Who was Sylvester O’Sullivan?

A few days we got a message inquiring about a Sylvester O’Sullivan and family who was a hotel keeper in Millstreet at the time of the 1901 Census:

“From the 1901 census I have discovered my gt-grandfather: SYLVESTER O’SULLIVAN who owned a hotel at 43 Main Street, Millstreet, he was born in 1843. Wife ELIZABETH, four daughters , one of whom was my maternal grandmother: Kathleen sometimes known as Catherine. She married an RIC officer in 1907 who was stationed in Macroom. The other sisters were: Ellen, Maria, Lillie (widowed with daughter aged 5 in 1901) Any relatives out there? – Catherine valerie Harden [1]”

We did a bit of background research, and there really was little else substantive could get on Sylvester O’Sullivan (even with such an uncommon name). From what we can gather, Sylvester ran the hotel for about ten years in Millstreet before retiring around 1907, where he retired moved to Monkstown, below Cork City.  This is what we found: 


So where was the hotel?

There were three hotels on Main Street in 1901 (according to the census). The Wallis Arms and Vanson’s (where O’Driscolls were until recently) were next door to each other in the Square, and the third one which was Sylvester’s appears to have been above to Hegarty’s Store. This would mean it was located where Tagney’s Drapery Store is now located. (This is a best guess from the sequence of houses in the 1901 census).




… so now just to find out where was ms sherin and  mr harding were

OTICE to obtain Transfer of Licence. Cork 1 County, West Riding, Division Alaoroom. Take Notice, that 1, William Hegarty, of Millstreet, in the County Cork, shopkeeper, intend, pursuant to the statute in such case made and provided, to apply at the next General Quarter Sessions the Peace, be hidden in end for Cork County, West Riding, and Division Macjoom, ot Macroora, the 29th day of September instant, for a certificate to obtain a Transfer the Licence held Jeremiah J Hcgarty for the sale beer, cider, and spirits retail, to be consumed in my house, situate the Main street, in the Town Millstreet, bcfvein the houses occupied Sylvester U’Sur.ivan and Mrs Sherin, in the Townland of Li‘eahar e, Parish Drishane, Barony of West Mn-kcrry, the County, Riding, and Division .-ahi. Dated Pus Ist day September, IBUJ. William Hegarty.

Notice to obtain New Licence. Cork County, West Riding, Division Take notice, that I. Sylvester O’Sullivan, of Mam street, Millstreet, the county Cork, shopkeeper, intend, pursuant to ibe statute in such case made and provided, apply the next general Quarter Sessions the Pence, be holden in and for Cork county, West Killing, division ofMacroom. at Alacrooin, the 291 day September, 1801, for acertilicate obtain a Licence for the sale of beer, cider, and spirits retail, to be consumed house, situate in the Main street, in t ie tn’wr M’llslieet, between the houses occupied i.v Mr Jeremiah Hegarty and Mr Cornelius Harding, in the Parish Drishane, irony WestMuskerry, in said County. Riding, and Division. Dated this 18th day of August, 1891. Sylvester O’Sullivan,



That house along with more adjoining houses was actually being leased by Jeremiah Hegarty from HAB Wallis, Drishane Castle, but was soon to be auctioned off like all the houses in town … so it’s likely Sylvester was actually just managing the hotel. See the house on Google Street View.


How long were the O’Sullivans in Millstreet?

See the notices above where sylvester is applying for a licence for his establishment, and it states that he is already a shopkeeper there (TODO check for shopkeeper listing)

Guy’s Directories lists “O Sullivan S” as a hotel keeper in Millstreet in the years 1897 (page 376), 1903 (page 398), and 1907 (page 404), but not in 1893 (page 155), or 1910 (page 406)

So, from that we can assume that they were in Millstreet for about ten years, or maybe a little more.


1901 Census: the O’Sullivan Household

Residents of a house 43 in Main Street (Drishane, Cork) [Census returns]

  1. Surname Forename Age Sex Relation to head Religion Birthplace Occupation Literacy Irish Language Marital Status Specified Illnesses
  2. O Sullivan Sylvester 58 Male Head of Family Co Cork Hotel Keeper Read and write Irish and English Married –
  3. O Sullivan Elizabeth 56 Female Wife City of Dublin House Keeper Read and write – Married –
  4. O Sullivan Ellen 29 Female Daughter Co Cork Spinster Read and write – Not Married –
  5. O Sullivan Maria 27 Female Daughter Co Cork Spinster Read and write – Not Married –
  6. OBrien Lillie 26 Female Daughter Co Cork – Read and write – Widow
  7. OSullivan Kathleen 20 Female Daughter Co Cork Scholar Read and write – Not Married –
  8. OBrien Lilian 5 Female Grand Daughter Co Cork Scholar Read and write – Not Married –
  9. OSullivan Humpherey 73 Male Boarder Co Kerry Retired Station Master Read and write Irish and English Widower –
  10. Mc Guire Eugene 41 Male Boarder Galway Bank Clerk Read and write – Not Married –
  11. Howard Joseph 35 Male Boarder Co Cork Deply Co Survioyer Read and write –


Marriage of Kathleen & Philip Dolan, 1907

Sylvester’s daughter Kathleen married Philip Dolan on 11 June 1907 in St. Finbarr’s Church Cork  [Civil Marriage Record]:
* Philip Dolan; R.I.C Sergent Macroom; Father: Patrick Dolan, a farmer
* Kathleen O’Sullivan; living with parents, 6 Marina View; Father: Sylvester O’Sullivan


Sylvester’s Death

Sylvester died in Monkstown in March 1910 of heart failure (a Hotel Keeper, his daughter Ellen with him at his death) [Civil Death Record]
“27th March 1910 in Monkstown; Married; 66 years; Heart failure, a few minutes, no medical attendant; Ellen O’Sullivan daughter, Di Vesta Place Monkstown, present at death;”

Grant of Probate:
“O’Sullivan Sylvester [69] 30 April 1910. Administration of the Estate of Sylvester O’Sullivan late of Monkstown County Cork Horel Keeper (Retired) who died 27 March 1910 granted at Cork to Ellen O’Sullivan Spinster Effects £243” [probate document]

Marina View, Monkstown [Google Street View]


1911 Census
in the 1911 census Philip and Kathleen were living in Bandon, and they had a daughter Anne. Kathleen’s sister Maria was also in the house. We note that Philip was born in Cavan, and Maria is a seamstress [1911 Census documents]

Residents of a house 30 in North Main Street (Bandon Town, Cork)

  • Surname Forename Age Sex Relation to head Religion Birthplace Occupation Literacy Irish Language Marital Status Specified Illnesses Years Married Children Born Children Living
  • Dolan Philip 39 Male Head of Family Roman Catholic Cavan Sergeant RIC Read and write – Married – – – –
  • Dolan Kathleen 28 Female Wife Roman Catholic Cork – Read and write – Married – 3 1 1
  • Dolan Anne 2 Female Daughter Roman Catholic Cork – Cannot read – Single – – – –
  • O’Sullivan Maria 34 Female Sister in Law Roman Catholic Cork Seamstress Read and write –


Birth of ANNE DOLAN on 12 November 1908 [Civil Registration] – “12th Nov 1908, Castle Road; Anna; Father Philip Dolan, Castle Road; Mother Catherine Dolan née O’Sullivan; Informant: Philip Dolan, Castle Road, 5th Jan 1909; J OMahony, Assistant Registrar”

Birth of ELIZABETH MARY DOLAN on 20 July 1911 [Civil Registration], at De Vesci Place, Monkstown

Birth of KATHLEEN DOLAN on 12 April 1916 -[Civil Registration] – 12th April 1916 at Hill Street, Bandon – Father Philip Dolan, Sergeant RIC – Mother Kathleen O’Sullivan –



* We are unable to find any of the others of the family in the 1911 census. they all seem to have disappeared. neither can we find any birth registrations for the girls

* Joseph Howard, the assistant county surveyor was staying in the hotel the night of the 1901 census. He and his family went on to own / run the Railway Hotel (now Corkery’s) down the street (Howards in the 1911 census)

*  [Ancestry – Sylvester O’Sullivan]


TODO: is this him? probably not

Southern Reporter and Cork Commercial Courier – Thursday 22 June 1854

Sylvester O’Sullivan, Killarney, bookseller and stationer, newsvender, tobacconist, and dealer in hardware, and previously weaver;

2 thoughts on “Who was Sylvester O’Sullivan?”

    1. Happy Christmas to all on this website. Many thanks to the Millstreet team for amazing efforts on behalf of so many. Maybe next year some O’Sullivans will pop up out of the woodworks!

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