhda. This makes the O’Dubhda surname as old if not older than any in Europe.

This was the first time that the surname was used but you can also be very proud of the fact that the clan can be traced back in an unbroken line for over 1500 years to just before the time of St Patrick. The O’Dubhda’s have a lineage that is older than that of the English Royal Family and are descended from an ancestry as ancient as any.

(I would like to acknowledge the substantial contribution to the site by Conor MacHale, Tom Dowds and Andrew Dowds which was greatly appreciated)

Aims of the Site

There are several objectives behind the creation of this site:

1. It will serve as a source of information about the activities of the members of the Clan and in particular will furnish details of the triennial rallies.

2.  The history of the O'Dubhda Clan will be outlined in a series of pages that will be added to periodically.

3.  Stories and legends, as well as sites associated with the name, will be provided.

4.  It is hoped that it will provide a means for clansmen (and women) to contact each other, and assist in genealogical research.

5. Input and suggestions from members would be appreciated and will be used in the future development and improvement of the site.

Clan Rallies

There are rallies, or "hostings", held every three years to which all members are most welcome. These are quite informal gatherings whose main purpose is to allow members of the Clan to meet each other, socialise and talk (we seem particularly good at this!).  While each rally is different there is a formal (almost) Clan Council meeting and since 2000 the inauguration of a new Taoiseach (Chieftain) and Tanaiste (Heir) according to the ancient Brehon Laws takes place.   Trips of historical interest are arranged, although these are optional but usually very interesting and the rally normally finishes with a banquet in Belleek Castle, Co. Mayo.  

Origins of the Name

 The name O'Dubhda, and its variants, comes from the 9th century King of Connacht, Dubhda, meaning "the Dark One."   The description most likely referred to his black hair, or dark complexion, although it could have been a nickname!   Dubhda had an older brother, Caoimhin, but succeeded to the kingship in preference to him. A later legend attributed this to the intervention of St Gerald of Mayo (See Stories), although under the Irish system, the eldest son did not always succeed the father.

The first to use the surname was Aedh (Hugh) Ua Dubhda, the King of Connacht who "died an untroubled death" in 982, making this one of the earliest surnames in Europe.

 As the use of surnames became common in the 11th and 12th centuries, the descendants of Aedh continued to use the name O'Dubhda ("O" meaning "grandson of") to distinguish their royal lineage  from that of other families.

Variations of the Name

The following is a list, in chronological order from 1297, of the various spellings of the original O'Dubhda name. The confusion was caused partly by the difficulty experienced by clerks with the Gaelic pronunciation, and partly by their attempts to render the name in Latin, or English, or German or French. In addition, English spelling was not standardised until the late 18th century, and Conor MacHale cites instances of the same individual being mentioned several times in a single 17th century document, and his name being spelled differently each time!


Doude, O'Duda, Odubda, Odibda, Oduba, Otopta, Otuta, O'Duba, Odubhda, O'Dode, O'Dowobey, O'Dowdy, O'Dowd, O'Doude, O'Dobowey, O'Dowde, Doowda, Dowdall, Dowdy, O'Dowey, O'Douda, Dowde, O'Dooda, Dowda, O'Dowdae, O'Dwda, O'Dowda, O'Dondey, O'Dowdie, Dodd, Dowd, Odowda, O'Dovd, Odout, O'Doud, Doody, Dowds.

(Source: C. M acHale, The O'Dubhda Family History, 1990)