Philip O’Sullivan-Beare

?1590-1660 [in Latin as Philippi OSulleuani Bearri]; nephew of Donall O’Sullivan Beare, b. Dunboy Castle, West Cork; sent to Spain after 1602 to be educated at Santiago de Compostella; served on ships in the Spanish Army; books on St. Patrick, the Elizabethan wars, and the flight of Donall O’Sullivan Beare; he died in Spain;
he issued Historiae Catholicae Inverniae compendium (Lisbon 1621), which was edited by Matthew Kelly, of St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth and reprinted by John O’Daly in Dublin (1850), being a survey of Irish history up to 1588, refuting English writers and treating largely of the religious conflicts of later Elizabethan period;
his Patriciana Decas (1629), a life of St. Patrick in 10 pts., contains a stringent attack on Archbishop Ussher appearing under the abusive name ‘Archicorni-geromastix’ in an appendix; he also composed a work refuting the accounts of Ireland by Giraldus Cambrensis and Richard Stanihurst as Vindiciae Hiberniae Contra Giraldum; or, Zoilomastix, 1626 - the MS of which was traced to Uppsala UL in c.1960. ODNB DIW DIB FDA OCIL

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  • Historiae Catholicae Iberniae compendium (Lisbon: Ulyssipone 1621);
  • Hiberni Vindiciae Hibernicae contra Giraldum Cambrensem et alios vel Zoilomastigis liber primus[,] 2, 3, 4 et 5 et contra Stanihurstum [1626] - see note.
  • Patritiana decas, sive libri decem, quibus de diva patricii vita, rebusque gestis, de religiones Ibernicae casibus, de Anglohaereticae ecclesiae sectis, accurate agitur (Matriti: ex officina Francisci Martinez 1629) [a copy in Marsh’s Library].
  • Historiae Catholiciae Iberniae compendium, Domino Philippo Austiaco, Hispanarum, Indiarum, aliorum regnorum atque multarum ditionum rego catholico monarachaeque potentissimo dicatum a D. Philippo O’Sullevano Bearro, Iberno, cum facultate S Inquisitionis, ordinario et regis (Ulyssipone: excusum à Petro Craskbeeckio [Regio Typographo], anno Domini 1621) [4], 283, [1] lvs. [21cm.]
  • Do., [...] Edidit, notulisque ac indicibus illustravit Matthaeus Kelly, in Collegio S. Patricii apud Maynooth Professor, etc. (Dublinii: apud Jonannem O’Daly, 1850).
Modern editions
  • Ireland under Elizabeth / Chapters Towards a History of Ireland in the Reign of Elizabeth; Being a Portion of the History of Catholic Ireland by Don Philip O’Sullivan Bear, trans. from the original Latin, by Matthew J. Byrne (Dublin: Sealy, Bryers & Walker 1903), xx, xxvii, 212pp., ill. fold. map; 22cm; index to refs. p.[xix]-xx], and Do. [facs. rep.] (NY: Kennikat Press [1970), xxvii, 212pp. [22cm.].
  • Thomas J. O’Donnell, ed., Selections from the Zoilomastix (Dublin: Stationery Office for the Irish Manuscripts Commission 1960), lxviii, 111pp:, ill. [geneal. table; 25cm. - chiefly transcriptions from the photocopy of an MS found in Uppsala - see details].
  • Denis O’Sullivan, ed., The Natural History of Ireland (Cork UP 2009), 296pp. [being Zoilomastix, Bk. I].

[as Philippi OSulleuani Bearri], Hiberni Vindiciae Hibernicae contra Giraldum Cambrensem et alios vel Zoilomastigis liber primus[,] 2, 3, 4 et 5 et contra Stanihurstum [1626] is a MS a copy of which was traced by Thomas O’Donnell to Uppsala University where it was held as MSS (H 248). A photocopy of that manuscript is now held in the UCD Library as MS 2759-62. See O’Donnell’s MA thesis at UCD (NUI), 1941.

See also Aubrey Gwynn, ‘An Unpublished Work of Philip O’Sullivan Bear’, in Analecta Hibernica, No. 6 (Nov. 1934), pp.1-11 - available at JSTOR online [describes a MS work in legible hand of 360 folio in octavo size with marginal corrections in the same autograph hand and only a few pages in fragmentary condition which reached the Library from the collector J. G. Sparwenfeldt toward the end of the 18th c.

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George A Little, Dublin Before the Vikings (1957) writes that Philip O’Sullivan Beare - like Ussher - explains derivation of the term Baile in the place-name Baile Ath Cliath [Gl. Dublin] as oppidum in his History of the Irish Catholics (p.159.)

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Joseph Th. Leerssen, Mere Irish & Fíor Ghael (Amsterdam 1986), Philip O’Sullevan Beare [sic], ed. Spain, and prevented from returning by the defeat at Kinsale; Spanish navy officer; controversial books, incl. Tenebriomastix (now lost), an attack on Dempster; his Zoilomastix attacks Giraldus Cambrensis, Dempster, Camerarius, and Stanyhurst. His Decas Patritiana (1629), in 10 books on St. Patrick, with an appendix attacking Bishop Ussher strongly ad hominem under the name as ‘Archicorni-geromastix’. His Historiae Catholicae Iberniae compendium (1622) argues the strategic importance of Ireland in the fight against heresy: ‘Iberniam esse arcem & propugnaculum, unde Haeretici posent debellari, & alia regna conservari’. The work includes sections praising the civilised Irish character of ‘men of ingenious and liberal disposition, who take honour in the scholarly and military side of their earthly life, who abhor servitude and mechanical labour, who are complaisant, benign, and hospitable to each other, and even more so to strangers, and most friendly ... prodigious physical and intellectual vigour ... patient of heat, thirst, cold, unvanquished in adversity [in all the exigencies of which they display] a proud and unbroken mien [and unfailing] good cheer.’

Joseph Th. Leerssen, Mere Irish & Fíor Ghael (Amsterdam 1986) - cont.: ,Leerssen indicates that O’Sullevan Beare establishes the exclusive reliance on Gaelic pedigree as the criterion of trustworthiness in the struggle against the English crown. The class whom he calls ‘Iberni Ibernici’ as distinct from the ‘Iberni Anglici’ or ‘novi Iberni’ or ‘Anglo-Ibernes’. O’Sullevan Beare’s book concentrated on the lineage of the Gaels as stemming from Míl, the eponym of the Milesians [Míl Espaine]. (Leerssen, p.314-15]. Cites Philip O’Sullevan [sic] Beare, Historiae Catholicae Iberniae compendium (Lisbon: Ulyssipone 1621); Patritiana decas, sive libri decem, quibus de diva patricii vita, rebusque gestis, de religiones Ibernicae casibus, de Anglohaereticae ecclesiae sectis, accurate agitur (Matriti 1629).

Joseph Th. Leerssen, Mere Irish & Fíor Ghael (Amsterdam 1986) - cont.: Henry Fitzsimon’s Catalogus aliquorum (or praecipuorum) sanctorum Hiberniae (Douai 1615; rep Liège and Antwerp 1619), reappeared as a contribution to O’Sullevan Beare’s Compendium of 1621 ... [304-05]; tendency to equate a defence of Ireland’s moral and cultural reputation with a defence of the excellence of the Gaelic character ... Zoilomastix [not cited in gen. bibl.] castigated Dempster, Camerarius, and Stanyhurst. O’Sullevan Beare contributed a life of St Mochudda to Colgan’s Act sanctorum (p.47); issued Decas Patritiana, 10 vols. (1929), with vehement appendix attacking James Ussher, Archb. of Armagh, whom he calls bearish, punning on ursus; apart from characteristically sanguine attacks, he attempts to represent the bardic, Milesian view of Irish antiquity (fol. 2v.ff.), the high civilisation attained by the ancient Gaels (fol. 14r.) and the strategic importance of the Irish (as above; fol. 10r.) &c [312-15]; attacked Giraldus in context of broader apology for Ireland [320]; castigated with others by Anglo-Irish colonialist propagandist Sir Richard Cox [366]. And note that Zoilomastix [err. Zoilimastic?] does not feature in the general bibliography of Leerssen’s book, while citations in the text imply that the MS has been read in folio.

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Seamus Deane
, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 1, calls him one of the refuters of Cambrensis [237]; cited by Luke Wadding in his Annales Ordinis Minorumi, trans Andrew Smith (UCD), under remarks on Florence Conry, as having written down in his Compendium of the History of Ireland, Pt. 4, Bk. 12, Chap. 9, being ‘an extended letter against those men who proposed in the Irish Parliament an act to confiscate the property of certain prominent catholics who had fought for the catholic faith against the heretical English’ [263]; Biography and criticism as supra.

Muriel McCarthy, ed., Hibernia Resurgens [Catalogue of Marsh’s Library Exhibition] (Dublin: Marsh’s Library 1994)

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Dendrology: Philip O’Sullivan Beare is credited with the earliest treatise on Irish trees, written 1624 or 1626. See W. Charles Nelson & Wendy W. Nash, Trees of Ireland, Native and Naturalised (Lilliput 1993?).

Walter Harris: ‘At length came Philip O’Sullivan, who made Joceline his ground-work, yet far exceeded him, and seemed fully determined no future writer should be ever able to surpass him in relating the number and magnitude of St. Patrick’s miracles.’ [See Anon [Patrick Lynch], Life of St. Patrick, Dublin [for Maynooth]: Fitzpatrick 1810, p.13]

Douglas Hyde: Hyde’s library contained a copy of Historiae Catholiciae Iberniae compendium, ed. by Matthew Kelly [Maynooth] (Dublin: John O’Daly 1850). See Dominic Daly, The Young Douglas Hyde (1974) - appendix.

Denis O’Sullivan, translator of Zoilimastix as The Natural History of Ireland (2009) is was a consultant urologist at Cork University Hospital and the Bon Secours Hospital in Cork and a lecturer in urology at Cork University Hospital. He graduated in Ancient Classics from University College Cork.

Portraits: There is an oil portrait, 16 cm by 98 cm dated 1613 (aetat 53), O Sullivano Bearrus Bearrae et Bantriae Comes Aetatis Sui LIII Christo Vero Domini MDCXIII Anno, held in St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Co. Kildare.

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