súildhubhán meaning little dark-eyed one
The O’Sullivan family motto is Lamh foistenach abu meaning ‘The steady hand to victory’.
In 1193 the Normans forced the O’Sullivans of Knockgraffon to exchange their fertile lands in Tipperary for the mountains in Cork and Kerry.
The principal castle of the Chief O’Sullivan Mór at Dunkerron was two miles west of Kenmare town. Dunloe Castle, six miles from Killarney, was also built by O’Sullivan Mór in the thirtieth century and was used to guard the only pass (Gap of Dunloe) which gave access from north Kerry to his country.
Having spent some time resting with O’Rourke he went to Ulster and accompanied Hugh O’Neill to London to ask pardon and restoration of his lands from James I.
Like O’Neill, O’Sullivan was also refused a formal pardon and on returning to Ireland he made preparations to sail for Spain with his wife and family. He sailed for Spain in 1604 and was received with open arms by King Philip III of Spain, who made him a knight of St James and Count of Berehaven and gave him a monthly income. He lived for fourteen years in exile in Spain under the patronage of the King, until he was struck down by a servant’s knife in July 1618 in Madrid. His son Donal died fighting at the siege of Belgrade in the service of France. Donal’s brother Dermot, who had been on the march with him to Leitrim, also travelled to Spain with him. This Dermot O’Sullivan brought his wife, son Donald and his two daughters, Helen and Nora, to Spain with him, where he lived to the age of 100 years and is buried in the Franciscan Church in Corunna.
Philip O’Sullivan Beare commonly known as Don Philip, son of Dermot O’Sullivan Beare and nephew of Donal O’Sullivan Beare was born 1590 at his father’s castle in Dursey Island. He was sent to Spain 1602 as hostage to King Philip III in return for agreed aid to the O’Sullivans. Having received his education at Compostellan he joined the Spanish Navy and served his time aboard the...