O'Sullivan (surname)

Last updated

O'Sullivan is a surname of Irish origin. The surname is associated with the southwestern part of Ireland, and was originally found in County Tipperary and Kerry before the Anglo-Norman invasion. It is the third most numerous surname in Ireland. Roughly half of O'Sullivans hail from Ireland, with around 50% of the O'Sullivans residing there. [1]



Ó Súilleabháin consists of ó (Old Irish úa ) "grandchild, descendant", and the masculine genitive case of Súileabhán, viz. Súileabhán's grandchild/descendant. The female form in Modern Irish is Ní Shúileabhán; "ní" is the shortened form of iníon uí, iníon "daughter", , the genitive of ó "grandchild, descendant".

The etymology of the given name is uncertain. In his book titled The Surnames of Ireland, genealogist Edward MacLysaght states that “while there is no doubt that the basic word is súil (eye) there is a disagreement as to the meaning of the last part of the name.” It is interpreted as súildubhán ⇄ “little dark-eyed one” by Woulfe in Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall, from súil ⇄ "eye," dubh ⇄ "dark/black," and combined with the diminutive suffix -án. Other suggested etymologies include "one-eyed" and "hawk-eyed." [2]

The original bearer of the name, one Suilebhan mac Maolura, is recorded in legendary Irish genealogy as belonging to the 8th generation after Fíngen mac Áedo Duib, and placed in the 9th century. [3]

MacLysaght lists Mac Criomhthain (MacCrohan) and Mac Giolla Chuda (MacGillycuddy) as notable branches of the Súileabhánaigh in County Kerry.

O'Sullivan is the regular anglicization of the Irish name. Less common spelling variants of the name include: Sullavan, Sullivant, Sillivant, Silliphant, and Sillifant.

Some O'Sullivans in the midlands and south Ulster were originally (O) Sullahan (from Ó Súileacháin, probably from súileach, quick-eyed, according to MacLysaght). This surname has now almost entirely changed to Sullivan .

People with surname


















See also

Related Research Articles

Events from the year 1950 in Ireland.

Events from the year 1933 in Ireland.

The Conlon family is a Irish noble family, the original Gaelic spelling being Ó Connalláin. In the tenth and eleventh centuries, the O'Conalláin were Princes of Ui Laeghari, an extensive territory in the counties of Meath and Westmeath, where the High King of Ireland historically derived his seat at the Hill of Tara. The O'Conlons were chiefs of Crioch Tullach, in County Tyrone and branches of this family in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries settled in the counties of Roscommon, Galway and Mayo. As a sept of the Northern Uí Néill, they claim descent from Niall of the Nine Hostages and his son Conall Gulban, both High Kings of Ireland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eóganachta</span> Historic Irish dynasty

The Eóganachta or Eoghanachta were an Irish dynasty centred on Cashel which dominated southern Ireland from the 6/7th to the 10th centuries, and following that, in a restricted form, the Kingdom of Desmond, and its offshoot Carbery, to the late 16th century. By tradition the dynasty was founded by Conall Corc but named after his ancestor Éogan, the firstborn son of the semi-mythological 3rd-century king Ailill Aulom. This dynastic clan-name, for it was never in any sense a 'surname,' should more accurately be restricted to those branches of the royal house which descended from Conall Corc, who established Cashel as his royal seat in the late 5th century.

Naughton is an Irish Gaelic surname derived from the name Ó Neachtain meaning 'descendant of Nechtan'. A Sept of the Dal gCais of the same stock as Quinn and Hartigan where located in Inchiquin Barony, County Clare.

Cotter is a surname that originates in England and Ireland. It can also be an Anglicization, chiefly in North America, of a similar-sounding German surname.

Donoghue or O'Donoghue is an anglicized form of the Irish language surname Ó Donnchadha or Ó Donnchú.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">O'Sullivan family</span>

O'Sullivan is an Irish Gaelic clan based most prominently in what is today County Cork and County Kerry. According to traditional genealogy, the O’Sullivans were descended from the ancient Eóganacht Chaisil sept of Cenél Fíngin, the founder of the clan who was placed in the 9th century, eight generations removed from Fíngen mac Áedo Duib, king of Cashel or Munster from 601 to 618. 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. The last independent ruler of the clan was Donal Cam O'Sullivan Beare, who was defeated in the Nine Years' War of 1594–1603.

Hogan is an Irish surname derived from Irish Ó hÓgáin, a patronymic of Middle Irish ógán, meaning "a youth", in the genitive case, itself from óg, "young", with a prothetic h. A surname of the same form was Anglicised as "Hagan" in Ulster. Some southern bearers claim descent from an uncle of Brian Boru, High King of Ireland (1002–1014). Occasionally appears as an absorption of the west Connacht (O')Houghegan. Hypothetically derivable from related words in Cornish and Welsh.

Mulcahy is a surname of Irish Gaelic origin. The anglicized form of "Ó Maolchatha" which in Gaelic means 'a descendant of a devotee of Cathach', a personal name meaning Warlike. The name is thought to originate in County Tipperary, however the earliest mention of the family appears in the Annals of Inisfallen in 1317 AD and subsequent references in and around the Churches of County Kerry in the 15th century.

Diarmaid is a masculine given name in the Irish language, which has historically been anglicized as Jeremiah or Jeremy, names with which it is etymologically unrelated. Earlier forms of the name include Diarmit and Diarmuit. Variations of the name include Diarmait and Diarmuid. Anglicised forms of the name include Dermody, Dermot and Dermod. Mac Diarmata, anglicised McDermott and similar, is the patronymic and surname derived from the personal name. The exact etymology of the name is debated. There is a possibility that the name is derived in part from , which means "without"; and either from airmit, which means "injunction", or airmait, which means "envy". The Irish name later spread to Scotland where in Scottish Gaelic the form of the name is Diarmad; Anglicised forms of this name include Diarmid and Dermid.

Raftery is a surname originating in Ireland, predominantly in County Mayo, County Galway and County Roscommon. Edward MacLysaght observes that 'Raftery, sometimes confused with Rafferty, is quite a different name', originating as 'O'Reachtaire', 'reacht' meaning 'decree'.

The surname Ford has several origins. In some cases it originated as a name for someone who lived near a ford, and is therefore derived from the Old English and Middle English ford. In some cases, the surname is derived from places named Ford. Examples of such places include Ford in Northumberland, a place in Somerset, Ford in Shropshire, Ford in West Sussex, and Forde in Dorset.

Mór Muman or Mór Mumain is a figure from early Irish literature who is said to have been a queen of Munster and daughter of king Áed Bennán. Her name means "the Great Mother" and the province of Munster is named after her. She is believed to be an euhemerised mother goddess and sovereignty goddess of the province, particularly of the Eóganachta. Mór Muman "personifies the land of Munster" and "the sovereignty of the region". She is also known as Mugain and may be the same figure as Anu and the Morrígan.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Eóganacht Chaisil</span>

Eóganacht Chaisil were a branch of the Eóganachta, the ruling dynasty of Munster between the 5th and 10th centuries. They took their name from Cashel which was the capital of the early Catholic kingdom of Munster. They were descended from Óengus mac Nad Froích, the first Christian King of Munster, through his son Feidlimid mac Óengusa.

Aulay is a Scottish masculine given name. It is an Anglicisation of the Scottish Gaelic Amhladh, Amhlaidh, Amhlaigh, and Amhlaibh. The standard Irish Gaelic form of these names is Amhlaoibh ; which can be Anglicised as Auliffe and Humphrey.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Knockgraffon</span>

Knockgraffon is a townland in the civil parish of the same name in County Tipperary, Ireland The civil parish lies in the barony of Middle Third. It is also part of the ecclesiastical parish of New Inn & Knockgraffon in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly. Interesting features include a fine Motte, a church and a castle.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Derreen Garden</span>

Derreen Garden lies on a promontory in Kilmakilloge Harbour on the Beara Peninsula, in Tuosist parish, near Kenmare in County Kerry. The 4th Marquess of Lansdowne (1816–1866) initiated the planting of the garden in 1863, but it was his son and heir, The 5th Marquess of Lansdowne (1845–1927), who in his time served as Governor General of Canada, Viceroy of India, and British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, who from 1870 onwards gave the garden its present shape. Today it covers more than 60 acres and includes nearly 12 km of paths.

Micheal is a masculine given name. It is sometimes an anglicized form of the Irish names Micheál, Mícheál and Michéal; or the Scottish Gaelic name Mìcheal. It is also a spelling variant of the common masculine given name Michael, and is sometimes considered erroneous.

Quinn is an Anglicised form of the Irish Ó Coinn or Mac Cuinn. The latter surname means "descendant of Conn". The surname Quinn is also rendered Ó Cuinn or Mac Cuinn in Irish. The surname is borne by several unrelated families in Ireland, especially in the northern province of Ulster and also the counties of Clare, Longford, and Mayo. The most notable family of the name are that of Thomond, a Dalcassian sept, who derive their surname from Niall Ó Cuinn who was slain at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. This family was formerly represented by the Earls of Dunraven. Another family is that seated in Annaly, who were related to the O'Farrell lords of Longford. Another Quinn family was seated at An Chraobh, County Tyrone and they were related to the O'Neill Kings of Tír Eoghain and for whom they acted as Hereditary Quartermasters. Other families include one seated in Antrim; one seated in Raphoe; and one called Clann Cuain, seated near Castlebar. In the seventeenth century, the surname Quinn was common in Waterford. In 1890, the surname was numerous in Dublin, Tyrone, Antrim, and Roscommon. Quinn is one of the twenty most common surnames in Ireland. It is sometimes said that the surname Quinn is borne by Catholics whilst Quin is borne by Protestants.


  1. "O'Sullivan Surname Origin, Meaning & Last Name History". forebears.io. Retrieved 15 March 2023.
  2. "Sullivan tribes around the world". www.ireland101.com. Retrieved 15 March 2023.
  3. Irish Family History, Dublin, 1865 p. 237. Genealogy: Óengus mac Nad Froích (d. 489, first Christian king of Munster), Feidlimid mac Óengusa ("Felim"), "Criomthan", "Hugh Dubh", Fíngen mac Áedo Duib ("Flan", d. 618), Seachnusa, Fiacha Laoch, Flan, Dubh-Jonracht, Murrogh, Eigherein, Maolura, Suilebhan.