Soraghan Farm 2011

Soraghan Farm 2011
Patrick Soraghan/Sullivan Farm, Dennbane, Co. Cavan, 2011

About Patrick Sullivan and Rose Leddy

About Patrick Sullivan and Rose Corcoran

Not much is known about Patrick Sullivan except that he lived in Dennbane/Denbawn, Denn Parish, County Cavan, Ireland. Records have been located which express the Sullivan last name with the Soraghan/Soroghan/Sorohan spelling. His wife, Rose (c1804-1874), is identified in various documents as having the maiden name of Leddy, McCabe and/or Corcoran. However, it is believed her maiden name was Corcoran. She also is from Ireland, most likely Drumbarry, Co. Cavan. They had at least 11 children, many which immigrated to the US. The children include: Mary (died before 1915 probably in Ireland); Rose Sullivan (died before 1915 probably in Ireland); Michael (c1829-1915); Ellen (c1830-1900); Thomas (c1831-a1901&b1911 in Ireland); James (c1931-1898); Patrick (c1831-1881); Andrew (c1833-1881); Peter F. (c1838-1896); Philip J. (1840-1915) [See also the Sullivan/Connor Genelaogy Blog]; and Matthew (1841-a1916). It is believed that neither Patrick nor Rose immigrated but lived and died in Ireland.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Andrew Sullivan, Hunger Striker, 1882-1923

When you do family history you hope to find individuals who made an impact on their world. Andrew Sullivan (1882-1923) is such a person. He gave his life for the cause of a united Ireland.

I haven't connected Andrew Sullivan/O'Sullivan yet to the family but three different sources have told me he is related including Rita Galligan, a neighbor of the Sullivans in Denbawn we met on our 2011 visit to Ireland; my newly found 3rd cousin Eileen Sullivan in Canada whose father was born in Denbawn; and, possibly from a DVD recording from a school reunion in Denbawn/Drumvaddy, County Cavan from 2007. [Update: DNA proves I am related to Capt. Andrew O'Sullivan]

Note: The Cahill family says the image attributed to Andrew O'Sullivan
second row, left side, is NOT Andrew O'Sullivan

He was a member of the Irish Volunteers, later to become the Irish Republican Army.

Captain Andrew Sullivan was born in Denbawn, County Cavan in 1882, the oldest of eight children born to Michael Sorahan (c1836-1909) and Mary Smith (c1856-a1911).

Line 215 - June 16?, 1882; parents Michael Sorahan and Mary Smith, Dennbane

Andrew Sullivan attended the Royal College of Science for Ireland in Dublin. The mission of the College when it was created in 1867 was to "supply as far as practical a Complete Course of instruction in Science applicable to the Industrial Arts, especially those which may be classed broadly under the heads of Mining, Agriculture, Engineering, and Maufacturers, and to aid in the instruction of Teachers for the local Schools of Science." (Wikipedia, accessed April 20, 2017.)

We believe this photo of Andy may have been taken during his school years in the early 1900s, possibly his graduation photo from 1909. His niece, Teresa Sullivan Cahill, relates the story that after Captain Andy's death, his father Michael Sorahan wore his glasses, like the ones seen in this photo.

Andrew Sullivan c1900s. Photo from the collection of Teresa Sullivan Cahill

Image of diploma courtesy of Teresa Sullivan Cahill, niece.

He eventually became the agricultural inspector for the Mallow area, County Cork and held that position for many years. During the War of Independence Sullivan was the Commanding Officer for Civil Administration in the North Cork area and later in the 1st Southern Cork division. (Flynn, Pawns in the Game). A supporter of the anti-Treaty side during the Irish Civil War, he was arrested and interred on July 5, 1923. Between 1922 and 1923, hundreds of others in all parts of Ireland were arrested by the British controlled Irish police force, without any charge, and were kept in the prisons and internment camps without trial.

In the Autumn of 1923 the conditions in the prisons grew worse and the men and women were being treated as convicts rather than political prisoners. To protest their imprisonment and bring public attention to the cruelty they were receiving, the only "tool" they felt they had at their disposal was a hunger strike.

While on the hunger strike, Andrew wrote to his brother Michael on Nov 7, 1923, the 25th day of the hunger strike. Here is a copy of the letter he sent.

Letter provided by Andrew's grand niece, Michele Cahill. To read a transcription of the letter, go to my website
at and locate the entry for Andrew Sullivan (1882-1923)
Teresa Sullivan Cahill, niece, and her brother, Andy Sullivan, nephew, of Captain Sullivan share a portion of the above letter which was recorded and included in the DVD celebrating the 2007 Denbawn and Drumavaddy School Reunion in County Cavan. Thanks to Michele Cahill for providing the clip.

The strike lasted for 41 days. Denis Barry of Cork and Andy O'Sullivan, of Mallow, both died during the hunger strike. Andrew dying on November 23, the day before the hunger strike was called off.

Entry #433, click on image to enlarge; source
The death notice in the New York Times, November 25, 1923 reads:

Second Irish Hunger Striker Dies
"Dublin, Nov. 24. - The ending of the hunger strike among the political prisoners of the Irish Free State came too late to save Andrew O'Sullivan of County Cavan, interned in Mountjoy Prison. He died in a hospital yesterday after a fast of forty days."

In The Scotsman, November 26, 1923, page 10 it reads:

Death of Irish Hunger-Striker
"At the inquest on Saturday on Andrew Sullivan, a hunger-striker, who after removal from Mountjoy Prison, Dublin, died on Friday afternoon in a military hospital, a doctor stated that Sullivan went on [a] hunger-strike on October 14, and about a week ago he lost his sight. The jury found that death was due to pneumonia."

Belfast News-Letter, November 25, 1923 has an article about the Roman Catholic Church refusing a Catholic burial for Denis Barry but the article goes on to say:

No Difficulty in O'Sullivans' Case
"The remains of Andrew O'Sullivan, a Republican internee, who died in the military hospital, Dublin, as the result of his "hunger strike" in Mountjoy prison, were interred at the New Cemetery, Sandfield, Mallow, Co. Cork (which is in the Roman Catholic diocese of Cloyne) on Tuesday. The funeral procession was over a mile long. Several priests, including deceased's brother-in-law, took part in the obsequies. Miss Mary MacSwiney and David Kent represented the Republicans, the latter delivering an oration over the grave."

Flynn, Barry. Pawns in the Game, Irish Hunger Strikes 1912-1981, Chapter 4, 2011 addresses the slowing down of the movement after the end of the hunger strike:

"It seemed that the momentum of the strike diminished as it progressed. The Free State government stood firm and the release of prisoners soon started in earnest. Within six months, most of the hunger strikers were released on the condition that they 'be loyal to the Irish Free State.'"

But the effort would re-emerge with a vengeance with the onset of World War II in 1939.

Captain Sullivan's niece, Teresa Cahill, and nephew, Andrew Sullivan, talk about him being buried in Mallow, County Cork. Again, thanks to Michele Cahill for providing the video clip.

 A monument has been erected in Mallow, County Cork, on the bridge over the Blackwater River, recognizing several members of the community.

The writing on the monument is in Irish and translates:

"In loving memory of the following officers and the private soldiers of the 5th Battalion of the 4th Cork Brigade Republican Army of Ireland (Irish Republican Army) and who gave their lives defending that Republic."

Denis Bennett 
Patrick O’Flynn 
Edward Walters 
Stephen Lehane (or Lyons)   
Michael Kiely 
Michael Long 
Dermot O’Connell 
Thomas Mulcahy 
Edward Creedon 
Patrick Ronan 
Patrick Corcoran 
Andrew O’Sullivan

Monument photos and transcription from Rebel Cork's Fighting Story.

Two nieces of Captain Andrew Sullivan, Sister Mary Sullivan and Sister Eileen Sullivan, embroidered this piece and presented it to Andrew's mother, Mary Smith Sullivan.

Image of embroidery provided by Michele Cahill, grand niece of Captain Sullivan
"Death before Dishouour - Capt. Andy O'Sullivan - Died in prison Nov 23rd 1923
After 42 Days - hunger-strike"

Now to figure how Andrew Sullivan (1882-1923) and his brother Michael (b1898) fit into the family.

My hypothesis is that Andrew Sullivan (1882-1923) is my second cousin, twice removed.

  • Three independent sources have told me Andrew (d1923) is related to the extended family.
  • The 1901 Irish Census lists an Andrew Soroghan, son of Michael (bc1836) and Mary Smith.
  • The 1911 Irish Census does not include Andrew (d1923) with the family in Denbawn, but an Andrew O'Sullivan is listed living as a border on William O'Brien Street, in Mallow, County Cork. His age is given as 27 and states his occupation has something to do with agriculture, unfortunately, at the present I cannot read the entry completely.
  • It is believed Andrew (1882-1923) is the oldest son of Michael Sullivan/Sorahan (bc1836) and Mary Smith and therefore could reasonably be named after his grandfather, Andrew, the supposed father of Michael (bc1836). This was the custom in Ireland at the time.
  • On the 1821 Irish Census for Cavan, Patrick (bc1794) is listed with a brother Andrew (bc1801); further the father of Patrick (bc1794) and Andrew (bc1801) is named Michael (b1761). Again, citing the custom of naming the first son after the father's father, the naming custom holds if Michael (bc1836) is the oldest son.
  • Patrick (bc1797) is my great, great grandfather, which if all of the above holds true, would make Andrew Sullivan (1882-1923) my second cousin, twice removed.
  • We are about to test this theory using a DNA test on one of Andrew's (b1882) nieces.
                                  ****DNA HAS PROVED THE CONNECTION*****

Many thanks to Eileen Sullivan for contacting me in November, 2016 and confirming she is the great granddaughter of Matthew (1841-1923), brother to my great grandfather, Philip (1840-1915). That makes us third cousins. She shared the Denbawn and Drumavaddy School Reunion 2007 video with me which alerted me to the possibility that Captain Andrew Sullivan (1882-1923) might be a relation.

Additional thanks to Michele Cahill, grandniece of Andrew Sullivan (1882-1923), for posting on Facebook about her great uncle and so graciously sharing much of the above information on Captain Andrew Sullivan including a copy of the letter he wrote while in prison, video clips from the 2007 School Reunion and various photos of Andy which were supplied by her Mom, Teresa Sullivan Cahill. Given the results of the DNA testing, Michele Cahill and I are fourth cousins.


The DNA results are in! I am related to Andrew Sullivan (1882-1923), he is my second cousin, 2 times removed. Thank you Teresa Sullivan Cahill for taking the DNA test!

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