This little Irish grandmother had a huge impact on Joan’s career trajectory.

The Imprint

Siobhan Publishing, LLC is Joan Sullivan Garrett’s imprint for the personal works in her family library such as ancestry and legacy books, children’s books, and the biography One Life Lost, Millions Gained. The name “Siobhan” (“Shi” with a soft “ih” and “bhan” as in “vawn”) is inspired by Joan’s Irish roots. Indeed, Joan’s DNA indicates that she is 100% Celtic, with Irish dominating and a smidge of Scottish.

Joan is third generation Irish and credits her grandmother, Mary Sullivan Dunn, as the support system who encouraged Joan to become a nurse. As a matter of fact, Joan is a third generation nurse as well! The Irish component in Joan’s life is so significant that she devotes an entire chapter to her Irish family tree and the adventures of her great-grandfather Timothy Sullivan and great-grandmother Kate Burke, both from County Cork.

She named her houseboat “Siobhan” and her Labrador retrievers have Irish names. An avid gardener, she grows potatoes in her grandmother’s honor. Obviously, Joan’s ancestry and lineage is a great source of pride.



Excerpts from the special chapter: My Bold Irish Roots

With large broods and many mouths to feed, the famine undoubtedly impacted every Irish branch on my family tree, Timothy and Kate’s most certainly. The aftereffects were still evident as they grew up, and this horrible, heartbreaking period is also known as “The Great Hunger,” a phrase almost too unbearable to process. It claimed one million Irish lives due to starvation and disease, with another million fleeing the country to North America, the UK, and Scotland. We are still trying to decipher how and why Timothy and Kate’s family managed to dodge annihilation when so many perished — but survive, they did.

Carl Wittke, an ethnic historian born in 1892, wrote an interesting observation about the attributes of my ancestors:


“The so-called Irish temperament is a mixture of flaming ego, hot temper, stubbornness, great personal charm and warmth, and a wit that shines through adversity. An irrepressible buoyancy, a vivacious spirit, a kindliness and tolerance for the common frailties of man and a feeling that ‘it is time enough to bid the devil good morning when you meet him’ are character traits which North Americans have associated with their Irish neighbors for more than a century.”                                                                       


(Carl Frederick Wittke. The Irish in America. Louisiana State University Press, 1956.