Famous People

Sean O’Sullivan (1906-1964)
sean o sullivan
The Irish portrait painter and printmaker Sean O’Sullivan was born in Dublin in 1906. He studied drawing at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art where he won a scholarship and studied lithography at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London. After this, he studied fine art painting and figure painting in Paris at Colarossi’s and La Grande Chaumiere.

One of his Parisian neighbours was the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1929). In addition, he met and made friends with Irishmen Samuel Beckett, James Joyce and Thomas MacGreevy, as well as the French painter Goeorges Rouault (1871-1958).

Returning to London in the mid 1920s, O’Sullivan found work in book design and printmaking. Moving back to Dublin, he focused on portrait art, completing a number of paintings in oils as well as crayon and pencil.

He began exhibiting at the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) in 1926, at the age of 20, contributing an average of six paintings a year until 1964. Most of his works were portraits interspersed with landscape painting of the West of Ireland.

In 1928 he became the youngest ever associate member of the RHA, and in 1931 was elected an academician.

During his distinguished career as a portraitist, Sean O’Sullivan drew or painted portraits of James Joyce, WB Yeats, Jack B Yeats, Maude Gonne, Eamon de Valera, Brendan Behan, John Broderick, Thomas MacGreevy, Douglas Hyde, MSD Westropp, Henry J Levitt, Ernie O’Malley, James Larkin, Alice Milligan, FJ McCormick, Bulmer Hobson, Sir Chester Beatty, Paul Landowski, and others.

Many are held in public collections of Irish art in the National Gallery of Ireland, Hugh Lane Gallery, University College Dublin, Abbey Theatre, Crawford Art Gallery Cork, Limerick Art Gallery, National Self-Portrait Collection Limerick University, and others.

Fluent in Irish and French, gregarious and a renowned story-teller, Sean O’Sullivan also painted a number of murals, executed chalk drawings, designed postage stamps, and taught at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art. He died of a stroke in 1964. His works are represented in all major Irish art collections.

Donal Cam O’Sullivan Beare
Donal Cam O'Sullivan
Donal Cam O’Sullivan Beare, Prince of Beare, 1st Count of Berehaven (Irish: Domhnall Cam Ó Súilleabháin Bhéara) (1561–1618) was the last independent ruler of the O’Sullivan Beara sept, and thus the last O’Sullivan Beare, a Gaelic princely title, in the southwest of Ireland during the early seventeenth century, when the English were attempting to secure their rule over the whole island.

Early life

Donal’s father was killed in 1563, but his son was considered to be too young to inherit and the clan leadership passed to the chief’s surviving brother Owen, who was confirmed by English authorities in Dublin with the title Lord of Beare and Bantry. In order to consolidate his position, Owen accepted the authority of Queen Elizabeth I of England and was knighted. In 1587 Donal asserted his own claim to leadership of the clan, petitioning Dublin to put aside Owen’s appointment with a claim derived from English laws based on absolute male primogeniture. These laws did not recognise age as relevant to inheritance rights. Keen to extend English legal authority over Ireland, the Dublin commission accepted Donal’s claim. He now became “the O’Sullivan Beare”.

Nine Years War

By 1600 Munster had been devastated by battle, and the Gaelic clans lost over half a million acres (4,000 km²) of land to settlers from England following the defeat of the Desmond Rebellions.

In the lead up to the Nine Years’ War O’Sullivan kept his distance from the rebel cause, but in time he joined a confederation of Gaelic chiefs led by Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone and Hugh Roe O’Donnell of Ulster. Conflict had broken out in 1594, and O’Neill secured support from Philip II of Spain. The Spanish sent a force under the command of Don Juan D’Aquilla in 1601. O’Sullivan wrote to the Spanish king in submission to his authority, but the letter was intercepted by the English. In early 1602 the allied Irish and Spanish forces met the English at the Battle of Kinsale and were defeated.

O’Sullivan resolved to continue the struggle by taking control of the castle of Dunboy. In 1603 English forces attacked Dunboy and the castle fell after a vicious siege. The entire company of defenders was killed in combat or executed.

O’Sullivan’s march

Donal himself was absent from the siege, having travelled to the north of the island for a conference with Hugh O’Neill. His letter to Philip left him with little hope of a pardon from the English, and he continued the fight with guerilla tactics.

He was eventually forced to gather up his remaining followers, including women and children, and set off for the north, on a 250-mile march which he and his people completed in 14 days. He fought a long rearguard action across Ireland, during which the much larger English force fought him all the way, as did rival Irish leaders. The march is one of the most poignant in Irish history and was marked by enormous suffering as the fleeing and starving O’Sullivans sought food from an already decimated Irish countryside in winter, often resulting in hostility, such as from the Mac Egans at Redwood Castle in Tipperary. O’Sullivan marched through Aughrim, where he raided villages for food and met with local resistance. He was barred entrance to Glinsk castle and led his refugees further north. On their arrival at the O’Rourke’s castle in Leitrim on January 4th 1603, only 35 of the original 1,000 remained. Many had died in battles or from exposure and hunger, and others had settled along the route. In Leitrim, O’Sullivan sought to join with other northern chiefs to fight the English and organised a force to this end, but resistance ended when Hugh O’Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone signed the Treaty of Mellifont. O’Sullivan, like other member of the Gaelic nobility of Ireland who fled, sought exile, making his escape to Spain by ship .


When he left Ireland, Cornelius O’Driscoll and other Irish knights helped him and his clan. In Spain O’Sullivan was welcomed by King Philip III. His princely status was reconfirmed, and he received a commission as an imperial general. His cousin, Pilib Ó Súilleabháin Bhéara, was particularly important in this regard and his 1618 disquisition in Latin, A Briefe Relation of Ireland and the diversity of Irish in the same was particularly influential.

In 1618, O’Sullivan was murdered just as he was leaving mass in the Plaza de Santo Domingo in Madrid. The murderer was John Bathe, a young Englishman who had been disfigured in a duel by the prince’s nephew, on account of some arguments between Bathe and O’Sullivan; it is also said that the man was a spy on behalf the English Crown.

O’Sullivan enjoyed a wide reputation, which helped to open doors for later soldiers from his line. About 165 years later, one descendant, John Sullivan, served as a general in the American Revolution.

Philip O’Sullivan Beare

Philip O’Sullivan Beare (Irish: Pilib Ó Súilleabháin Béirre, c. 1590; died in Spain, 1660) was an Irish soldier who became more famous as a writer.

He was son of Dermot O’Sullivan and nephew of Donal O’Sullivan Beare, Prince of Beare. The O’Sullivans, headed by the O’Sullivan Beare, owned much of Valentia Island in south-western Ireland.

He was sent to Spain in 1602, and was educated at Compostela by Vendamma, a Spaniard, and John Synnott, an Irish Jesuit.

He served in the Spanish army. In 1621 he published his Catholic History of Ireland, a work not always reliable, but valuable for the Irish wars of the author’s own day. He also wrote a Life of St. Patrick, a confutation of Gerald of Wales and a reply to James Usher’s attack on his History.

Maureen O’Sullivan
Maureen O'Sullivan
Maureen Paula O’Sullivan (May 17, 1911 – June 23, 1998) was an Irish actress. She was known as the “first Irish movie star”.

Early life

O’Sullivan was born in Boyle, County Roscommon, Ireland in 1911, the daughter of Mary Lovatt (née Fraser) and Charles Joseph O’Sullivan, an officer in the Connaught Rangers who served in World War I. She attended a convent school in Dublin, then the Convent of the Sacred Heart at Roehampton (now Woldingham School). One of her classmates there was Vivian Mary Hartley, future Academy Award-winning actress Vivien Leigh. After attending finishing school in France, O’Sullivan returned to Dublin to work with the poor.

Film career

O’Sullivan’s film career began when she met motion picture director Frank Borzage who was doing location filming on Song o’ My Heart for 20th Century Fox. He suggested she take a screen test. She did and won a part in the movie, which starred Irish tenor John McCormack. She traveled to the United States to complete the movie in Hollywood. O’Sullivan appeared in six movies at Fox, then made three more at other movie studios.

In 1932, she signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. After several roles there and at other movie studios, she was chosen by Irving Thalberg to appear as Jane Parker in Tarzan the Ape Man, opposite co-star Johnny Weissmuller. She was one of the more popular ingenues at MGM throughout the 1930s and appeared in a number of other productions with various stars. In all, O’Sullivan played Jane in six features between 1932 and 1942.

She also starred with William Powell and Myrna Loy in The Thin Man (1934) and played Kitty in Anna Karenina (1935) with Greta Garbo and Basil Rathbone. She appeared as Molly Beaumont in A Yank at Oxford (1938), which was written partly by F. Scott Fitzgerald. At her request, he rewrote her part to give it substance and novelty. She played another Jane in Pride and Prejudice (1940) with Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson, and supported Ann Sothern in Maisie Was a Lady (1941). After appearing in Tarzan’s New York Adventure (1942), O’Sullivan asked MGM to release her from her contract so she could care for her husband who had just left the Navy with typhoid. She then retired from show business, devoting her time to being a wife and mother.

Marriages and later life

O’Sullivan’s first husband was Australian-born writer, award-winning director and Catholic convert John Farrow, from September 12, 1936 until his death on January 28, 1963.

She and Farrow were the parents of seven children:

Michael Damien (1939–1958)

Patrick Joseph (1942–2009)

Maria de Lourdes Villiers (Mia Farrow)

John Charles (born 1946)

Stephanie Farrow

Prudence Farrow

Theresa Magdalena “Tisa” Farrow

In 1948, she re-appeared on the screen in The Big Clock, directed by her husband for Paramount Pictures. She continued to appear occasionally in her husband’s movies and on television. However, by 1960 she believed she had permanently retired. In 1963, Farrow and O’Sullivan’s eldest son, Michael, died in a plane crash in California.

Actor Pat O’Brien encouraged her to take a part in summer stock, and the play A Roomful of Roses opened in 1961. That led to another play, Never Too Late, in which she co-starred with Paul Ford in what was her Broadway debut. Shortly after it opened on Broadway John Farrow died of a heart attack. O’Sullivan stuck with acting after Farrow’s death: she was the Today Girl for NBC for a while, then made the movie version of Never Too Late (1965) for Warner Bros..

She was also an executive director of a bridal consulting service, Wediquette International. In June and July 1972, O’Sullivan was in Denver, Colorado, to star in the Elitch Theatre production of Butterflies are Free with Brandon deWilde. The show ended on July 1, 1972. Five days later (on July 6, 1972), while still in Denver, deWilde was killed in a motor vehicle accident

A widow for twenty years, O’Sullivan was married to her second husband, John Cushing, from August 22 1983 until her death. When her daughter, actress Mia Farrow, became involved with Woody Allen both professionally and romantically, O’Sullivan appeared in Hannah and Her Sisters, playing Farrow’s mother. She had roles in Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) and the science fiction oddity Stranded (1987). Mia Farrow named one of her own sons Satchel Ronan O’Sullivan Farrow for her mother.

In 1994, O’Sullivan appeared with Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers in Hart to Hart: Home Is Where the Hart Is, a feature-length made-for-TV movie with the wealthy husband-and-wife team from the popular weekly detective series Hart to Hart.

Gillian O’Sullivan

Gillian O’Sullivan (born 21 August 1976 in Killarney) is an Irish race walker. She has held the world record in the 5000m walk since 2002 and won a silver medal at the world championship in 2003 over 20km. It was the first time since 1995 that an Irish athlete had won a World Championship medal. Six years later in Berlin at the World Championships Olive Loughnane won silver at the same event as O’Sullivan.

O’Sullivan was also the first Irish athlete to win a medal in the walk at an Athletics Championship. O’Sullivan was one of the main contenders for Ireland to win a medal in the Olympics in Athens in 2004 in the 20km walk but suffered an injury just before the games that prevented her from taking part. O’Sullivan retired on April 19, 2007 after years of injuries.

She now works as a personal trainer and runs a series of health, fitness and motivation talks in Cork.

Notable people named O’Sullivan

Dan O’Sullivan (born 1968), American professional basketball player

David O’Sullivan (disambiguation)

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

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

Jerry O’Sullivan (disambiguation)

John O’Sullivan (disambiguation)

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

Michael O’Sullivan (disambiguation)

Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin, Irish composer and musician

Muiris Ó Súilleabháin (1904–1950), Irish writer; author of autobiography Fiche Blian ag Fás (Twenty Years A-Growing)

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 (ice hockey) (born 1985), Canadian-born American professional ice hockey player

Patrick B. O’Sullivan (1887–1978), American politician from Connecticut, U.S. representative

Peter O’Sullivan (born 1943), Irish hurler

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’

Sean O’Sullivan (disambiguation)

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

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

Notable people named Sullivan

Alexander Martin Sullivan, Irish politician

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

Christopher D. Sullivan, US Representative from New York from 1917 to 1941

Chub Sullivan, Major League Baseball first baseman

Con Sullivan, New Zealand-Australian rugby league footballer

Cory Sullivan, Major League Baseball outfielder

Dan Sullivan (mayor) (born 1951), mayor of Anchorage, Alaska

Daniel “Horse-Whisperer” Sullivan, horse tamer

Danny Sullivan, race car driver and former winner of the Indianapolis 500

Danny Sullivan (technologist) (born 1965), expert in search engine optimization

Dennis Sullivan, American mathematician

Eamon Sullivan, Australian olympic swimmer

Ed Sullivan, American entertainment writer who hosted a TV variety show (The Ed Sullivan Show) in the 50s and 60s

Edmund Joseph Sullivan, book illustrator

Sir Edward Sullivan, 1st Baronet

Erik Per Sullivan, American actor, most known as Dewey on Malcolm in the Middle

Harry Sullivan (baseball) (1818-1919), Major League Baseball pitcher

Harry Stack Sullivan, American psychologist and psychoanalyst

J. W. N. Sullivan, journalist and writer of popular science

James Sullivan (disambiguation)

Jeremiah C. Sullivan, American Civil War general in the Union Army

Jim Sullivan (disambiguation)

John Sullivan, general in the American Revolution and Governor of New Hampshire

John Sullivan (British governor) (1788–1855)

John L. Sullivan, American prize-fighter

Joseph Sullivan (FBI), FBI agent, Major Case Inspector

Joseph Sullivan (mayor), mayor of Braintree, Massachusetts

Kevin Sullivan (wrestler), American pro wrestler

Kevin J. Sullivan (mayor), mayor of Lawrence, Massachusetts

Kate Sullivan, Chicago news anchor

Kathryn D. Sullivan, first American woman astronaut to walk in space

Kyle Sullivan, American actor

Liam Kyle Sullivan, American comedian/actor

Louis Sullivan, early 20th century architect

Michael Sullivan (disambiguation)

Mick Sullivan, English rugby league footballer

Mike Sullivan (Canadian politician), Canadian Member of Parliament

Mike Sullivan (governor)

Morris Sullivan, businessman and co-founder of Sullivan Bluth Studios, an animation studio

Nicole Sullivan, American actress, voice actress, comedian

Patrick Sullivan (American football executive)

Patrick J. Sullivan (Pennsylvania), Pennsylvania congressman

Patrick Joseph Sullivan, Wyoming senator

Robert Baldwin Sullivan, Canadian lawyer, judge, and politician who became the second mayor of Toronto

Sam Sullivan, mayor of Vancouver, British Columbia

Steve Sullivan, North American NHL hockey player

Timothy Daniel Sullivan, Irish politician

Timothy J. Sullivan, twenty-fifth president of The College of William & Mary

William H. Sullivan, US ambassador


The Sullivan brothers, five siblings who were killed during World War II after the sinking of the USS Juneau