GarraíEoin Brian Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith, The Ó Súilleabháin Mór, Count of Knockgraffon, with portrait of Donal Cam Ó Súilleabháin Bhéarra in background.
GarraíEoin Brian Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith, MD, FACOG, FACS, GMOS, GCEG
It is with great pleasure and pride that the Ó Súilleabháin Clan of Munster announces that Dr. Garraí Eoin Brian Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith of Knockgraffon and Dunderry Castle has agreed to serve as our patron.
Dr. Ó Súilleabháin is a certified, direct, male, descendant of MeicRaith, the Chief of the Ó Súilleabháin Clan c. 1430 AD. His patronage of the Ó Súilleabháin Clan of Munster is recognized by the Clans of Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, the United Nations, the Standing Council of Irish Chiefs and Chieftans, and the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs. He is officially recognized by his sept, the Cronista Rey de Armas of Spain, the Royal House of Georgia, the Royal Houses of Italy, the Order of Malta, and the Vatican as “The Ó Súilleabháin Mhicraith, Hereditary Chief of the Name” and, in such capacity, serves as Grand Master of the Order of the Oak and Serpent. In recognition of his lineage and his contributions to Irish culture and European charities, he was ennobled as the Count of Knockgraffon and invested as Knight Grand Cross (GCEG) in the Order of the Eagle of Georgia and the Seamless Tunic of Our Lord. As the most senior descendant of Milesius, King of Spain, Dr. Ó Súilleabháin is a member of the Maestranza Caballeria de Castilla, an association of Spanish nobles under the royal patronage of King Felipe VI of Spain. He is also a member of the Unione della Nobilta d'Italia, a member organization of CILANE.
Dr. Ó Súilleabháin is a citizen of the Republic of Ireland and listed on the Foreign Births Registry. He was educated by the Sisters of St. Francis, St. Rose of Lima Parochial School, Freehold, N.J., U.S.A.; the Christian Brothers de La Salle, Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft, N.J., U.S.A.; the Jesuit Order (Society of Jesus), Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A.; the Autonomous University of Guadalajara, Guadalajara, Mexico; and Rutgers Medical College (now Robert Wood Johnson Medical School), New Brunswick, N.J., U.S.A. He successfully completed postgraduate studies at Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Mass., U.S.A.; Johns Hopkins Medical School, Baltimore, Md., U.S.A.; and the University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C., U.S.A. Dr. Ó Súilleabháin speaks English, French, and Spanish.
After establishing a successful career as a gynecological surgeon, Dr. Ó Súilleabháin dedicated twenty years of his life finding, collecting, reading, and noting all of the extant material relating to the history and culture of the Ó Súilleabháin clan. He published his discoveries and conclusions in The Oak and Serpent (2007) and A History of the O’Sullivan Clan (2007).
Dr. Ó Súilleabháin committed an enormous amount of time, energy, and resources to editing and publishing the Annals of Beara, the cumulative lifetime work of the esteemed Cork genealogist, Riobard O’Dwyer, N.T. This work is the most important source of genealogical information for the sundry clans of the Beara peninsula, including the O’Sullivan family.
Dr. Ó Súilleabháin served as the Chairman of the Georgia Southern University Center for Irish Studies Advisory Board for ten years, from its inception. He worked diligently and donated significant funds to create a center of Irish culture in the American southeast. He sponsored multiple Irish cultural events in Georgia.
In recognition of his contribution to the Center, the faculty and staff of Georgia Southern University established the ‘Dr. Gary B. Sullivan Scholarship’ for students pursuing a minor in Irish studies at the university.
Dr. Ó Súilleabháin also hosted the Irish Educational Association annual O’Sullivan/Sullivan seminar at Georgia Southern University in 2004. This event brought O’Sullivans from around the country to learn about their unique place in Irish and world history. The O'Sullivan/Sullivan seminar was also part of a twenty-five year long outreach program to identify and locate the descendants of MeicRaith throughout the world.
Dr. Ó Súilleabháin served as the Taoiseach (Chief) of the Ó Súilleabháin Clan of Munster organization for ten years. As Taoiseach he promoted clan research and identity. He was very active in the yDNA project to establish a reliable method with which individuals could identify to which of the various sub-branches of the Ó Súilleabháin clan they belonged.
Dr. Ó Súilleabháin also dedicated much of his time and resources to renovating and preserving Dunderry Castle, the family seat of the Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith sept and the official headquarters of the Order of the Oak and Serpent and the Ó Súilleabháin Clan of Munster.
Dr. Ó Súilleabháin is also the steward of Knockgraffon Motte. Knockgraffon was originally the sacred inauguration site for the kings of Munster. It eventually became the primary residence of the chiefs of the Ó Súilleabháin clan. In 1192 the Normans wrested the site from the O'Sullivans and built a classic defensive motte there. Knockgraffon remained in Norman hands for the next 806 years until Dr. Ó Súilleabháin obtained it from Donal Keating of Clonmel House in 1998. In celebration, Dr. Ó Súilleabháin named his next born son Donal Mor Connor Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith [122G-5], in honor of the 15th and last Lord of Knockgraffon, Donal Mor Ó Súilleabháin . Dr. Ó Súilleabháin would represent the title, 16th Lord of Knockgraffon, in the Gaelic line.
Personal Arms of Garraí Eoin Brian Ó Súilleabháin, The Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith, Count of Knockgraffon, as recorded by the Cronista - Chief Herald of Royal House of Spain.
Dunderry Castle, seat of the Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith sept, headquarters of the Order of the Oak and Serpent and the Ó Súilleabháin Clan of Munster.
Correspondence from our Patron:
July 15, 2015, Dunderry Castle:
About 400 years ago the O’Sullivan clan, with all of its Gaelic brothers and sisters, suffered a near mortal blow at the Battle of Kinsale. While our people were still reeling from this devastating defeat, a deadly plague visited Ireland in the form of Oliver Cromwell. The seventeenth century was a rolling holocaust of death and despair for our clan.
The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries found our ancestors huddled in mud cottages, working as tenant farmers for their English overlords. We were in a social and cultural coma struggling for mere survival. Emigration was the only hope for advancement. Issues of native nobility and primogeniture were neglected by the Irish and actively expunged by the English. It is a testament to our resilience that even in these dire circumstances our ancestors devised subtle means with which to preserve their identities and bloodlines.
The global shuffling of the world order that defined the twentieth century allowed our people to gradually wake from their cultural slumber and begin to rediscover their proud Gaelic heritage. They witnessed an Irish renaissance, which restored the Irish identity and culminated with the economic dominance of the “Celtic Tiger”.
Now, in the twenty-first century, we as a clan must decide whether or not our Gaelic identity and culture has any relevance in the modern world. Should we unite to preserve and promote our heritage?
I believe that we owe it to our ancestors and our children to do so.
Gary B. O'Sullivan
September 8, 2014, Dunderry Castle:
The quest to destroy the Irish national identity rages on, now in the guise of opinion pieces based on the fledgling ‘DNA genealogy’ field. One of the articles on this topic implies that we need to rethink our Celtic identity because new DNA studies suggest that the Irish did not migrate from the Celtic heartland of France, but rather the Basque region of Spain. Anyone with any knowledge of the Milesian tradition is well aware of our northwestern Iberian origin. In fact, for several centuries, the English speaking academic world criticized our annalists for purporting that our people came originally from Castille. Rather than acknowledging that the ancient Gaelic annalists seem to have been vindicated by these developments, the academics are using this new information to cast further doubt on their claims!
Another piece gleefully suggests that the Irish are not 'Celtic' because our DNA resembles that of the Basques more than that of the Continental Celtic remnants. Remember, “Celtic” does not describe a race. It describes a culture. DNA studies have absolutely no place in the study of cultures.
Another newsflash from the Gaelic-bashers: There were indigenous peoples living in Ireland before the Gaels arrived. No kidding. Read the Book of Invasions. It’s all there.
When I first set out to write the O’Sullivan Clan history 25 years ago, I considered myself to be a thoroughly modern, sophisticated, academician. I was trained in science and I had no respect for the early Irish annals. I had predetermined that the ancient tracts were mostly balderdash, but I was forced to wade through this quagmire of Milesian tradition to ferret out some semblance of an origin thesis for our clan. As a trained scientist, I had to hold my nose before venturing into this swamp of myth, legend, and conjecture, lest my urbane sensitivities became overwhelmed with the stench of fantasy. Being half English, I may have also carried some good old-fashioned prejudice into the project.
As I became more familiar with the annals, however, I slowly came to respect the veracity of these carefully recorded chronicles. My final epiphany occurred while reading Father Keating’s preface to his great work, Foras Feasa ar Éirinn: The History of Ireland. I realized that there was a political reason to cast dispersions on the official story of the Irish people. As the saying goes, “the victor writes the history, and our ‘new’ history was written in ENGLISH.
As Irishmen we need to decide whom to believe. Do we accept the Gaelic version of our native annalists who claimed that we are the progeny of a noble and gifted race, or do we accept the new English version, which portrays us as the spawn of an ignorant and brutal band of savages?
As for me, I’m no longer ‘too cool or savvy to believe in the Milesian tradition’. I’ve studied it for 25 years and, by God, I’m convinced that most of it is accurate! Even the obvious myths in the annals are based on historical facts and relay veritable messages.
Gary B. O'Sullivan
Greetings from the Patron:
"I pledge to do everything in my power to preserve and promote our clan heritage. I am very proud of our people and their many accomplishments. I stand in awe of the intelligence, talent, wit, honesty, integrity, and good will of our extended family. God Bless the International O'Sullivan Clan!"
Gary B. O'Sullivan, MD, FACOG, FACS, GMOS, GCEG
September 5, 2014; Dunderry Castle:
While kilts and tartans, as we know of them today, were a nineteenth century development, they remain effective devices with which modern clan organizations can promote unity and identity among their members. Facebook and other social mediums were not available to our ancestors either, but we still employ them to establish and maintain a clan community. Absolute historical purism would preclude the existence of any modern clan societies, an end which I suspect some purists actually desire. As to the Irish being descended from kings, it is true that there were 'noble' Gaelic families and 'common' Gaelic families and not everyone with a certain Irish surname can claim, with certainty, that their ancestors were of the ruling class. However, the Irish 'king' was a true form of the concept, representing 'kin' or family. The Irish kings were chosen from among their people. All of them shared blood with their clan. While only certain individuals were known as 'Chiefs of the Name' and were afforded the Norman conceit of heraldic achievements, their only claim to nobility was their esteemed position among their extended family or clan. So, in the case of the Irish, every member of the clan, in a way, can claim a valid association with the 'clan shield'.
Gary B. O'Sullivan
September 20, 2014: Dunderry Castle
The historiography of all ancient cultures begins with the study of the indigenous mythological histories, such as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of England, the Codex Regius of Iceland, The Book of the Later Han of China, The Kojiki of Japan, the Hellenic works of Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, etc., The Septuagint of Israel, the works of Archeamenids and Sassanids in Persia, and of course, the Roman tracts of Cicero and Ceasar. All of these works are treated with respect and veneration by the academic world. Yet the Milesian annals of Ireland are consistently denigrated and disregarded by the English-speaking academicians.
The reason for this is that when the Normans invaded Ireland in the twelfth century their king’s family had only been ‘royal’ for several generations, whereas the kings of Ireland could trace their lineages for centuries. It was politically necessary for Henry II and his minions to dismiss the ancient royal claims of the Irish to justify his invasion of Ireland to Rome.
To this day, English-speaking authors trip over each other to attack the veracity of the Milesian tradition whenever a new discovery or development appears to counter the claims of the Ancient Irish tracts. The latest source of these attacks is inspired by the fledgling science of genetic genealogy. Oftentimes, the studies that they cite to discredit the Irish tradition seem to actually support the ancient tracts, in my opinion.
We should all defend Ireland’s place among the nations of the world and her right to her own sacred and cherished historiography.