Very Rev. Donal A. O Súileabháin PP


Parish Of Birth

Colleges Attended
St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth Co Kildare, Ireland

Details Of Ordination
St. Patrick’s College Chapel, Maynooth, Co. Kildare

Enniskeane PP : 23/7/1845 – 23/8/1858

Bandon CC (Parish) : 1822 – 1845

Fr O’Suilleabhain (Sullivan) was born in 1790 in the Parish of Kilmurry. Irish was the spoken language in the family home (his father spoke only Irish and his mother spoke English and Irish), and until the young Daniel went to school he spoke no English
He learned Latin in Macroom and it seems he finished his schooling in Mallow, and then he came to Cork. Here with Fr. Michael Field (later Parish Priest of Innishannon) he taught at St. Mary’s College for some time, earning as much as kept him – fifty pounds a year; but his ambition was to enter Maynooth and prepare for the priesthood. Soon his ambition was realised.
At Maynooth, in addition to the ordinary routine of student life, he managed to find time to do a little everyday on that work on which his heart was set – the translation from Latin into his native language (Irish) of Thomas A. Kempis’s immortal work, the ‘Imitatio Christi’ – Imitation of Christ.
He was ordained in 1820, and was offered and accepted the Chair of Irish in the College. The first edition of the ‘Imitation’ appeared in 1822 and was very well received.
Having accepted the Irish language Chair in Maynooth, he soon changed his mind -with his mothers wishes, and he left the College. For six months he assisted the parish priest of Celbridge (Co. Kildare) until Bishop Murphy offered him a curacy in Bandon in recognition of his great ability.

He was eulogised in no unmeasured terms by Bishop John Murphy in 1834 when writing to Pilip Barun of Waterford; “There is one gentleman who is a great Irish scholar and whom I should wish to mention to you particularly – namely, Rev. Daniel O’Sullivan, R.C. Curate of Bandon. He is more deep and profound and classical in his knowledge of the Irish language than any other person with whom I am acquainted”.
Standish O’Grady described Father O’Sullivan as ‘an accomplished Irish scholar and poet’; and in 1845, T. Swanton from Ballydehob, a friend of Sir Bertram Windle, strongly recommended that Father O’Sullivan should be appointed Professor of Irish in the about-to-be-opened Queen’s College in Cork in that year. The professorship went to Eoghan O’Conallain, himself an admirer of Father O’Sullivan……’.
Extract from: A history of the Diocese of Cork – from the Penal Era to the Famine, by Evelyn Bolster, p. 234

The MS Annals of the Diocese is lavish in its appreciation of this priest who was ‘a most excellent Irish Scolar, as may be perceived by his translation of the ‘Imitation of Christ’, ………… He was also ……… a most effective preacher in the Irish tongue. For many years he was accustomed to go as interpreter and Irish lecurer with the Right Rev. Dr. Murphy in his visitations of the Diocese’.
Extract from – A history of the Diocese of Cork, the episcopate of William Delany, 1847 – 1886, by Evelyn Bolster, p. 198.

As curate in Bandon he was known as the “Bandon Coadjutor”.
For a pen-picture of Fr. O’Sullivan see:
(a) Scholar & Poet/Fr. Dan O’Sullivan Enniskeane, by Thomas Jones – Cork Holly Bough, 1947.
(b) Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society (JCHAS) 1985 Vol 1, p 105ff.

Date Of Death

Place Of Death
Parochial House, Enniskeane, Co. Cork

Place Of Burial
Church of the Immaculate Conception, Enniskeane, Co. Cork

He was buried beside his old parish chapel at Enniskeane.
On Sunday, September 8th 1872, after the last Mass was celebrated in the old church, his remains were removed and re-interred before the high altar of the new church (Church of the Immaculate Conception). A tablet with his name indicates his final resting place

Associated Links
An article about An tAthair O Súileabháin in the Irish Canadian of Dec 23, 1886