Fighting Prince of Donegal

The Fighting Prince of Donegal is a 1966 Disney adventure film starring Peter McEnery and Susan Hampshire, based on the novel Red Hugh: Prince of Donegal by Robert T. Reilly. It was released through Buena Vista Distribution Company. The film was shot in the United Kingdom.


Set in the late 1580s, the film very loosely follows the real-life exploits of the 16th century Irish prince "Red" Hugh O'Donnell. The story begins when Hugh's father, the king, dies, leaving his son the throne of Donegal. With his ascension to the throne, an Irish prophecy that "When Hugh succeeds Hugh, Ireland shall be free." (from Elizabethan and English rule). The O'Donnell lords see this occurrence as the opportunity to strike back at the foreigners by force, but Hugh convinces them the right plan is to band together with the other clans of the island, and bargain for their freedom from a position of strength. As he prepares for battle, O'Donnell also courts the beautiful Kathleen McSweeney, to further augment the clans of Ireland. O'Donnell falls in love with her and is imprisoned by the British in Dublin Castle. He then fights to free Donegal Castle where his lady is being held.


  • Peter McEnery as Hugh O'Donnell

  • Susan Hampshire as Kathleen McSweeney

  • Tom Adams as Henry O'Neill

  • Gordon Jackson as Captain Leeds

  • Norman Wooland as Sir John Perrott

  • Richard Leech as Phelim O'Toole

  • Peter Jeffrey as Sergeant

  • Marie Kean as The Mother

  • Bill Owen as Officer Powell

  • Maurice Roëves as Martin

  • Donal McCann as Sean O'Toole

Production Credits

  • Director - Michael O'Herlihy

  • Screenplay - Robert Westerby

  • Source Material (from novel) - Robert T. Reilly

  • Producer - Walt Disney

  • Director of Photography - Arthur Ibbetson

  • Editor - Peter Boita

  • Music - George Bruns

  • Producer - Walt Disney

  • Casting - Maude Spector

  • Costume Designer - Anthony Mendleson

About the Author

Robert T. Reilly (1922-2004) was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, but lived much of his life in Omaha, Nebraska. He was a veteran of World War II and raised 10 children. His book, Red Hugh: Prince of Donegal, was published in 1957. He died in 2004.