Bram's links to the O'Donnells

Bram Stoker’s great grandmother was Eliza O’Donnell, daughter of Colonel Manus O’Donnell (died 1767), of the O’Donnell family of Newport. The information we have discovered has NEVER before been connected to Bram Stoker.

Through this maternal line, we can trace Bram Stoker’s descent in 12 generations from Manus O’Donnell (Manus ‘the Magnificent’), Lord of Tír Conaill (corresponds to the North and North-West portion of Ireland) who died in 1563.

We can further trace this direct lineage back to the 11th Century, because the O’Donnell lords from whom Bram Stoker is directly descended, were one of the oldest recorded lineages in Ireland. This makes Bram Stoker one of the very few Irish people who can trace their family history back over 1000 years. He was not simply a ‘clan member’ he was a direct descendant.

O'Donnells family crest
O'Donnells family crest

Manus 'The Magnificent' O'Donnell

The most informed description of Manus 'The Magnificent' O'Donnell comes from the article by Dr. Brendan Bradshaw "Manus 'The Magnificent' : O'Donnell as Renaissance Prince". In his article Dr. Bradshaw paints a picture of a flamboyant character know for his dramatic clothing and appreciation of art and culture.

Manus is known as the first great Irish lord of Tyrconnell who ruled between 1537 and 1555.He is recognised as one of Ireland's leading political figures of the time.He was also well known in Britain and in mainland Europe. He is described in The Annals of the Four Masters as "a learned man, skilled in many arts, gifted with a profound intellect, and the knowledge of every science."

Take a look at our video to see how we traced the O'Donnell line

He wrote love poetry and satiric verse and undertook to supervise the writing of a life of St Colmcille at Lifford Castle, where he was captive. This was completed in 1536. He described the 6th-century monastic founder as his ‘high saint and kinsman in blood'. This project, because of its commitment to sources and interest in religious reform, has been claimed as an example of Renaissance humanist influence.

Webb (1878) notes in A Compendium of Irish Biography that his clothing is described by St. Leger in a despatch to Henry VIII.: "He was in a cote of crymoisin velvet, with agglettes of gold, twenty or thirty payer; over that a greate doble cloke of right crymoisin saten, garded with blacke velvet; a bonette, with a fether, sette full of agglettes of gold."

Manus was deposed by his son Calvagh O'Donnell in 1555.

Bradshaw, Brendan: “Manus ‘The Magnificent’: O’ Donnell as Renaissance Prince”. In: Cosgrove, Art and McCartney, Donal (eds.), Studies in Irish History presented to R. Dudley Edwards, Dublin 1979, 15-36.

O'Donavan, John. Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland by the Four Masters, from the earliest period to the year 1616. Volume I. Dublin: Hodges and Smith, 1854
The Dictionary of Ulster Biography,

Webb, A. (1878) A Compendium of Irish Biograpy, DUBLIN: M. H. GILL & SON