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The SULLIVAN / O'SULLIVAN (Beare) Families of SW County Cork, Ireland


Almost eighty per cent of the SULLIVANs / O'SULLIVANS in Ireland today belong to the counties of Cork and Kerry, They became very numerous and powerful, dividing into a number of branch septs of which O'Sullivan Mor and O'Sullivan Beare were the most important. The former had his principal castle at Dunkerron on the shore of Kenmare Bay, the latter was lord of the modern baronies of Beare and Bantry. Donal O'Sullivan Beare (1560-1618), hero of the siege of Dunboy was famous for his hazardous march to Ulster after the disasters of the Battle of Kinsale and the capture of Dunbly (see also LOWNEY). His nephew, Philip O'Sullivan Beare (1590-1660), was a soldier in the Spanish army, but is better known as a historian: his Historiae Catholicae Iberniae Compendium recounts the events of the Elizabethan wars as told to him by his uncle and other participants.

1. The SULLIVAN / O'SULLIVAN (Beare) Family of Felane, Castletownbere

Head of the family is John SULLIVAN (1806-70, possibly s/o Michael SULLIVAN) & Mary SHEEHAN (1810-1878, possibly d/o Timothy SHEEHAN) of Ballusky & Ardnasciach / Ardnaskeagh in Felane West, a township east of Castletownbere, who married in January 1834. Their known children:

  • Hanora SULLIVAN (1835);

  • Mary SULLIVAN (1837) = John (Jack) LOWNEY of Ardnasciach in 1860 Castletownbere (my wife’s 2xGGPs). In 1901 & 1911 the family is recorded as being resident in the Scart, Curryglass, just east of Felane;

  • Catherine SULLIVAN (1840-1914) = Timothy SULLIVAN (1840-1905, s/o Daniel SULLIVAN & Catherine LEARY) in 1865. The family were also in Curryglass in 1901 and in 1911 (Derreeny);

  • Michael SULLIVAN (1843-1925) = Mary CARTY (1843) of Clonakilty in 1864 Clonakilty:

    • 1865-1876 baptisms for early children not found;

    • Mark SULLIVAN (abt 1876) = Bridget TWOMEY in 1901 Castletownbere and inherits the property at Felane East. Children:

      • Michael Bernard SULLIVAN (1903);

      • Mary Ann Elizabeth SULLIVAN (1904);

      • Anthony Patrick SULLIVAN (1906-1960 Queens, New York);

      • Mark SULLIVAN (1907);

      • Catherine SULLIVAN (1908);

      • Martha Mary SULLIVAN (1910);

    • Cornelius SULLIVAN (1878) of Felane East;

    • Richard SULLIVAN (1880);

    • Teresa SULLIVAN (1883);

  • Margaret SULLIVAN (1846-1913) = John MURPHY (c1830-bef1911) of Fuhur in 1871 Castletownbere. Couple raised their family and died at Fuhur;

  • Cornelius SULLIVAN (1850-1915) – no marriage found;

2. The SULLIVAN / O'SULLIVAN Family of Whiddy Island, Bantry Bay

The son of above couple, John (Jack) LOWNEY, a coachbuilder and carpenter of Clonakilty, Co. Cork = Ellen SULLIVAN (1862-1934 d/o Daniel SULLIVAN) of Whiddy Island, Bantry Bay in 1890. Her mother’s name is not given on her marriage record and baptismal records are inconclusive. Despite numerous SULLIVANs in the 1901 Irish census on Whiddy Island there is no matching Daniel (who witnessed the marriage in 1890 and presumably deceased).

There are few specific references to SULLIVANs on Whiddy Island in Bantry records – only 4 marriages, no baptisms:

  • Kate SULLIVAN of Whiddy (d/o John SULLIVAN) = Daniel SHANAHAN of Whiddy in 1877;

  • John SULLIVAN of Whiddy (s/o Daniel SULLIVAN) = Anna DRISCOLL of Whiddy in 1876;

  • Margaret SULLIVAN of Whiddy (d/o John SULLIVAN) = Denis LEARY of Whiddy in 1875;

  • Anne SULLIVAN of Whiddy (d/o Denis SULLIVAN) = Floren BURKE in 1879;


3. The SULLIVAN / O'SULLIVAN Family of Ardfield & Rathbarry / Rosscarbery, County Cork


Abigail SULLIVAN (bef 1791) = Daniel BRIEN sometime before 1809 in Cork, Ireland:


Their only known child Johanna BRIEN (1809 Ardfield & Rathbarry) = Jeremiah FITZPATRICK in 1833 Ardfield.
Her possible sister
Catherine BRIEN (based on family stories) = Daniel FITZPATRICK in 1842 Ardfield.




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The outline above is indicative only and not necessarily fully correct or complete.
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