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Surname O'Sullivan - Meaning and Origin

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O'Sullivan: What does the surname O'Sullivan mean?

The surname O'Sullivan is an Anglicized version of the Irish surname Ó Súilleabháin. The surname is found mainly in the Munster region of Ireland and comes from an ancient Gaelic clan. The clan is said to have descended from Suileabhan, the son of Corc, who was a King of Munster in the 4th century CE.

The direct translation of the Irish Ó Súilleabháin is 'grandson of Suileabhán', which is derived from the personal Old Gaelic name Suileabháin. The literal meaning of the personal name is 'one who is eye to the sun', which may be indicative of a noble Clan Chief.

In a broader context, the O'Sullivan surname is typically associated with having come from a strong and proud history of brave and heroic warriors who served in various military campaigns. During the 16th century, The Munster O'Sullivan clan provided an Irish sovereign prince, Donal Cam O'Sullivan. He was one of the last to make a stand for the native lords of Ireland against the English during the campaigns of 1645-1668.

The proud nature of the O'Sullivan clan 'clann-ti-fada' is reflected in the popular Irish saying "The Courage of the O'Sullivans remains". The O'Sullivan Clan can be proud of its noble ancestors and their exploits in honouring their Irish heritage.

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O'Sullivan: Where does the name O'Sullivan come from?

The last name O'Sullivan is most commonly found in Ireland and the United Kingdom, particularly in Cork, Kerry, Clare, Limerick, Westmeath, Meath, Tipperary, Waterford, Kildare and Wicklow in Ireland. It is one of the most common Irish surnames in Ireland and is the 8th most-common family name in the country, with an estimated population of 80,000 people, or 1.4% of the Irish population, having the name. In the United Kingdom, O’Sullivan is the fifteenth most common family name, with 2.17 per 1000 people (186,839 people) having the name.

Throughout the world, descendants of the Irish O'Sullivan family can be found in most English-speaking countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Descendants of the O'Sullivan family are particularly evident in parts of the United States with a high proportion of Irish-Americans, such as Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Texas.

Outside of English-speaking countries, O'Sullivan is also common in countries with a history of Irish emigration. One such region is Latin America, where O’Sullivan is found in Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Ecuador, and Chile.

Overall, the last name O’Sullivan is quite common in countries with a rich Irish history or descendents of Irish emigrants.

Variations of the surname O'Sullivan

The surname O'Sullivan is an Irish name that can be seen spelled a variety of ways, such as O'Sullivane, O'Sullivant, O'Suillivan, O'Suileabhain, and O'Silloan. The original Irish spelling of this surname is Ó Súilleabháin. The earliest written records of this name in Ireland date back to the twelfth century, when the Ó Súilleabháin clan ruled over a large area of what is now known as County Cork. The O'Sullivan sept originally made its home at the site of the modern city of Cork.

Variations of this surname also exist in English and Welsh due to its pronunciation and spelling being misinterpreted by the English. These variations include Sullavan, Sillavan, Sulivan and Sullivan. Many of these surnames have spread outside of Ireland due to migration.

The O'Sullivan surname is often translated as 'descendant of Súilleabhán' or 'hawk's eye'. It is likely that the name is derived from the Gaelic word súil, meaning 'eye', and that the name's origin lies in the word súilleabh, meaning 'hawk's lid' or 'hawk's eye'.

The O'Sullivan surname is found in numerous countries around the world, including Ireland, England, Wales, America, Canada and Australia. While the English and Welsh variants may appear differently than the Irish version, they all carry the same meaning and are all of the same origin.

Famous people with the name O'Sullivan

  • Gilbert O'Sullivan: Irish singer-songwriter best known for his hit singles "Alone Again (Naturally)" and "Clair".
  • Colin O'Sullivan: pro golfer, former PGA Canada Golf Professional and former PGA TOUR Canada player.
  • Aidan O'Sullivan: Irish Gaelic football player who was a prominent forward for the Kerry senior inter-county team.
  • Ben O'Sullivan: Irish professional footballer who currently plays for Rochdale in League One.
  • Royce O'Sullivan: American actor, producer and writer best known for his roles in the 2009 movie The Skeptic and the television series Extant.
  • AJ O'Sullivan: Irish journalist and former editor of The Irish Independent.
  • John O'Sullivan: British television producer best known for his work on sports programmes, including popular shows such as Grandstand and Match of the Day.
  • Dave O'Sullivan: former English footballer who had a long playing career in the Football League and now works in the media.
  • Gay O'Sullivan: Irish athlete who won gold at the European Cross-Country Championships in 2000.
  • Murphy O'Sullivan: American actor who is best known for his roles in the films A Bronx Tale, Gangs of New York and The Departed.

Other surnames

O BoeyO BoweÓ CanainnO CarrollO ConaillÓ ConchobhairÓ CuinÓ CuinnÓ DaimhínÓ DálaighO DalyÓ DómhnaillÓ DonnchadhaÓ DubhdaraÓ DuibhínÓ DuibhirO DuireO DuvireÓ FeoreO FlanaganÓ FuereÓ FureyÓ FuryO GaraO GuineyO GuinidheO GuinyeO HanlonÓ HANNÁINO Hart

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