"Ireland's most active genealogical society"

President of the Genealogical Society of Ireland



Amb. (ret.) Francis M. O’Donnell, GCMM, GCEG, KC*SG, KM, KCHS, KCMCO, BA (Hons), FGSI.

The result of the ballot of the College of Fellows of the Society in the presidential election was delivered to the Board of Directors on Thursday 7th December 2023 and the Board declared Vice-President Francis M. O’Donnell, FGSI, to be the ‘President Elect’ to succeed President Stuart Rosenblatt, PC, FGSI, on 12th March 2024.

President O’Donnell took up his position at the Annual General Meeting held on Tuesday 12th March 2024 and he will serve four years of the eight-year term and then, in accordance with the resolution of the Board and endorsed by the College of Fellows, President O’Donnell will be succeeded by Vice-President, Fiona Fitzsimons, MA, FGSI, as President of the Society in March 2028.

The President of the Society is ex-officio the Dean of the College of Fellows of the Genealogical Society of Ireland.

Amb. (ret.) Francis M. O’Donnell, GCMM, GCEG, KC*SG, KM, KCHS, KCMCO, BA (Hons), FGSI, is a former diplomat and the author of the magisterial work ‘The O’Donnells of Tyrconnell – A Hidden Legacy’ (ISBN: 978-1-68053- 474-0 published by Academica Press) is a very comprehensive study of the history of this ancient Irish clan and a wonderful resource for the study of the continental O’Donnells. He has also written and published extensively on the genealogical and heraldic heritage of his O’Donnell ancestors in County Donegal (Tyrconnell) and across Europe and beyond. Currently is spearheading the revitalisation of the O’Donnell Clan Association and its development within the Clans of Ireland movement. 

Mr. O’Donnell is armigerous having received a grant of arms from the Chief Herald of Ireland in 2009 (Vol. Z, Folio 87) and supporters in 2015 (Vol. Ae, Folio 72) and he has a deep understanding of the cultural importance of heraldry in Ireland as it is used throughout the country from large institutions, businesses to local parish clubs and sporting bodies of all codes. He is particularly interested in exploring the intangible cultural heritage aspects of heraldry, vexillology, and other areas of our national and cultural heritage.   

Mr. O’Donnell retired from the United Nations after thirty-two years in 2009, having most recently held the following positions: UN Resident Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative in Ukraine (2004-2009) and the UN Resident Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative in F.R. Yugoslavia (Serbia & Montenegro) (2000-2004). He was Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary of the SMOM to the Slovak Republic (2009-2013).

He is a life member of the Institute of International and European Affairs, Dublin, and a member of the Military History Society of Ireland; the Co. Donegal Historical Society, the Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society, and the O’Donnell Clan Association and served as its delegate to Clans of Ireland and briefly as Chancellor of its Order of Merit.

He is a Director/Trustee of the School of Civic  Education under the auspices of the Council of Europe; member/moderator of the Global Baku Forum hosted by the Nizami Ganjavi International Centre, and has been an expert/participant in the InterAction Council; a listed advisor to the Global Partnerships Forum (New York); occasional advisor to the Non-Violent Peace Force (an NGO consortium); and a participant in recent discussions on improving UN response to the Russian-Ukrainian war under the auspices of the Foundation for Global Governance and Sustainability (Brussels).

Our former President, Stuart Rosenblatt, PC, FGSI, was conferred with the designation of ‘President Emeritus’ by the Board and Members at the AGM unanimously endorsed this resolution by ballot. 


Amb (ret) Francis M. O’Donnell, FGSI ※


Fiona Fitzsimons, MA, FGSI


Dr Antonio Salmerón Cabañas, SHA, FGSI ※


Tony McCarthy, MA, FGSI ※
Rory J. Stanley, FGSI ※
Stuart Rosenblatt, PC, FGSI ※



Frieda Carroll, Michael Merrigan ※, Barry O’Connor, Stuart Rosenblatt ※, Tony McCarthy ※, Brian Mitchell, Jim Herlihy, Rory J. Stanley ※, Séamus O’Reilly, Séamus Moriarty, John Grenham, Eddie Gahan, Fiona Fitzsimons, James Scannell, Fíona Tipple, Francis M. O’Donnell ※, Gerard Hayden, and Antonio Salmerón Cabañas ※.


*Denis, O Conor Don ※, Jean Reddin, Seán Kane, Liam Mac Alasdair, Joan Merrigan, *David, The O Morchoe ※, James Davidson, Tony Daly, and Clare Tuohy. RIP   

Nota bene: The College of Fellows is “capped” at twenty Fellows at any time.

*Gaelic Chief.Armigerous.

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors of the Genealogical Society of Ireland is elected annually by the Members at the Annual General Meeting held on the second Tuesday in March each year. The below were elected at the AGM held in March 2024.

Board meetings are normally held on the first Thursday each month at the Daonchartlann, the recent meeting have been carried out online using Zoom. Picture above shows a typical meeting in progress.

Board of Directors (20242025)

Cathaoirleach:  John Goggins, MGSI
Leas-Chathaoirleach & Director, Archival Services & Education:  Fíona Tipple, MA, FGSI
General Secretary, Company Secretary, ‘Gazette’ Editor : Michael Merrigan, MA, FGSI

Director of Finance:  Lua Ó Scolaí, MGSI

Director, Digitisation & Genetic Genealogy: Gerard Corcoran, MGSI
Director, Special Collections, Research & Specialist Groups:  Laura Price, MGSI
Director:Eddie Gahan,, FGSI – Outreach Programme
Director, Internet Services: Shane Wilson, MGSI
Director, Membership Services & Cemetery Projects:  Barry O’Connor, FGSI

Non-Executive Officers:
Séamus O’Reilly, FGSI – Irish DNA Atlas Project