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The Irish Rose

Sullivan Name History

Sullivan Irish Coat of arms


The history of the name Sullivan dates back to a time before the Irish names were translated into English. The old Gaelic name used by the Sullivan family in Ireland was O Suileabhain, which is partially derived from the word "suil," which means "eye." The surname probably means either one-eyed or hawk-eyed.

From the Sullivans 'R' Us Blog, "O'Sullivan is the third most popular name in Ireland behind Murphy and Kelly. Tipperary was the original territory of this sept (family group). There seem to be two major Irish septs of O Sullivans in Ireland now. They are the O Sullivan Mor and the O Sullivan Beare Families. The Mor group may be the main line because the word Mor means main. They were based in the County Kerry and later moved to the Kenmore Peninsula known today as the Ring of Kerry. They had a castle at Kenmore called Dunkerron. The O Sullivan Beare (Bear, or Beare or Beara refers to the Beara Peninsula) group was based in County Cork and later moved into the Bantry Bay area and had a castle at Ardloe." 

More about Sullivan family crest and name history

The Sullivan history is long and storied. We have two heirloom-quality products that provide detailed information on the Sullivan coat of arms and name.

We also carry many other products, including clothing, glassware, flags and more, all of which can be personalized with the Sullivan coat of arms and surname. Visit our Irish Coat of Arms page for great gift ideas.

Visit Sullivan's Pub in Ireland

You can find at least two pubs with the Sullivan or O'Sullivan name.

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

Notable people named Sullivan

  • Andrew Sullivan, conservative author and political commentator
  • Anne Sullivan, teacher and mentor to Helen Keller
  • Arthur Sullivan, the composer, best known for his work as part of Gilbert and Sullivan
  • Brittany "McKey" Sullivan, winner of America's Next Top Model, Cycle 11
  • Charles L. Sullivan, American politician
  • Chub Sullivan, Major League Baseball first baseman
  • Christopher Daniel Sullivan, US Representative from New York from 1917 to 1941
  • Cory Sullivan, Major League Baseball outfielder
  • Danny Sullivan, race car driver and former winner of the Indianapolis 500
  • Danny Sullivan (technologist)(born 1965), expert in search engine optimization
  • Dennis Sullivan, an American mathematician
  • Eamon Sullivan, Australian Olympic swimmer
  • Ed Sullivan, an American entertainment writer who hosted a TV variety show (The Ed Sullivan Show) in the 50s and 60s
  • Edmund Joseph Sullivan book illustrator
  • Erik Per Sullivan, American actor, most known as Dewey on Malcolm in the Middle
  • Harry Stack Sullivan, an American psychologist and psychoanalyst
  • Gary Sullivan, Surgeon & Author of "The History of the O'Sullivan Clan"
  • James Sullivan, Irish Composer/Singer/Songwriter
  • Jeremiah C. Sullivan, American Civil War general in the Union Army
  • John Sullivan, General in the American Revolution and Governor of New Hampshire
  • John L. Sullivan, an American prize-fighter
  • John Louis O'Sullivan, America journalist who coined the phrase Manifest Destiny
  • Joseph Sullivan, FBI agent, Major case inspector
  • J. W. N. Sullivan, journalist and writer of popular science
  • Kevin Sullivan, American Pro Wrestler
  • Kate Sullivan, New York City news anchor
  • Kathryn Dwyer Sullivan, first American woman astronaut to walk in space
  • Kyle Sullivan, American actor
  • Liam Kyle Sullivan, American comedian/actor
  • Louis Sullivan, architect of the early 20th century
  • Mick Sullivan, English rugby league footballer
  • Nicole Sullivan, American actress, voice actress, comedian
  • Patrick Joseph Sullivan, a Wyoming senator
  • Patrick J. Sullivan (Pennsylvania), a Pennsylvania congressman
  • Robert Baldwin Sullivan, Canadian lawyer, judge, and politician who became the 2nd Mayor of Toronto
  • Sam Sullivan, Mayor of Vancouver, BC
  • Steve Sullivan, North American NHL hockey player
  • Timothy Daniel Sullivan, Irish politician
  • Timothy J. Sullivan, the twenty-fifth president of The College of William & Mary
  • William H. Sullivan, US Ambassador

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