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Des Keogh Photo by: Playbill

The Keough clan

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Des Keogh Photo by: Playbill

 

Keough, Keogh, Kehoe, O'Hoey, Hoy, Haughy, Haugh and MacKeogh are all derivatives of the Irish surname Mac Eochaidh.

The clan originated in Leinster, and the name is common in Co. Wexford, and in the Munster counties of Limerick and Tipperary, where the Irish spelling is MagCeoch or MacCeoch. In medieval times the MacKeoghs from Leinster moved from Kildare to Wicklow and then down to Wexford.

Branches of the family were also located in Ballymackeogh, Co. Tipperary.

In 1534, the Annals of the Four Masters describes Maolmuire MacKeogh as Chief of Poetry in Leinster. The family also produced two famous Protestant clergymen who also followed other careers: John Keogh (1653-1725) who was a mathematician, and John Keogh (1681-1754) who was a botanist and a zoologist. The Keoghs also made their mark as both rebels and politicians. Matthew Keogh (1744-1798) was hanged for his role in the Irish rebellion of 1798. John Keogh (1740-1817) campaigned for voting rights for Irish Catholics and repeal of the Penal Laws.

In more recent times, Christine Kehoe (D) has been serving as a California senator since her election in 2004. Prior to which, she was a state assembly woman.

The Keoghs also made great soldiers. Myles Walter Keogh (March 25, 1840 - June 25, 1876), born in Co. Carlow, signed on as a volunteer with the Union Army and saw action in the Gettysburg campaign. After the war he obtained a commission as a captain in the 7th Cavalry Regiment under George Armstrong Custer. Myles was killed at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. His horse, Comanche, was the only military survivor of the battle. Shortly after the battle, on June 25, 1876, the Army honored Myles by naming Fort Keogh after him.

Established to bring the Indians in the region under control and onto reservations, today Fort Keogh is a 55,000 acre rangeland beef cattle research facility operated in cooperation with the agriculture research component of Montana State University. Myles Keogh is buried in Fort Hill cemetery in Auburn, New York.

In World War II, Shorty Keogh was one of the several American flyers who, as members of 609 Squadron, fought with the British Airforce. 

Flying high in the world of fashion, we have Riley Keough, granddaughter of Elvis Presley. Keough, born May 29, 1989 as Danielle Riley Keough, is the daughter of Lisa Marie Presley and musician Danny Keough. She made her modeling debut with Dolce and Gabbana and has since worked for fashion-world heavy hitters such as Christian Dior and Victoria's Secret.

Also strutting his stuff upon the stage is Irish actor Des Keogh. Since his memorable performance in Ulysses in 1967, Keogh has had a prolific career. Most recently, he reaffirrmed his acting credentials with the massive success of his one-man show The Love-Hungry Farmer, a play he adapted from the letters of John B. Keane. After two runs at the Irish Repertory Theatre in New York, Keogh brought the show to Ireland where it enjoyed a sold-out tour.

In the world of sports, Matt Keough (1955- ) played baseball in the major leagues from 1977 to 1986. He began his career as an infielder, but quickly became a star pitcher. Keough played for the Oakland A's, the New York Yankees, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Chicago Cubs, and the Houston Astros. His son, Shane Keough, is currently in the minor leagues and a prospective recruit for Oakland Athletics.

The Keogh name is also familiar to those with an eye on retirement. The Keogh plan, a tax-deferred retirement plan designed to help self-employed workers, was named after U.S. Representative Eugene James Keogh, who came up with the idea in 1962. Keogh, a Democrat, was born in Brooklyn in 1907, and elected to Congress in 1936.

But in a world of interesting Keoughs, both historic and present day, there is no one who means more to Irish America than Donald Keough. A true friend of Ireland, Keough, whose ancestors hail from Co. Wexford, established the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies at Notre Dame, and the Keough-Naughton Centre in Dublin. The former President and CEO of Coca-Cola Company, and current chairman of Allen & Co., grew up in Sioux City, Iowa.

He is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Horatio Alger Award and the Notre Dame Laetare Medal. A keynote speaker at Irish America's Business 100 and Wall Street 50 dinners, he was honored as "Irish-American of the Year" in 1995 and was named one of the "Irish of the Century," in 1999.

Over a century and a half after his ancestors left Ireland, Donald Keough became an Irish citizen, thus completing the "Long Journey Home," which began in Famine times when 18-year-old Michael Keough left County Wexford seeking a better life for his children and his children's children.

Donald Keough, is a man known for his generous support of Irish causes.

The son of a farmer and cattleman, he was born in a small town in Iowa in 1927. When the Depression hit, his father lost most of his money in the cattle market. When the house on the farm property accidentally burned down, the family moved to Sioux City, where Keough’s father struggled to start over again.

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