Vera-O'Sullivan (No.1) family genealogy

Of Cappanacusha [1] Castle, near Kenmare, co. Kerry

Arms: [2] A dexter hand couped at the wrist, grasping a sword erect. Crest: On a ducal coronet or, a robin redbreast with a sprig of laurel in its beak. Motto: Lamh foistenach an uachtar.

ACCORDING to O'Heerin's Topography, the O'Sullivans, before they settled in Kerry, were Princes of Eoghanacht Mór, Cnoc-Graffan, a territory in the barony of Middlethird, county Tipperary, which is said to have embraced the districts of Clonmel, Cahir, Clogheen, Carrick-on-Suir, and Cashel of the Kings, in the fifth and sixth centuries; and are thus mentioned:

O'Sullivan, who delights not in violence,

Rules over the extensive Eoghanacht of Munster;

About Cnoc-Graffan broad lands he obtained,

Won by his victorious arms, in conflicts and battles.

The Vera-O'Sullivans are believed to have traded with Cornwall, Bristol, and places in the East; are said to have had ships, yawls, and many boats; and some of them to have been noted sailors and commanders at sea. The figure-head of their ships (as represented on a seal in possession of Mr. T. Murtogh Vera-O'Sullivan, in India, which has been submitted to us for inspection) was a sailor standing upright in a boat with a fish in each hand extended over his head, which are believed to have been Scripture emblems of the Christian Church. This branch of the O'Sullivan family, it would appear, were the pioneers of the O'Sullivans, who first settled in Kerry; the O'Sullivan Mór family following soon after. From their bravery and prowess the Vera-O'Sullivans were by their own people styled the "No surrenders;" and by their British neighbours they were called "Devils in fight." They were nearly all soldiers in the service of Austria, France, and Germany, in which countries they held high commands.

The territory of the Vera-O'Sullivans of Cappanacusha Castle, adjoined that of the O'Sullivan Mór; extended from the barony of Dunkerron, co. Kerry, to the present Williamstown and Millstreet; and was bounded as follows: On the north, by Williamstown and Millstreet; south by Kenmare; west by Dunkerron; and east, by Glancrought.

FINGIN, brother of Failbhe Flann, who is No. 95 on the Line of the House of Heber, was the ancestor of O'Suilebhain; anglicised O'Sullivan,[3] and Sullivan.

95. Fingin: son of Aodh Dubh, King of Munster; from him descended the O'Suilebhain family, anglicised O'Sullivan [4] and Sullivan; was elected joint King of Munster, in the life-time of his brother Failbhe; m. Mór Mumhain. (See No. 94 on the "Stem of the Line of Heber," ante).

96. Seachnasagh: son of Fingin.

97. Fiachra an Gaircedh: his son; had a brother Reachtabra.

98. Flann Noba: son of Fiachra.

99. Dubhinracht: his son.

100. Morogh: his son.

101. Moghtigern: his son.

102. Maolura: his son.

103. Suilebhan ("suilebhan:" Irish, one eye): his son: a quo O'Suilebhain.

104. Lorcan: his son.

105.Buadhach Atha-cra) "buaidh:" Irish, victory, Heb. "buagh," to exult; "atha:" Irish, a ford, and "cradh," death): his son.

106. Hugh: his son.

107. Cathal: his son.

108. Buadhach O'Sullivan: his son; first assumed this sirname.

This Buadhach is said to have gone over the sea for a Slavonic or Macedonian wife, and from her this branch of the O'Sullivan family derives the name Vera-O'Sullivan; "Vera" meaning faith, in the Slavonic tongue. He had two sons—1. Maccraith, 2. Cathal.

109. Maccraith: son of Buadhach.

110. Donal Mór: his son.

111. Giolla Mochoda (or Gilmochud): his son; had a brother, Giolla na-Bhflainn, who was the ancestor of O'Sullivan Beara.

112. Dunlong: son of Giolla Mochoda; in 1196 left co. Tipperary, and settled in the co. Kerry.

113. Murtogh Mór: his son; m. Catherine, dau. of MacCarthy Mór. Had a brother Gille Mochodh.

114. Bernard: his son; m. Mary MacCarthy of the House of Carbery, and had two sons, Buochan and Philip.[5]

115. Buochan: son of Bernard.

116. Dunlong: his son.

117. Ruadhri (or Roger): his son; had a brother named Craith, a quo MacGrath.

118. Donal: son of Roger.

119. Donal of Dunkerron: his son.

120. Eoghan (or Owen): his son.

121. Dermod of Dunkerron: his son; had a younger brother named Donal na Sgreadaidhe (or "Donal of the Shriek") from whom the O'Sullivan Mór family is descended.

122. Connor: son of Dermod.

123. Donal: his son.

124. Owen Ruadh: his son.

125. Owen [6] of Cappanacusha Castle: his son; forfeited his estate in the war of 1641-1652.

126. Dermod: his son. Of the children of this Dermod the names of the following are known:

I. Murrough-Vera, of whom presently. II. Murtogh Fion. III. William-Leim-laidir. IV. Philip. V. Thige laidir (or strong Timothy). VI. John-Vera.[7] VII. Timothy-Murtogh.

127. Murrogh-Vera O'Sullivan: son of Dermod.

128. Thige Laidir ("strong Timothy"): his son.

129. John-Vera: his son.

130. Timothy-Vera: his son.

131. Timothy-Murtogh-Vera: his son; an officer in the Indian Commissariat, living in Fyzabad, Oude, Bengal, Hindostan, in 1887; m. Ellen Fitzpatrick, and has had issue:

I. William-John-Vera, of whom presently.

II. Timothy-Murtogh-Vera.

III. James-Thomas-Vera.

IV. Henry-James-Vera.

V. John-Vera.

VI. Eugene-Sextus-Vera.

VII. Eoghan-Donal-Vera.

VIII. Hugh-Vera.

I. Mary-Ellen-Vera.

II. Nelly-Eleanor-Vera.

III. Eveleen (Eibhlin)-Vera.

IV. Catherine-Veronica-Vera.

V. Nora-Mary-Vera.

VI. Nesta-Lucy-Vera.

VII. Mary-Erina-Vera.

VIII. Finnola-Vera.

132. William-John-Vera O'Sullivan: eldest son of Timothy-Murtogh-Vera O'Sullivan; living in India in 1887, and serving in Bengal Commissariat Department.


[1] Cappanacusha (or, in Irish, Ceapa-na-Coisé) Castle was destroyed on two or three occasions during the wars in Ireland; on the last occasion it was not rebuilt. It is in ruins, situate in the present demesnes of Dromore Castle, Kenmare, now in possession of MacDonough O'Mahony, J.P.

[2] Arms: It is worthy of remark, in connection with the claim of the "O'Sullivan" family to be the senior branch of the House of Heber, who was the eldest son of Milesius, that the flag of the Milesians represented a dead serpent entwined round a rod; in commemoration of the rod of Moses, by which he cured the neck of Gaodhal when stung by a serpent; while the ancient Arms of this family was a dexter hand couped at the wrist, grasping a sword erect, the blade entwined with a serpent, &c.

[3] & [4] O'Sullivan: The root of this sirname is the Irish suil. gen. sul. "the eye." And suil. "the eye," is derived from the Irish sul, "the sun" (Lat. sol. ); because the "eye" is the light of the body. The old Irish called " Sunday," Dia Suil (Lat. Dies Sol-is), before the Christians called it Dia Domhnaigh (Lat. Dies Dominica), "the Lord's day."

[5] Philip: See No. 115 on the "MacCarthy Reagh" pedigree.

[6] Owen: This Owen Vera O'Sullivan bad a daughter Mary, who in 1641, married Daniel, son of Art Oge O'Keeffe of Ballymacquirk Castle, Duhallow, co. Cork, and had issue three sons:—1. Art Oge, who followed the hard fortunes of Charles II., 2. Denis, whose son Connor became Lord Bishop of Limerick; 3. Daniel, who married Margaret Hudson of Newmarket, co. Cork, by whom he had a son Arthur, who along with his father were slain at the Battle of Aughrim, fighting on the side of King James II. This Arthur's son Hudson O'Keeffe fled to France, there married Gabriel Deville, had issue, and became absorbed in the French nation.

[7] John Vera: This John Vera O'Sullivan was the chief companion, and generalissimo, of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, called "The Pretender;" he struggled hard to recover the Crown of England for the House of Stuart. He afterwards served with great distinction in the service of the King of France, where he was considered a Military-Scientist, and one of the most engaging and best bred officers in the French Army. He was specially knighted by "James the Third." On the 17th April, 1747, Sir John Vera O'Sullivan married Louisa, daughter of Thomas Fitzgerald, and left a son Thomas Herbert Vera O'Sullivan, who served in the British Army under Sir Henry Clinton at New York; again in the Dutch service, and was the bosom friend of Prince de Figne; he died as Field Officer in 1824, leaving two sons:—1. John-William; and 2. Thomas-Gerald, who perished in swimming ashore with a rope to save a crew of a distressed ship. John-Lewis, son of John-William, was in 1854 United States Minister to the Court of Portugal. General Sir John Vera 0' Sullivan's portrait is in the possession of his grandson: he is in the uniform of the 7th Regiment Irlandés, which shows the names of the following officers—Bulkeley, Clare, Dillon, Roth, Berwick, Lally, and Fitzjames.

General Sir John Vera O'Sullivan was educated in Paris; and to give him the most expensive education, his parents mortgaged the little property that remained to them in Desmond, and which was held in trust for them by a kind Protestant gentleman of that neighbourhood. After the death of Sir John's mother, he returned to, Kerry, and privately sold the Desmond property, as the Irish Catholics were then proscribed. He never afterwards returned to Ireland.

Thomas, son of Sir John Vera-O'Sullivan, was an officer in the Irish Brigade; he removed to America and entered the British service, which he ultimately exchanged for the Dutch. He died a major at the Hague in 1824.