Cullinan, Stephen (1918–51), agriculturalist, was born 18 February 1918 at Ballinfoyle, Co. Galway, fourth of eight children of progressive farmers William Cullinan (d. 1937) and Mary Cullinan (née Fahy; d. 1947). After attending the Patrician Brothers’ secondary school at Nun's Island, Galway (1931–7), he graduated B.Agr.Sc. (1941) at UCG and M.Agr.Sc. (1945) at UCD. In September 1941 he took up his first appointment, as a rural science teacher at Athy vocational school, Co. Kildare, and became active in Muintir na Tíre and the local parish guild. Cullinan was deeply interested in improving the lot of the Irish farmer and in March 1944 he co-founded the Athy farmers’ club, of which he became the first honorary secretary.
In the same year he founded the National Young Farmers’ Association, of which he became joint honorary secretary and treasurer. The purpose of the association was to provide young farmers with training to ensure their livelihood and to provide a focus for social activities in rural areas. Cullinan was the key player in the success of the organisation, its driving force and chief policy planner; until July 1947 its headquarters were housed at his flat. In December 1946 the name of the organisation was changed to Macra na Feirme and in September 1947 Athy town hall became the national headquarters. Cullinan served as honorary secretary and treasurer of Macra na Feirme (1947–9). By the early twenty-first century the membership was 8,000 strong across 300 clubs.
In August 1946 Cullinan resigned his teaching post to become technical adviser to Minch Norton & Co. Ltd., maltsters at Athy, and in 1949 moved to Dublin to take up the post of national agricultural adviser to United Potash (Ireland) Ltd. Having regularly contributed articles on agricultural issues to newspapers (especially the Sunday Independent), Cullinan, with the support of Macra na Feirme, launched the Young Farmers’ Journal (renamed the Irish Farmers’ Journal in January 1950) on 1 July 1948, with himself as editor. Dogged by asthma throughout his life, he was hospitalised on several occasions during 1950 and as a consequence had to relinquish his post as editor of the journal. Characteristically he bore his ill health quietly, sustained by a strong religious faith. He died 11 January 1951 at Dublin; at the time of his death he was engaged to be married. He left an estate valued at £1,287. The Stephen Cullinan Scholarship, funded by the Agricultural Trust and the Irish Farmers’ Journal was established in his honour. The scholarship provides for travel to New Zealand coupled with work experience on a New Zealand working farm.