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The Irish Rose

O'Sullivan Name History

O'Sullivan Name History

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O'Sullivan (Irish: Ó Súilleabháin), also known as simply Sullivan, is an Irish Gaelic clan based most prominently in what is today County Cork and County Kerry. The surname is associated with the southwestern part of Ireland and was originally found in County Tipperary before the Anglo-Norman invasion. It is the third most numerous surname in Ireland. Due to emigration is also common in Australia, North America, Britain and the rest of the world.

The O'Sullivans are the medieval and modern continuation of the ancient Eóganacht Chaisil sept of Cenél Fíngin, being descendants of Fíngen mac Áedo Duib, king of Cashel or Munster from 601 to 618. They are thus understood to be of royal extraction. Fedelmid mac Crimthainn (died 847), the celebrated King of Munster and nearly High King of Ireland, was the last king of the Cenél Fíngin/O'Sullivan line. Later they became the chief princes underneath their close kinsmen the MacCarthy dynasty in the small but powerful Kingdom of Desmond, successor of Cashel/Munster. 

History

The O'Sullivan clan claimed a descent from the mythological followers of Milesius who were the first Celts to colonize Innis Fáil, their "island of destiny". They had migrated from an area of the northwest coast of Spain which is now known as the province of Galicia. There they had founded a city they called Brigantia. They had remained there for several generations before embarking on the last leg of their odyssey. They arrived in their promised land in approximately the year 800 B.C

Learn more about the O'Sullivan

The Framed Irish Family Name History, (#1760) has more information on the O'Sullivan surname. There is a wide selection of O'Sullivan coat of arms products at The Irish Rose. Please visit the Irish Coat of Arms page.

Visit O'Sullivan's Pub in Ireland

You can visit at least two O'Sullivan's Pubs in Ireland.

If you can't visit in person, our personalized pub gifts are the next best thing!

Notable people named O'Sullivan

  • Camille O'Sullivan (born 1975), Irish singer
  • Dan O'Sullivan (born 1968), American professional basketball player
  • Denis O'Sullivan (golfer) (born 1948), Irish golfer
  • Denis J. O'Sullivan (1918–1987), Irish Fine Gael TD from Cork
  • Diarmuid O'Sullivan (born 1978), Irish sportsman
  • Donal Cam O'Sullivan Beare (1561–1613), Irish chieftain
  • Eddie O'Sullivan (born 1958), Irish rugby union coach and footballer
  • Edward William O'Sullivan (1846–1910), Australian journalist and politician
  • Eoghan Rua Ó Súilleabháin (Owen Roe O'Sullivan, 1748–1782), Irish Gaelic poet
  • Eugene D. O'Sullivan (1883–1968), American Democratic Party politician from Nebraska
  • Gearóid O'Sullivan (1891–1948), Irish teacher, Irish Republican Army officer, barrister and Sinn Féin and Fine Gael politician
  • Gerald Robert O'Sullivan VC (1888–1915), Irish soldier in the British Army, recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Gerry O'Sullivan (1936–1994), Irish Labour Party TD
  • Gilbert O'Sullivan (born 1946), Irish-born, UK-based singer-songwriter, who had several hits in the 1970s
  • Gillian O'Sullivan (born 1976), Irish race walker
  • Henry O'Sullivan (1845-1912), land surveyor, geologist and explorer, at the Department of Lands and Forests, for Government of Quebec, and explorer of Labrador, Gaspésie and all Nord-du-Québec.
  • J. T. O'Sullivan (born 1979), American professional football player
  • Jacquie O'Sullivan (born 1960), British singer and songwriter
  • Jan O'Sullivan (born 1950), Irish Labour Party politician, currently a Teachta Dála (TD) for Limerick East
  • Jeremiah O'Sullivan (born 1842), Irish-born American Roman Catholic bishop
  • Kevin O'Sullivan (baseball) (born 1968), American college baseball coach
  • Louise O'Sullivan (born 1973), Irish telecommunications executive
  • Lance O'Sullivan (born 1963), New Zealand jockey, retired
  • Maggie O'Sullivan (born 1951), British poet, performer and visual artist
  • Marcus O'Sullivan (born 1961), Irish coach and former middle distance runner based in the United States
  • Maureen O'Sullivan (1911–1998), Irish cinema actress
  • Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, Irish composer and musician
  • Mickey O'Sullivan (1932–2012), American college baseball coach
  • Muiris Ó Súilleabháin (1904–1950), Irish writer; author of autobiography Fiche Blian ag Fás (Twenty Years A-Growing)
  • Nóirín O'Sullivan, first female Commissioner of An Garda Síochána
  • Paddy O'Sullivan (1918–1994), female Special Operations Executive spy during World War II
  • Pat O'Sullivan, American amateur golfer who won the 1951 Titleholders Championship
  • Patrick O'Sullivan (born 1985), Canadian-born American professional ice hockey player
  • Richard O'Sullivan (born 1944), English actor, notable for his sitcom roles in the 1970s and 1980s
  • Ronnie O'Sullivan (born 1975), English professional snooker player
  • Seumas O'Sullivan (1879–1958), Irish poet and editor of The Dublin Magazine
  • Shawn O'Sullivan (born 1964), Canadian boxer
  • Sonia O'Sullivan (born 1969), Irish Olympic runner
  • Terence Patrick O'Sullivan (1913–1970), English civil engineer
  • Thomas C. O'Sullivan (c.1858–1913), New York politician and judge
  • Timothy O'Sullivan (Fianna Fáil politician) (1899–1969), Irish Fianna Fáil Party politician
  • Timothy H. O'Sullivan (c. 1840–1882), American Civil War photographer
  • Toddy O'Sullivan (born 1934), Irish Labour Party politician
  • Vince O'Sullivan (born 1957), American racewalker
  • Wayne O'Sullivan (born 1974), Irish soccer player in Australia
  • William S. O'Sullivan (1928-1971), Irish-American gangster

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