The Last of his Line

From the Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, Volume XXVIII, Part IV (1898) by Francis Joseph Bigger: ‘The ancient church of Kilmakilloge stands on a rocky eminence a little north of Bunaw. Burials have been very numerous in the interior of the church ruins, and many bones and portions of coffins are strewn about. The gravestones clearly denote the overwhelming proportion of O’Sullivan to any other name; and one curious monument to the east of the church bears an inscription worth recording. This monument is a high, square altar-tomb raised on steps and supported on four carved pillars, the intervening spaces being filled with stone panels. On the east end is the following inscription “I H S This Monument contains the Last Remains of the Late McFININ DUFFE He DEPD THIS LIFE THE 1 DAY of SEPT 1809 aged 58 years Pater Patrie.” This McFinin Duffe was an O’Sullivan, and the last of his line.’

3 comments on “The Last of his Line

  1. Robert Bigger says:

    Perhaps FJB would have described this as a chest tombstone ..

  2. Tom Crane says:


  3. Bob Frewen says:

    The tomb is that of Sylvester O’Sullivan (1756-1809) of Dereen; he died following a fall from his horse while on a visit to a relative in County Limerick. He is said to have been the twenty-first of his line, descended from Finn Dubh, the ruling O’Sullivan Beare c 1350. He was a magistrate for Kerry, assistant agent to the Marquess of Lansdowne and a captain in the militia. The MacFinin’s held a Grand Lease from the Petty Fitzmaurices (Lords Shelburne and later Lansdowne) but this along with other old leases including those of the O’Sullivans of Ardea Castle were overturned in the late 1700’s by Joseph Taylor, agent of Shelburne who wrote ‘ those that remain are of the old Miletian Breed who are full of Law and wrangles. They live in the remotest part of Tuosist, the wildest and most villainous country I ever saw and scarcely worth a contest. Indeed I think it punishment enough to confine them to it forever. It is absolutely nothing but rocks and mountains and only fit to be inhabited by barbarians.”

    See G.J. Lyne, ‘The Mac Finin Duibh O’Sullivans of Tuosist and Beerhaven’ in Kerry Arch. Soc. Jn. (1976), 32-67).

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