Kerryman Eugene O'Sullivan shows no signs of slowing down
Editor's note: Throughout July, we'll be celebrating the O'Sullivan family on IrishCentral and the many great people who share the Irish last name. Throughout the month, we'll be looking at some of the most successful O'Sullivans/Sullivans and the places in Ireland you should visit associated with the surname.
Full disclosure: as if my name itself isn’t a dead giveaway, I have strong Irish roots in Co Kerry. My dad was born and raised in the Black Valley before he emigrated to and settled in the U.S. in the early 80s.
As a child, I spent many summers running around his old farmstead outside of Kenmare on the Ring of Kerry. Growing up stateside in New Jersey, there were cultural differences aplenty during our family vacations to the Kingdom. And, of course, no shortage of characters.
One of those characters is my great-uncle Eugene O’Sullivan, a certain relic of a bygone era who still bicycles to work, steers clear of booze and cigarettes, and has only driven a car once.
In 2015, Uncle Euge found a bit of Facebook fame when he celebrated his 90th birthday at the Kenmare Co-op Mart, where he’s worked most of his life. A cake was rolled out while family and friends celebrated the milestone alongside him.
People around the world were enamored with his lively and colorful Kerry accent and personality.
Fast forward to 2018 and 93-year-old Eugene O’Sullivan has shown no signs of slowing down. Considered Ireland’s oldest wool packer, Eugene still bikes to work every day, sometimes working alongside men a quarter his age.
“He’s a great man for a day’s work. He never worries about starting or finishing time,” said Dan McCarthy of working alongside O’Sullivan. Video taken at a farm in the Gowlane area of Kenmare in Co Kerry shows O’Sullivan rolling up his sleeves and getting to work.
Of course, most of O’Sullivan’s charm is not from his work ethic, but instead his rambunctious ramblings, all to the tune of the distinct Kerry accent. I’d like to see closed-captions try to capture his thoughts!
Check out 93-year-old Eugene O’Sullivan packing wool here! Can you catch what he’s saying?