This is an anglicized form of the Irish surname “Ó Donndubháin”, meaning "descendent of Donndubhán". The name is composed of two elements: “donn” (brown) plus “dubh” (dark, black), plus the diminutive termination. In turn the name means “the dark lord, gloomy man, dark man”. The O'Donovans, who belong to the royal race of Munster, were originally chiefs of Ui Cairbre Aedhbha, a district lying along the banks of the River Maigue, in the present Co. Limerick. Their principal stronghold was at Bruree.