Ó Cuiv, Shan (1875–1940), journalist and writer, was born in Macroom, Co. Cork, as John Michael O'Keefe, son of John O'Keefe, tanner, and Margaret O'Keefe (née Duggan), both of Macroom. He attended schools in Macroom and Dunmanway but the major event of his formative years was joining the Gaelic League in 1897. The following year he moved to Cork city and worked for the Cork Herald before moving to Dublin (November 1902), where he wrote for the Evening Telegraph, becoming chief sub-editor, and the Freeman's Journal. From 1926 he worked for the Irish Independent and in 1931 became that paper's Irish editor. In 1934 he became the first director of the Government Information Bureau.
His membership of the Gaelic League remained central to his life, and in May 1901 he was one of the four people who founded the organisation's Keating branch in Dublin. He worked unceasingly to make Irish more accessible to the broadest possible range of people and combined with Osborn Bergin (qv) and Dr Risteard Ó Dálaigh (d. 1930) to produce Irish made easy (1907), which greatly simplified the spelling of Irish words. An excellent teacher with a deep interest in developing advanced methods of teaching Irish, he taught at a number of schools including the Dublin College of Modern Irish. He also edited Glór na Ly in 1911–12, Irish Opinion in 1916, and the Gaelic League's paper, Fáinne an Lae, in 1926.
Among his many publications of plays, stories, and school textbooks in both Irish and English were An comhgar (1917), Fiche duan (1917), Cúirt na dála (1918), The sounds of Irish (1921), Fuaimeanna agus blas na Gaedhilge (1922), The short cut to Irish (1927–9), An dord féinne (1928), Niamh Chinn Óirr (1928), Dhá sgéilín (1929), Domhnall donn agus sgéilíní; eile (1929), Sgéalta ón radio (1931), and An eochair chun labharta na Gaedhilge (1932). He also published an edition of Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoighaire (1908). He died on 13 August 1940.
He married (September 1905) Hannah O'Keeffe (d. 1939) of Macroom; they had three sons – including Aindrias Ó Caoimh (qv), who became attorney general, and Brian Ó Cuiv (qv), Celtic scholar – and three daughters.