GarraíEoin Brian Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith, G.C.E.G. of Dunderry Castle (Dún Doire Chateau du Gravier), The Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir, Count of Knockgraffon
A Message from Our Patron:
The Ó Súilleabháin family is fiercely independent and freedom-loving. The last thing we need is for anyone to assume an attitude that he or she is more important or entitled than anyone else in our clan. We are a nation of equals. We all descend from the same noble Gaelic ancestors and share, alike, their grand legacy. The era of kings lording over us has long passed. Claims of nobility and royalty are little more than historical oddities in the modern world. Furthermore, chicanery and deception abound in the world of noble titles, pedigrees, and societies.
Be that as it may, unless a clan organization has a recognized hereditary chief of the name, it functions as little more than a glorified history club. For many years, our clan had no bona fide chief. Due to a circumstance of birth, I have been recognized by the Royal Heralds of Spain and Georgia as “The Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir”, Hereditary Chief of the Name of the Ó Súilleabháin Clann of Munster. (The Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland cannot, by law, recognize any Hereditary Chief of the Name.)
For several decades, I did not publically identify myself as the rightful heir to the title of Hereditary Chief. Frankly, I wasn’t willing to subject myself to the inevitable onslaught of insults and derision that such a claim invites. As I’ve grown older, however, I’ve come to learn that there are many forces at play in the world of history and culture that mean to eradicate the wonderful clan heritage of Ireland. In order to preserve and promote our Gaelic heritage, it is incumbent upon the legitimate chiefs of the clans to assume the lead and mount a defense against those who would deny our tribal identity.
It is in the spirit of equality and service that I will continue to fill the role of clan patron and chief. There are no special perks that come with the title, just jobs to be done and bills to be paid.
The Ó Súilleabháin Murts of Doire Chonaire
Although our family was forced to emigrate from Ireland in the beginning of the twentieth century, it was very important to my father, Donal Seosamh (Daniel Joseph) Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith II, that we never lose our Irish identity. Consequently, I was sent back to the Beara Peninsula in County Cork during the summers of my pre-teen years to live with my Uncle Liam (Willie) on our family farm.
It was a formative experience that bound me irrevocably to the culture and heritage of Ireland. I raised calves and tended to the other livestock. I cut turf, stacked it, and carried it back from the bogs on our “jennet cart”. I milked the cows and churned the butter. I fished for Spanish mackerel in Bantry Bay, often filling our wooden currach with our catch, and I attended Mass at Sacred Heart Church in the idyllic village of Glengarriff.
I was also told some things about our family that would, later in life, lead me down a genealogical rabbit hole on a quest to determine the true identity of our humble sept. This quest would consume much of my time, energy, and financial resources as an adult and, eventually, expose me to potential ridicule and derision.
In the middle of the twentieth century, the Beara Peninsula was still very remote, provincial, and primitive. The roof of our house had just recently been turned from thatch to slate and there was no television or other electrical appliances. The only entertainment in town was Doc Ryan’s Pub, Harrington’s Pub, the local dance hall, and the occasional céilí hosted by my uncle. On chilly summer evenings, our humble home would brim with members of our extended family, all of whom lived in our townland, Doire Chonaire (Derryconnery). Tall, robust, old men, with full heads of white hair and clear, intelligent, blue, eyes would recite seemingly endless poems, sing mournful dirges, and tell stories of heroes and magic.
One story that still haunts me was that of ‘cailleach na ghile’, a giant woman who lived in a cave near the top of Gabhal Mhór (Sugarloaf Mountain). Each night she would descend from her lair and walk to the strand to feast on oysters from the sea. If she happened across any unfortunate souls who were foolish enough to be out in the countryside at night, she would eat them as well.
Our clan history was also a favorite topic during these frequent céilithe. I learned that our family was locally known as the “Ó Súilleabháin Murts” because there were three men in a row in our genealogical line that were all named ‘Murtagh’. The elders of our local sept were adamant and unanimous in the belief that the Ó Súilleabháin family of Doire Chonaire was the most senior line of the entire Ó Súilleabháin clan, but it had somehow been deprived of its rightful claim to the title of chief. I remember one old fellow insisting that we were actually the most senior line of all the Irish clans.
They spoke of our common ancestor, Eoin/Owen (John), who was of noble blood and who had come to Doire Chonaire from somewhere else in the kingdom, many years before. They insisted that the distinction of being “the Chief” had somehow been stolen from Eoin. I believed them with the wholehearted innocence and naiveté of a young boy.
When I returned to the United States and asked my father about this claim, he was very dismissive and said, “None of that matters anymore, it’s all in the past. You need to concentrate on your future.” I took his advice and didn’t give it another thought.
Subsequently, my life progressed in America. I 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. I successfully completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at a Rutgers affiliated hospital, as well as 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.
I met and married a wonderful young woman from Utah, brought my medical practice to Georgia, and started a family. My busy life left little opportunity to reflect on what I had been told as a boy in Ireland, until the birth of my first son and namesake, Garraí Eoin (Garryowen). With his arrival, I felt the sudden need to research our family history so as to share with him our Irish identity.
I registered with the Irish Foreign Born Registry and accepted my Irish citizenship. I brought my wife back to Doire Chonaire to meet my family there and to seek out any remaining elders. Unfortunately, the men I had known as a boy had all passed away. Fortunately, I did find Dermot (Jerem) Ó Súilleabháin. He was in his sixties and had returned to Ireland in his retirement years after having worked in England his entire adult life. Although he could recite no poems or sing no dirges, he remembered the same stories that I did that were also told to him as a boy. He had a distinct and independent memory of our elders insisting that the Ó Súilleabháin family of Doire Chonaire was “the true chiefly line of the Ó Súilleabháin clan and the senior line of the entire Irish race”. He also remembered the tale of Eoin/Owen (John), the itinerant nobleman from whom we all purportedly descended.
At the time, both Dermot and I were under the impression that we were of the Ó Súilleabháin Beare sept, since our people lived in Contae Chorcaí (County Cork). Historically, the Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir sept was from Contae Chiarraí (County Kerry). After some preliminary research, I soon discovered that the Ó Súilleabháin Beare chiefly line had gone completely extinct. Furthermore, the Ó Súilleabháin Beare sept was a cadet line of the Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir sept, which would contradict the claims of the Doire Chonaire elders that we were the “senior line of the entire Irish race”. It became obvious that the Ó Súilleabháin Murt family could not represent the “chiefly line” of the illustrious Ó Súilleabháin Beare lineage.
I then researched the only other “chiefly line” of the Ó Súilleabháin clan, the Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir sept of Contae Chiarraí. Again, I learned that, although the Ó Súilleabháin clan was recognized to be the most senior clan of the entire Irish race, the Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir line was completely extinct as well.
I concluded that the elders of the Ó Súilleabháin Murt family of Doire Chonaire must have been mistaken when they told us that we were the “true chiefly line” of the Ó Súilleabháin clan. Their claims of nobility had no more credence than their tales of ‘cailleach na ghile’.
During my research, I also learned that our family was devastated by the Elizabethan War, the lamentable Battle of Kinsale, the Cromwellian Holocaust, the English Ascendency, the Great Hunger, and the bleeding of our youth with incessant emigration.
Although the paved roads of Irish history are well travelled by modern historians, rarely have they ventured onto the tortuous country lanes of Cork and Kerry. During my research, I learned that a once proud and prosperous clan, that controlled the entire, verdant, Golden Vale of Tipperary, was reduced to a miserable existence, raising potatoes among the rocky crags of the Beara and Ivereagh peninsulas. Our last, recorded, legitimate, chief, “The Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir”, whose direct ancestors were once styled the ‘Princes of Eoghanacht Chaisil’, the ‘Princes of Munster’, and the ‘Lords of Knockgraffon’, died a poor man at Tomies in 1762, with no documented issue.
To the oppressors, the death of our last officially recognized chief was the final end to the noble lineage that maintained a legitimate claim to the territories of southwest Desmond. At that moment, the British overlords considered our titles to be extinct. To make matters worse, a purported illegitimate grandson of the Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir burned all of the manuscripts and documents pertaining to the Ó Súilleabháin clan, eliminating any hope of reliably identifying the rightful claimant to the hereditary title of ‘Chief of the Name’.
Sir Ross O’Connell, in the Last Colonel of the Irish Brigade, is quoted as saying:
“The O’Sullivan Mhóir died at Tomies in 1762. He left an illegitimate son, whose grandson is a fisherman at Killarney. The grandson told me that when a boy, some thirty years ago, he went to see his grandfather lying dead at Tomies. He saw in the room of the dead man ‘a great pile of old papers, maybe three feet high, mostly written on skins in Latin and Irish, and, faith, I was in dread they might fall into the hands of the Mahonys or some other new people in the country, and they might get more of the O’Sullivan estates, so I burned them all myself’.”
Mrs. M.J. O’Connell, Last Colonel of the Irish Brigade, p. 52, vol. I
At this point, I had lost all faith in the stories of our family elders and I decided to hire a certified genealogist to sort out the facts. I didn’t care if we were “chiefly” or not, I just wanted to know who we were and where we fit in the clan. I began making enquiries as to who I should employ.
It was unanimous, among all the people I asked, that Riobard O’Dwyer, N.T., of Eyeries, was the undisputed expert on the genealogies of the families of the Beara peninsula. I visited him in his home and offered a commission to research the genealogy of the Ó Súilleabháin Murts of Doire Chonaire. He graciously accepted my offer.
With the resolve of a medieval monk, Mr. O’Dwyer acquired access to every available public and church record extant in the area and carefully transcribed the information contained therein. Many of these old dusty manuscripts were severely water stained and faded. The text was written in Gaelic, Latin, and English and was often hardly legible. A man of lesser constitution could not have persevered through the countless hours of tedious labor. Had Mr. O’Dwyer’s work been postponed for even a year or two, it was very likely that the records would have been rendered illegible and the information lost forever.
Mr. O’Dwyer also spent many hours interviewing the people of Doire Chonaire and the surrounding townlands, piecing together the genealogical line of the Ó Súilleabháin Murts that spanned nine generations before me.
Since the parish records of Kilcasken and Adrigole, as well as the civil records, only went back to the middle of the nineteenth century, additional sources of documentation were necessary to confirm the pedigree. The Tithe List of 1827 for Doire Chonaire proved to be a remarkable source of information, with three of our ancestors recorded: Eoin/Owen (John Darby) Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1749), where he is listed as John Darby (Eoin, son of Dermot); Séamus (James Crath) Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c.1770), where he is listed as James Crath; and Muircheartach [Murty Cragh (I)] Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1791), where he is listed as Murty Cragh.
To search back even further, it was necessary to approach Egerton Shelswell-White, the owner of the Bantry House and a descendant of William White, the 3rd Earl of Bantry. In the eighteenth century, the Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith of Doire Chonaire were tenant farmers of the White family, the Earls of Bantry. Their English overlords kept meticulous financial records, listing each of their tenants and the rent that was due. Ralph Doak, the property manager for the estate at the time, was very accommodating. I spent an entire day in the library of the Bantry House perusing the relevant materials. There were no copy machines available, of course, so I carefully copied each entry by hand, including scratch marks, margin notes, and column formatting. I found Eoin/Owen (John Greath) Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1705) and his son, Dermot (Darby a Sheáin) Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1728) in Account Books B & C. Subsequently, these rent/tithe ledgers were acquired by the National Archives of Ireland and maintained by the University College Cork (Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh). M5945: Richard Visct. Bantry – Rentals of Carbery, Bantry, Glengarriff, and Clanlaurence estates, 1806 – 1809. 1 Jan 1806 – 31 Dec 1809. M5946: Richard Visct. Bantry – Account Book for Bantry and Glengarriff Estates, 1808 – 1825. 1 Jan 1808 – 31 Dec 1825.
I also spent a day with Patricia McCarthy, Archivist, Cork Archives Institute, Christ Church, South Main Street, Cork City. Ms. McCarthy directed me to the Griffith’s Valuation Records for the Kilcasken Parish, in which tenants of Doire Chonaire between 1848 and 1864 were to be found. Both Muircheartach [Murty Cragh (I)] Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1791) and his son, Muircheartach [Mort Crath (II)] Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born 1816), were recorded.
Much later, at the direction of the Chief Herald of Ireland, I commissioned Niall O’Flynn of ARGS Ireland, a certified genealogist in Mallow, to sift through the Bantry House Collection and obtain original photocopies of the entries listing our ancestors. The Chief Herald, understandably, could not accept my hand-written copies of the Bantry House Account Books entries. Mr. O’Flynn found both Eoin/Owen (John Greath) Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1705) and his son, Dermot (Darby a Sheáin) Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1728) in the Bantry House Collection of the University College Cork (Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh), B. Estate Administration, 1. Rentals, 1.1 Ledgers, 440, 441; 1740 – 1775.
The following genealogical line was determined and documented, all representing the eldest son with issue:
Eoin/Owen (John Greath) Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1705)
Dermot (Darby a Sheáin) Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1728)
Eoin/Owen (John Darby) Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1749)
Seamus (James Crath) Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1770)
Muircheartach [Murty Cragh (I)] Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1791)
Muircheartach [Mort Crath (II)] Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born 1816)
Muircheartach Mhóir [Mortimor James (III)] Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born 1857)
Donal Seosamh [Daniel Joseph (I)] Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born 1889)
Donal Seosamh [Daniel Joseph (II)] Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born 1920)
Donal Seosamh [Daniel Joseph (III)] Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born 1949)
Note: One confounding variable to genealogical research in Ireland is the multiple versions of the same names found in the records. Various names can be found in Irish, English, or Latin, and with multiple spellings for each language. For example, the English name for ‘Eoin’ is ‘John’, but ‘Eoin’ can also be found recorded as ‘Owen’. ‘John’, in turn, can be found recorded as ‘Sean’. In Irish, ‘Owen’ can also be recorded as ‘Eoghan’ or ‘Eoghain’, which can also be found re-anglicized as ‘Eugene’. The name ‘Conchobar’ can be listed as ‘Conor’ or ‘Connor’ or anglicized to Cornelius, which can be recorded as ‘Con’ or ‘Connie’ or ‘Corn’. The old Irish name, ‘Muiredach’ can be written as ‘Muireadhach’ or ‘Muireach’ and anglicized to ‘Murdoch’ or ‘Murtagh’ or ‘Murdac’ or Mordacq’. The similar name, ‘Muirchertach’ or ‘Muircheartach’ could be found as ‘Murtagh’ or ‘Murtough’, and the compound name, ‘Muircheartach Mhóir’ was anglicized to ‘Mortimor’ or ‘Mortimer’ or ‘Mort’ or ‘Murt’ or ‘Murty’. The name, ‘Dermot’ could be found as ‘Diarmaid’ or ‘Diarmit’ or ‘Diarmuit’ or ‘Diarmait’ or ‘Diarmuid’. It could also be listed in its “nickname form, ‘Darby’ or its anglicized version, ‘Jeremiah’ or ‘Jerem’.
Mr. O’Dwyer also interviewed everyone remaining in our townland and the surrounding area, cross-referencing the testimonies to eliminate any errors. In the end, he presented me with a thoroughly researched genealogical line extending back to the eighteenth century. He informed me that the ‘Ó Súilleabháin Murts’ were actually the ‘Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith’. The first of our line to live in Doire Chonaire was Eoin/Owen (John Greath) Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith, who came to the area “cliamhain isteach”, having married a local girl and remaining on her father’s farm. His son’s name was Dermot (Darby a Sheáin).
A remarkably shorter generation span was noted in the eighteenth century for the Ó Súilleabháin Murts of Doire Chonaire and there are several historical explanations for this phenomenon. One reason for this unusual fecundity was the introduction of the potato to Irish agriculture. This novel food source could grow prolifically on marginal land, allowing for one acre of potatoes to feed a family of six, with each individual consuming over ten pounds per day. Furthermore, the potato skins served as excellent fodder for pigs. The potato was the only crop that contained all of the nutrients necessary to sustain life. A diet of potatoes, supplemented only with buttermilk and bacon, could keep a large family alive and healthy. The tragic loss of many newborns to malnutrition and disease was markedly reduced.
Another reason for this population boom was that, although the Penal Laws were still to be found in the statute books, by the middle of the eighteenth century they were no longer being strictly enforced. This easing of restrictions allowed for Irish Catholic tenants to be granted short leases on small plots of land. Consequently, young men and women felt more comfortable getting married at an earlier age, setting up a home, and having children. This resulted in the population of Ireland doubling to five million people during the eighteenth century.
The Documented Pedigree of the Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith of Doire Chonaire
Owen Ó SúilleabháinMhicRaith 
Documentation for Eoin/Owen (John Greath) Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1705) was found in Account Books B & C of the Bantry House Collection of the University College Cork (Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh), B. Estate Administration, 1. Rentals, 1.1 Ledgers, 440, 441; 1740 – 1775. He is also recorded in O’Donovan’s Ordnance Survey in a letter from Thomas O’Connor of Killarney, dated August 29, 1841, listing the genealogical line of the Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith sept.
Dermot Ó SúilleabháinMhicRaith 
Documentation for Dermot (Darby a Sheáin) Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1728) was also found in Account Book C of the Bantry House Collection. He is also recorded in O’Donovan’s Ordnance Survey in a letter from Thomas O’Connor of Killarney, dated August 29, 1841, listing the genealogical line of the Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith sept.
Owen Ó SúilleabháinMhicRaith 
Documentation for Eoin/Owen (John Darby) Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1749) was found in the 1827 Tithe List for Doire Chonaire where he is listed as John Darby (Eoin, son of Dermot).
Séamus Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith 
Documentation for Séamus (James Crath) Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c.1770) was also found in the 1827 Tithe List for Doire Chonaire where he is listed as James Crath. James had three sons, Muircheartach [Murty Cragh (I)], Dermot (Jerem), and Dick, the three progenitors of the Ó Súilleabháin Murts, Ó Súilleabháin Jers, and Ó Súilleabháin Dicks of Doire Chonaire.
Muircheartach Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith 
Documentation for Muircheartach [Murty Cragh (I)] Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1791) was also found in the 1827 Tithe List for Doire Chonaire where he is listed as Murty Cragh. He is an adult property owner, according to this document. His estimated birth year was 1791, making him about 36 years old at this time. He is also registered in the Adrigole Parish Records as the father of John McGrath, who was baptized in Doire Chonaire on March 16, 1834. Murty Cragh (I) was about 43 years old when John was born. The wife of Murty Cragh (I) is identified as Ellen Shanahan in the Adrigole Parish Records. Murty Cragh (I) was about 25 years old when he sired his oldest son, Muircheartach [Mort Crath (II)] in 1816. Murty Cragh (I) is also listed in Griffith’s Valuation for Kilcasken Parish (1848 – 1864).
Muircheartach Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith 
Documentation for Muircheartach [Mort Crath (II)] Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born 1816) was also found in the Adrigole Parish Records where his marriage to Mary Crath was recorded on May 4, 1841. He is listed as Mort Crath. He died on October 5, 1882 at the age of 66. He had suffered with stomach cancer for about one year prior to his death. His daughter-in-law, Catherine Sullivan (nee Daly) was present at his death. From this Kilcasken Parish Record obituary, we know that Mort Crath (II) was born in 1816. He is also listed in Griffith’s Valuation for Kilcasken Parish (1848 – 1864).
Muircheartach Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith 
Documentation for Muircheartach Mhóir [Mortimor James (III)] Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born 1857) is also found in the Kilcasken Parish Records. His birth is registered as July 6, 1857. He married Catherine Daly. He died on February 7, 1940. His youngest son Liam (Willie) was present at his death. Mortimor James (III) had three older siblings, all of whom died in childhood. Mary was born in 1847, known as “Black ‘47” since it was the worst year of An Gorta Mhóir (the Great Hunger). John was born in 1850 and Michael was born in 1854, which were still bleak years for the people of Doire Chonaire.
Donal Seosamh Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith 
Documentation for Donal Seosamh [Daniel Joseph (I)] Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born 1889) is also found in the Kilcasken Parish Records. His birth is registered in the Civil Records as March 30, 1889 but Mr. O’Dwyer is certain that this date is wrong. His correct birthdate is February 9, 1889. He was baptized on February 10, 1889 by the Very Reverend Father John Mangan P.P., No. 498 in the Baptismal Book. His Godparents were Daniel Sullivan and Johanna Crowley. Daniel Joseph (I) had two older brothers: John, who died without issue in a lumberjack camp in Washington State, U.S.A., purportedly during an “axe fight”; and Patrick, whose only male grandson had no male issue and no interest in the affairs of the clan.
Donal Seosamh Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith 
Documentation for Donal Seosamh [Daniel Joseph (II)] Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born 1920) is an American birth certificate. Birth Record # 983 filed in Manhattan, New York City, New York, January 6, 1921 documenting the live birth of Daniel Joseph (II) on December 28, 1920.
Donal Seosamh Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith [121-D]
Documentation for Donal Seosamh [Daniel Joseph (III)] Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born 1949) is also an American birth certificate.
Note: Each individual in the Ó Súilleabháin clan pedigree has been assigned an identification number to avoid any confusion caused by the recurrence of the same first names in multiple generations. This number follows each name in bold print and brackets: [X].
The Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith
I was very satisfied with Mr. O’Dwyer’s work. Although I was originally disappointed to learn that we were not of the Ó Súilleabháin Beare or the Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir line, I finally knew exactly who we were: The Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith.
My subsequent research revealed a remarkable genealogical twist that proved that the elders of the Ó Súilleabháin Murt family of Doire Chonaire were actually telling the truth when they told us that we were the most senior line of the Ó Súilleabháin clan.
In the fifteenth century, our ancestor, MeicRaith of Dunkerron Castle (Caisleán Dún Ciarán / Ciarán’s Fort), was the chief of the clan and the most senior, direct, male, descendant of Finghin, the sixth century king of Munster. When MeicRaith passed away, his son, Donal, was too young to be named the Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir (chief). MeicRaith’s younger brother, Ruairi, succeeded to the title, according to the laws of Tanistry. Donal MhicRaith and his mother were moved out of Dunkerron Castle (Caisleán Dún Ciarán) and into nearby Cappanacush Castle (Caisleán Ceapach na Coise / Castle at the Foot of the Mountain).
Due to the genealogical significance of primogeniture, the direct, male, descendants of Donal MhicRaith were carefully recorded for posterity. The political reason for this continued interest in a “non-chiefly” line was the “reversionary right to the chieftanship”. As William F.T. Butler explained:
“Another branch of the O’Sullivan clan resided at the castle of Cappanacushy [sic]. They were often called the Mac Crah, as being descendants of a chief called Mac Crah. They were, it appears, the senior branch of the O’Sullivan race, but had been deprived of the chieftanship through the workings of the law of Tanistry. The younger brother of Mac Crah had succeeded him as chief, and had managed to secure the succession of his own sons, excluding his nephews, who had the best right to the chieftanship. The Slíocht Mac Crah had to content themselves with an estate of twenty ploughlands, and the reversionary right to the chieftanship, if the ruling house should become extinct.” (Italics added)
William F.T. Butler, Gleanings from Irish History, Longmans, Green, and Co., 1925, p. 47
Although the descendants of MhicRaith resided in Cappanacush Castle for a generation or two, they were eventually displaced by the descendants of Ruairi. For example, John William O’Sullivan of Cappanacush Castle, the Adjutant General for Charles, Prince of Wales in the eighteenth century, was from a cadet line of the MacRuairi sept, and not an Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith.
After losing their properties in Kenmare, the Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith were forced to seek their fortunes in other parts of the kingdom.
The pedigree of the Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith is found in An Leabhar Muimhneach (The Book of Munster):
MeicRaith, the Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir (born c. 1400)
Donal Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1440)
Conor Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1478)
Eoin (Owen) Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1511)
Buodach Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1544)
Donogh Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1577)
Conor Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1610)
Eoin/Owen Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1643)
Dermot Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1676)
T. O Donnchadha, An Leabhar Muimhneach, Coimisiun Laimhscribhinni na hEireann, p. 219.
In O’Donovan’s Survey, the Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith line is extended for two more generations, both of whom are found in the Doire Chonaire documents:
Eoin/Owen (John Greath) Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1705) 
Dermot (Darby a Sheáin) Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1728) 
John O’Donovan, Ordnance Survey Letters, County Kerry, 1841, p. 433; Letter from Thomas O’Connor of Killarney, dated August 29, 1841. Note: To avoid confusion, I have included the spelling of the name as it is found in the records in parenthesis and italics after the formal name.
Further research revealed:
The most senior branch of the Gaelic nation was the Eóghanacht.
The most senior branch of the Eóghanacht was the Eóghanacht Chaisil.
The most senior branch of the Eóghanacht Chaisil was the Cenél Finghin.
The most senior branch of the Cenél Finghin was the Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir.
The most senior branch of the Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir was the Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith.
The most senior branch of the Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith was the Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (Murts) of Doire Chonaire.
The Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith of Doire Chonaire
Everything that the elders of the Ó Súilleabháin Murts had claimed was verified with subsequently discovered documents, none of which would have been available to them. The oral tradition of Doire Chonaire proved to be correct. The Ó Súilleabháin Murts were the true chiefly line of the Ó Súilleabháin clan. The Ó Súilleabháin clan did represent the most senior line of the Irish race. When Daniel Ó Súilleabháin, the last Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir of the MhicRauri line, died in Tomies in 1762, the title of Chief silently reverted back to Eoin/Owen (John Greath) Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1705), the ancestor of the Ó Súilleabháin Murts of Doire Chonaire. The significance of the title had been lost and the transfer of this great honor had no impact whatsoever on the simple life of this struggling tenant farmer. In fact, it is highly likely that Eoin/Owen (John Greath) Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith was unaware that the Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir left no legitimate issue upon his death.
Memories of our sept elders sharing their knowledge with the youngsters of Doire Chonaire haunted me. Suddenly, I felt the weight of a great responsibility on my shoulders. For whatever reason, providence had chosen me to preserve the identity of our family. Had I not crossed paths with Riobard O’Dwyer, N.T., when I did, the fate of the Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith line would have been lost forever. When I reflected on how our identity survived through the meticulous reciting of poems and family traditions, passed from father to son for four centuries, and the careful recording of our proper branch name by long-forgotten parish priests, I was awestricken. The irony of our sept identity being preserved, partially by our English over-lords in Bantry House, was both poignant and amusing.
The thought of publicly proclaiming that the Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith of Doire Chonaire were the rightful heirs to the coveted title, ‘The Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir’, was very daunting for several reasons:
The title represented an historical remnant of a social/political system that had long been abandoned by the Irish people. The clan system of government was forcibly overthrown and replaced by English monarchists, who, in turn, had been forcibly overthrown and replaced by Irish republicans.
The Irish people have always had an innate aversion to anything that smacks of elitism and anyone who stepped forward to claim a chiefly title would most likely be greeted with an incessant barrage of derision and ridicule.
The last time an individual came forward to claim an Eóghanacht title, he turned out to be a hoaxer (Terence MacCarthy).
As a physician, my reputation for honesty and integrity was of paramount importance. As pretenders to the title of ‘Chief of the Ó Súilleabháin Clan, I knew that our virtue would be questioned. I also realized that our claim was based on oral tradition, albeit buttressed by sound genealogical research and supporting documentation. I fully expected some people in the genealogical world to be skeptical of our claims.
Despite my many reservations, my sense of duty to my ancestors to restore their proper place in history drove me to pursue this recognition. I also had concluded that, without a bona fide, legitimate, chief, the Ó Súilleabháin clan could not exist as a functioning entity. I wanted very much to defy our historical enemies and resuscitate our moribund clan and to promote and preserve our Gaelic culture, heritage, traditions, language, literature, art, and history.
On November 22, 1999, Riobard O’Dwyer, N.T. signed a notarized affidavit confirming that the Ó Súilleabháin Murts of Doire Chonaire were the direct, male, descendants of MeicRaith, The Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir and Chief of the Name in the fifteenth century.
Upon the death of my father, Donal Seosamh [Daniel Joseph (II)], my older brother, Donal Seosamh [Daniel Joseph (III)], became ‘The Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith’ and ‘The Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir’ on January 14, 2004. I became his taniste. My brother was very busy at the time, building a successful consulting company. Consequently, I assumed many of the duties of Chief, including organizing the derbhfine, managing the clan affairs, arranging for academic seminars, attending international meetings, commissioning the clan flag, song, tartan, etc. After ten years, Donal Seosamh [Daniel Joseph (III)] graciously stepped down as Chief of the Name, allowing me to officially assume the titles, authority, and responsibilities of ‘The Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith’ and ‘The Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir’. I was officially confirmed to the title by our derbhfine on October 11, 2014.
The final pedigree of the Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith of Doire Chonaire follows:
MeicRaith, the Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir (born c. 1400) 
Donal Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1440) 
Conor Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1478) 
Eoin/Owen Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1511) 
Buodach Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1544) 
Donogh Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1577) 
Conor Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1610) 
Eoin/Owen Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1643) 
Dermot Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith (born c. 1676) 
Eoin/Owen (John Greath), became the Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir in 1762 (born c. 1705) 
Dermot (Darby a Sheáin), the Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir (born c. 1728) 
Eoin/Owen (John Darby), the Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir (born c. 1749) 
Seamus (James Crath), the Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir (born c. 1770) 
Muircheartach (Murty Cragh (I)), the Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir (born c. 1791) 
Muircheartach [Mort Crath (II)], the Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir (born 1816) 
Muircheartach [Mortimor James (III)], the Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir [1882 – 1940] (born 6-7-1857) 
Donal Seosamh [Daniel Joseph (I)], the Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir [1940 – 1954] (born 2-9-1889) 
Donal Seosamh [Daniel Joseph (II)], the Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir [1954 – 2004] (born 12-28-1920) 
Donal Seosamh [Daniel Joseph (III)], the Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir [2004 – 2014] (born 12-7-1949) [121-D]
Garraí Eoin Brian [Gary Brian], the Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir [2014 – Present] (born 10-11-1955) [121-G]
Our plan was to share our research with as many people as possible to publicly proclaim our identity as the Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith sept. We were very transparent and openly invited any criticism, comments, or new information.
In February, 2012, we commissioned Fiona Fitzsimmons of Eneclann, Dublin, Ireland, a certified genealogist who specializes in the succession of Irish chiefs, to investigate the specific claim that the Ó Súilleabháin Murts of Doire Chonaire were the senior line of the Sliocht MhicRaith. She conducted her research and found no evidence to contradict the claims of Riobard O’Dwyer or the elders of Doire Chonaire. Although she lamented the paucity of documents related to the Ó Súilleabháin clan, she graciously reiterated that Riobard O’Dwyer was the resident expert on the genealogies of the families of the Beara peninsula and she deferred to his findings.
Although our line enjoyed the hereditary rights of primogeniture, we understood that the title, “Hereditary Chief of the Name” actually belonged to the derbhfine of our clan. From the autumn of 1999, until the summer of 2014, we conducted a worldwide outreach program to find any and all legitimate and confirmed descendants of Eoin/Owen (John Greath) Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith to serve on our derbhfine. We created a website, sponsored academic seminars, and we sponsored the publication of the Annals of Beara, the complete, lifetime, genealogical works of Riobard O’Dwyer. We also published two books, The Oak and Serpent and A History of the O’Sullivan Clan, sharing Mr. O’Dwyer’s findings concerning the Ó Súilleabháin Murts of Doire Chonaire. We invited any historical or genealogical researchers to investigate his claims and challenge them, if warranted. We wanted to avoid any embarrassments and we certainly didn’t want to sully the reputation of the Eóghanacht Chaisil any further, in the wake of the Terence MacCarthy debacle.
In 2014, we were contacted by William Randolph McCreight, who introduced himself as a “debunker of false genealogical claims”. He confessed that he had begun his research very dubious of our claims. Once he had revisited all of the sources and materials relating to our genealogical line, he concluded that Mr. O’Dwyer’s claims were all true and accurate. He subsequently published a book presenting his independent conclusions, O’Sullivan (Ó Súilleabháin), the Earliest Irish Royal Family. He personally travelled to our family home in France, Dunderry Castle, to present us with a hard-bound copy of his book.
To date, there are nine men who serve on the derbhfine of the Sliocht MhicRaith:
Donal Seosamh Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir III [2004 – 2014]
Daniel Joseph O’Sullivan III
Garraí Eoin Brian, the Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir [2014 – Present]
Garryowen Brian O’Sullivan, MD, FACOG, FACS
Riobard Barraí Eoin Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith
Robert Barryowen O’Sullivan, JD
Attorney at Law
Donal Seosamh Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith IV
Daniel Joseph O’Sullivan IV
Captain, U.S.N. (Ret.); Corporate Vice President
Garraí Eoin Brian, the Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith
Garryowen Brian O’Sullivan II
Riobard Barraí Eoin Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith
Robert Barryowen O’Sullivan II
Singer / Songwriter
Padraig Brian Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith
Patrick Brian O’Sullivan, JD
Attorney at Law
Conor Donal Mhóir Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith
Connor Donal Mhóir O’Sullivan
Seán Seamus Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith
Sean James O’Sullivan
Once I was officially recognized as “The Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith, Hereditary Chief of the Name” by our derbhfine, under normal circumstances, I would have submitted my pedigree to the Chief Herald’s Office in Ireland for official review and recognition of my title. Unfortunately, in the wake of the McCarthy Mhóir debacle, the Irish government announced, in July 2003, that they were no longer offering courtesy recognition to any clan chiefs.
I was also reluctant to pursue official recognition since, as stated before, the title afforded no privilege or rights and it invited intense ridicule and derision from some quarters. Furthermore, my claim to the title was based on local oral tradition, notwithstanding its associated supporting documentation.
At the time, I was serving as “Taoiseach” for the Ó Súilleabháin Clan of Munster, a member organization of Finte na hÉirean / Clans of Ireland. I was increasingly aware that, without a Hereditary Chief of the Name, a clan organization was little more than a glorified history club. It was clear that there were no chiefly lines extant for the Ó Súilleabháin Clan of Munster, other than that of the Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith. It was also clear that the elders of the Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith of Doire Chonaire were adamant that our little sept represented the senior line of the descendants of MhicRaith. Over a decade of searching had produced no other significant population of Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith to potentially compete with the claims of the Doire Chonaire sept.
When I discussed my dilemma with James O’Higgins Norman, who was on the Board of Finte na hÉirean / Clans of Ireland at the time, he suggested that I seek recognition of my title and pedigree from the Royal House of Georgia.
I investigated the Bagrationi Dynasty and was duly impressed. This royal family reigned in Georgia from medieval times until the nineteenth century. It is recognized to be the oldest Christian ruling dynasty in the world and was a stalwart defender of Europe against the incessant incursions of the Persian and Ottoman Empires.
Prince Davit Bagrationi-Mukhraneli is the present-day representative of the senior surviving legitimate branch of the Bagrationi dynastic lineage and is a direct, male, descendant of King Constantine II of Georgia. Although the Bagrationi-Mukhraneli sept has not reigned as kings in Georgia since the eighteenth century, it is confirmed to be the most senior surviving line of this royal family.
On February 8, 2009, Prince Davit Bagrationi-Mukhraneli married Princess Ana Bagrationi-Gruzinsky, a distant cousin and a direct descendant of King George XII, the last reigning king of Georgia. On September 27, 2011, Ana gave birth to a son, Prince Giorgi Bagration Bagrationi, in whom both surviving branches of the Bagrationi dynasty have been united.
I submitted my pedigree and documentation to the Privy Council of the Royal House of Georgia and was officially recognized as “The Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith”. I was also ennobled as “The Count of Knockgraffon” on September 17, 2014. I was inducted in the Order of the Eagle of Georgia and the Seamless Tunic of Our Lord as Knight Grand Cross on September 20, 2014.
I then submitted my pedigree and titles to Don Alfonso Ceballos Escalera y Gil, Marques de la Floresta, the Rey de Armas of Castile and Leon, the legitimate successor of the Cronista Rey de Armas of Spain and the personal herald to King Juan Carlos and King Felipe VI of Spain. I requested a grant of arms based on my native title, ‘The Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith’, and my Georgian title, ‘The Count of Knockgraffon’, as well as my status as Knight Grand Cross. The Marques conducted his own independent research and officially recognized me as ‘The Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith’, Hereditary Chief of the Name and Count of Knockgraffon. He also asserted that, as ‘The Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith’, I also inherited the title, ‘The Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir’, since the cadet MhicRuari line had gone extinct in the eighteenth century and all rights and titles would revert back to the senior MhicRaith line. Based on his conclusions, I was granted the following arms on December 16, 2014:
On December 13, 2017, the Feast day of St. Lucy, the Patron Saint of the Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith of Doire Chonaire and Dunderry Castle, the following amended arms were granted to me by Don Alfonso Ceballos Escalera y Gil, Marques de la Floresta, the Rey de Armas of Castile and Leon, reflecting the native title, The Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir, Prince of Munster:
Designed by Joseph Crews, El Leon Blanco, Persevante.
On June 6, 2017, I submitted an application to Colette O’Flaherty, the Chief Herald of Ireland, requesting her to consider confirming my arms as granted to me by Don Alfonso Ceballos Escalera y Gil, Marques de Floresta, and Rey de Armas de Castile y Leon, the legitimate successor to the Cronista Rey de Armas de España and personal herald of King Felipe VI of Spain. I provided her office with all of the supporting documentation and a detailed narrative as to why I believed that I had a reasonable claim to the title, ‘The Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir’. After several months of correspondence, the acquisition of additional requested sources, and the realization that there was documented evidence of my pedigree extending back two more generations than previously realized, I was informed that “… only documented descent may be included in the grant document i.e. birth, marriage, and death certificates or other duly certified copies must clearly establish the link between the grantee and the forebears named in the grant document.”
Consequently, my line could only be recognized by the Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland back to my great-grandfather. In the aftermath of the Terence MacCarthy debacle, the Chief Herald had to be extremely careful not to be embroiled in another scam or hoax. I understood her position completely and I politely retracted my application.
Be that as it may, it remains my obligation to continue to humbly serve as the Chief of the Ó Súilleabháin Clan of Munster and to commit the requisite time, effort, and resources to promote and preserve the culture and heritage of our great people. To this end, I am diligently working on the second edition of The Oak and Serpent. As imperfect as it may be, it is an honest attempt to dispel some of the historical inaccuracies that have been circulated about our family and to shed some light on the mysteries that surround our origin and proper place among the other Gaelic clans.
A comprehensive history of any ancient culture should begin with the indigenous mythological accounts, 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, or the Ancient Annals of Ireland. While most modern historians deride these tracts as self-aggrandizing tribal propaganda, with little or no historical value, I propose that a thorough and accurate understanding of a people is not possible without an appreciation of its own story of origin.
For this reason, I unapologetically begin the history of the O’Sullivan clan with Phoeniusa Farsaidh , King of Scythia, c. 1580 B.C. I trace the travels of our ancestors throughout Eastern Europe and the Middle East and I even include those tales that seem the most likely to be apocryphal, such as Gaodhal’s fortunate encounter with Moses in Egypt. What my critics may consider to be amateur credulity, I propose to be a deeper understanding of our people and their Gaelic identity. The modern critics of our ancient annalists are quick to dismiss their work as fiction, but they offer no factual alternative. Personally, I tend to trust the word of a medieval Irish academic more than that of a contemporary historian. University politics and a pervasive anti-nationalistic stance among college professors seems to have colored the more recent interpretations of Irish history.
My defense of the Milesian tradition is also, to a degree, a rebuttal to the anti-Irish propaganda spewed by English historians over the past millennium. 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 expedient for Henry II and his minions to dismiss the ancient royal claims of the Irish as fantasy, in order to justify his invasion of Ireland to the Pope.
I am confident that the fledgling science of genetic genealogy will eventually vindicate the ancient Irish annalists and provide new evidence to support the veracity of their work. We are already seeing examples of this, such as the recent yDNA research of Nigel McCarthy demonstrating the consanguinity of the Eoghanacht clans, presented at a Gathering to celebrate The Homecoming of the Daniel MacCarthy Glas; Archive, 26-28 May, 2017, Dunmanway, Co. Cork
This book was originally written exclusively for the members of the Sliocht MhicRaith, present and future. Its purpose is not to sift through the dustbin of history for past glories and laurels upon which the Ó Súilleabháin family can rest, but rather a call to resurrect the old and tattered banner, under which the clan has historically marched into battle, in preparation for the inevitable challenges of the future.
As the world progresses, technologically, and the issues at hand grow more complex, those families with a strong identity and a meaningful culture will be most likely to survive and prosper. Just as a vector must be defined by at least two points, so a people must know both ‘where they were’ and ‘where they are’ to effectively determine to ‘where they are going’. It is for this purpose that this book was written.
There are ample records available to study the history of the Gaelic Celts but some have been tainted by contemporary politics and prejudices, blinding religious convictions, and blatant ignorance. In separating the wheat of truth from the chaff of lies, an interesting and intricate family tapestry is revealed, replete with colorful myths and legends.
Certain historical issues concerning the family have not been, to date, adequately addressed. This book will attempt to resolve these issues, including the apparent failure of our pagan ancestors to grasp the concept of cosmogony; a proposed druid cosmology; the approximate arrival date of the Gaelic Celts in Ireland; the arrival and evolution of Christianity in Ireland and its impact on the Gaels; the swift acceptance of Christianity by the pagan aristocracy of Europe; the events and circumstances that resulted in the usurpation of the throne of Munster by the cadet Cenél Falbhe Flann, forbearers of the McCarthy tribe; the actual year the Ó Súilleabháin clan abandoned Knockgraffon; where the clan was during the quarter of a century between leaving Knockgraffon and arriving in the mountains of Cork and Kerry; exactly which individuals in the Royal House of the Ó Súilleabháin clan survived the massacre of Raithin na nGaraidhthe in 1214; on which side did the Ó Súilleabháin clan fight in the Battle of Callan; in what time period and under what circumstances was the Sliocht MhicRaith displaced from Dunkerron; in what time period and under what circumstances was the Sliocht MhicRaith displaced from Cappanocoss; on which side did the various Ó Súilleabháin septs fight at Kinsale in 1601; the fate of the various septs during and after the Cromwellian holocaust; in what time period and under what circumstances the Sliocht MhicRaith arrived in Doire Chonaire, Contae Chorcaí (Derryconnery, County Cork); the true meaning of the name ‘Ó Súilleabháin’; the ultimate fate of the title, ‘The Ó Súilleabháin Beare’; the ultimate fate of the title, ‘The Ó Súilleabháin McGillycuddy, and the ultimate fate of the title, ‘The Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir’.
One premise of the book is that the genealogical tracts of the medieval chroniclers were, more or less, accurate. A standard generational span of 25 - 40 years was applied to the clan pedigree starting with Phoeniusa Farsaidh . This formula was adjusted to correlate with known, specific, dates in the chronology and to known, historical, conditions, i.e. MeicRaith  being at a more advanced age at the time of the birth of his first surviving son, Donal . The earlier individuals also had shorter generational spans, to reflect the shorter life spans of the era. It must be understood that all of the dates prior to the nineteenth century are estimates and approximations, although great care was taken to maximize the accuracy of these calculations.
Another premise of this book is that all of the myths, legends, and traditions of the Milesian Celts had their roots in historical fact. Nowhere is this premise better demonstrated than in my treatment of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the Nazarene. It must be emphasized that this interpretation of the scant historical facts available for the life and times of Jesus is completely from the imagined perspective of the druid-dominated insular Gaels. It is not presented as historical fact, but rather as one version of the story that would: 1) explain the events of the New Testament in terms of natural law (excluding miracles and the like); 2) explain the perceived consanguinity of the Irish Celts and the Middle Eastern Israelites / Judeans; and 3) explain the rapid acceptance of Christianity by the native Europeans, including the Irish. It should, by no means, be taken as an affront to anyone’s faith nor should it be misinterpreted, necessarily, as my personal belief. I remain devoutly Roman Catholic and serve as the steward of the Chapel of St. Lucy, the consecrated church of Dunderry Castle (Dún Doire Chateau du Gravier).
Modern historians dismiss the Biblical genealogical tracts linking the Magi (descendants of Magog) and the Semites to a common ancestor as fanciful, but to our ancestors it was an accepted fact. Again, contemporary academics reject this notion out of hand, but they have no factual data to replace this mythological history. The questions I pose are, “What if there was an element of truth to the shared belief of the ancient Gaels and ancient Israelites that both of these tribes descended from the same progenitor?; What if the story of Noah and the flood is found in both the ancient Irish texts as well as the ancient Hebrew texts because both of their ancestors lived through it, rather than it being dismissed as a clumsy attempt by medieval monks to interject Biblical links to improve the status and credibility of their own origin stories?; What if the Biblical genealogies were not meant to trace the origins of all men on earth, as the Catholic Church interprets it, but rather they were a record of one unique and remarkable tribe, from which sprung the proto-Celts of the Caucasus steppes and the Davidic tribes of Israel and Judea?”
Serious historians will fall all over themselves to discredit what they honestly see as a far-fetched fantasy, yet, if you distill out the obvious miracles and religious undertones, why would it be so hard to believe that the proto-Celts of Scythia originated in the Fertile Crescent? Why couldn’t they share with the Israelites a mythological-historical memory of an ancient disaster that occurred before their peoples had branched off into different tribes? Why should we have to assume that all of our ancient annalists were bald-faced liars?
The Oak and Serpent is a serious attempt to present the origin and history of the Ó Súilleabháin clan, as it was believed to be by our ancestors, yet reconciled with accepted historical fact and in accordance with natural law. Some obvious myths are still presented as such, with their inherent elements of truth being left for the reader to decide.
GarraíEoin Brian Ó Súilleabháin MhicRaith, G.C.E.G.
of Dún Doire Chateau du Gravier, The Ó Súilleabháin Mhóir,
Count of Knockgraffon
The Count and Countess of Knockgraffon with Gearoid O'Kelly and Conor Myles John O'Brien, the 18th Baron Inchiquin.