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Surname O'Shea - Meaning and Origin

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O'Shea: What does the surname O'Shea mean?

The Irish surname O'Shea, also seen in its anglicized form as Shea, is a derivative of the Gaelic name "O’Siodhachain" which in turn stems from the ancient Irish personal name "Siodhachan". The name translates to "peaceful" or "harmonious one".

The name is thought to have originated in County Kerry during the 5th century where the Celtic inhabitants were known as the Ciarraige. Descendants of the chiefs of this powerful family may be found throughout the world and in Ireland’s Barony of Magunihy, County Kerry.

The root O’Shea entered wider circulation when the Norman invasions of 1169-71 and the subsequent movement of people to new regions brought the name to other parts of the country.

The O’Sheas and their descendents have a strong association with politics, particularly Irish nationalism, and include well-known figures such as First Minister of Northern Ireland, John O’Shea, and Senator Edward Shea, who served as leader of the opposition in the Irish Senate during the early 20th century.

Today, the O’Shea name continues to be carried around the globe by people of Irish descent in many countries, proudly showcasing their rich heritage and honoring their proud ancestral roots.

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O'Shea: Where does the name O'Shea come from?

The last name O'Shea is most commonly found in Ireland today. O'Shea is an anglicised form of the Gaelic surname "Ó Sé", and may be found in various spellings, including Shea, O'Shay, and O'Shee. The anglicised versions of these Gaelic names are still most common in Ireland with a statistical concentration of O'Shea's found in County Kerry, and the surrounding area in the South West.

The name ranks 24th in popularity in Ireland and can also be found in smaller numbers in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. O'Shea family members that have left Ireland have maintained the name in various regions, particularly in the English-speaking countries of Scotland, New Zealand, and Australia. Records indicate that the majority of people in Scotland with the O'Shea surname are descended from Irish immigrants.

It is estimated that over 100,000 people throughout the world share the O'Shea name. For this reason, those who have the O'Shea surname can still find other family members around the world, but they have the best chances of finding extended family within the Irish community.

Variations of the surname O'Shea

The surname O'Shea has numerous variants, spellings and surnames of the same origin, which are all derived from the ancient Irish name O'Seaghdha. This surname is found primarily in the province of Munster, and emerges from the Gaelic phrase "O'Seaghdha", meaning "descendant of Seaghdha".

The most commonly used contemporary spellings are O'Shea, Shea, Shee, O'Shee and Sheehy. Other spellings, which may occasionally occur, include O'Sheagh, Sheagh, Shear, Sheers, Sheerin, Sheerins, O'Sheerin, O'Shaughnessy, O'Shaughessey, O'Shaughnessy and O'Shaghessey.

In some cases, where the original name has been Anglicized, variants and spellings may also include Se day, Sheahy, Seadacy, Seadhry, Seady, Seaday, Seadaye, Seagrod, Seagh, Seage, Seagha, Seagar, Seager, Seaga, Seagrane and Seeds.

In fact, O'Seaghdha has been the source of many distinct surnames, which now form their own separate branches. These include: O'Conaire, O'Daly, O'Donnell, O'Faelain, O'Hickey, O'Hea, O'Kelly, O'Lochlainn, O'Longain, O'Loughman, O'Maley, O'Morchoe, O'Neill, O'Se, O'Shove, O'Stafford, and other names such as O'Cahill, O'Carroll, O'Casey, O'Connor and O'Doherty.

So, if you are looking for a family member who has the surname O'Shea, it is important to know that multiple variants and spellings could be used in order to locate them.

Famous people with the name O'Shea

  • Michael O'Shea: a Canadian actor and former Baltimore Ravens head coach.
  • Robert O'Shea: American actor, best known for his roles in The Purge series.
  • Jeffrey O'Shea: American actor, best known for appearances in ER and Law & Order.
  • Pat O'Shea: Irish writer and one of the leading members of the Irish literary revival of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
  • Kieran O'Shea: Irish footballer who represented club and country, most notably Manchester City and the Republic of Ireland.
  • John O'Shea: an Irish writer, television presenter and film maker.
  • Basil O'Shea: Irish actor and writer who appeared in a number of British and Irish films.
  • Seán O'Shea: an Irish actor, best known for his roles in Fair City and Love/Hate.
  • Eileen O'Shea: an Australian audio producer, radio host, and singer-songwriter.
  • Tim O'Shea: an American professor of mathematics, former college basketball coach, and author.

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