• Stephen Callaghan

Finding a Victoria Cross Recipient's Grave - Patrick Donohoe

This past week the impressive Victoria Cross and other medals awarded to Private Patrick Donohue of the 9th Lancers sold at auction for an astonishing £220,000. Private Donohoe was awarded the cross for his actions at the Battle of Bolondshuhur during the India Mutiny. His citation for the award reads:


"For having, at Bolundshadur, on the 28th of September 1857, gone to the support of Lieutenant Blair, who had been severely wounded, and, with a few other men, brought that officer in safety through a large body of the enemy’s cavalry".


Private Donohoe received his cross from Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle on 4 January 1860.

Private Donohoe's medals (image DNW)

Patrick was born in Nenagh, County Tipperary around 1820, he enlisted in the army at Dublin on 12 June 1839. He was discharged from the army on 24 September 1864 and gave his intended place of residence as Ashbourne, County Meath. The auction listing along with other online sources states that Patrick died in Ashborne on 16 August 1876 and was buried in an unmarked grave in Donoughmore Catholic graveyard, either in Meath or Cork.


In a Tweet by James Dillion (@noonofday), he questioned the burial place of Donohoe. Furthermore, there is no death record for any Patrick Donohoe dying in Ashbourne, County Kildare.


Taking an interest, I decided to see what I could find. A quick search of online dead records reveals Patrick actually died at 81 Bride Street, Dublin from the effects of alcohol, Patrick Kavanagh was present at his death. With Patrick’s death confirmed as taking place in Dublin, the next step was finding where he was actually buried. The obviously starting point was to check the records of Glasnevin Cemetery, which can conveniently be searched online. A quick search confirmed that a Patrick Donohoe, an army as being buried there. The cemetery register records Patrick was an army pensioner and his cause of death as consumption.


Intent on locating Patrick’s exact burial spot, I took a trip to Glasnevin Cemetery and was assisted by the very helpful Niall Bracken and Niall Oman of the cemetery staff. Niall Omen was able to bring to the exact spot, which is far from unmarked. The burial plot is marked by a large impressive memorial which is the burial place of many members of the Donohue family.

Patrick's name on the Donohoe family memorial

Donohoe family memorial

From the inscription on the memorial, it confirms that Patrick’s parents were William (died 24 June 1835) and Margaret Donohoe (died 10 December 1847), his siblings were James (died 7 March 1840), Bridget (died 16 April 1865) and John (7 February 1894).


There is still much information to discover about Patrick, but for now we can say for certain where he is buried.

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