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Irish Surname - Shea / O'Shea

In modern Irish this surname is usually O'Sé and the anglicised version is O'Shea or Shea. The name is derived from the Gaelic word 'séaghdha' which means hawklike or stately.

The O'Sheas were primarily a Kerry sept and their power base was the Iveragh peninsula in County Kerry. The surname is still found extensively in that county. In the late 13th or early 14th century a branch of the family moved to Kilkenny, where they became one of the only Gaelic-Irish names among the ten 'Tribes of Kilkenny'. The surname is more likely to be O'Shee or O'Shee in that area today. Other families bearing the surname can be found in north-west Cork and in Tipperary.

Famous People with the Shea / O'Shea Surname

Dáithí Ó Sé, born June 2, 1976 in Dingle, County Kerry, is an Irish television presenter. He is a native Irish speaker and qualified as a secondary school teacher before beginning a career in broadcasting with TG4 in 1999. His television career began on a part-time basis as a continuity announcer and weather presenter with the Irish language station and he subsequently joined RTE where he has presented a variety of programmes including the Rose of Tralee since 2010. He is married to the 2008 New Jersey Rose of Tralee, Rita Talty.

Páidí Ó Sé, (May 16, 1955 - Dec 15, 2012) was a famous Gaelic footballer born in Ventry, County Kerry. He made his first senior appearance for Kerry in the 1974-75 National League. He played as a right half-back and captained the Kerry team to All-Ireland victory in 1985. He continued to be a regular member of the county panel until his retirement after the 1987 championship. During that time he won 8 All-Ireland medals, 11 Munster medals, 4 National League medals and 5 All-Star awards. After his playing career he involved himself heavily in coaching and management. He guided Kerry to 2 All-Ireland titles in 1997 and 2000. He also managed Clare and Westmeath, bringing the latter to the 2004 Leinster Senior Football Championship Final, which they then won.

Milo O'Shea (1926 - 2013), Irish Tony Award nominated character actor was born in Dublin. Educated at Synge Street Christian Brothers school, he appeared in his first feature film, Contraband when he was 14. He went on to showcase his talents in a variety of roles on stage, television and the big screen. He played Leopold Bloom in the 1967 film version of James Joyce's Ulysses, Friar Laurence in Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo And Juliet, and Dr Durand Durand in Roger Vadim's cult classic Barbarella. He played the priest in Neil Jordan's The Butcher Boy, and the judge in The Verdict opposite Paul Newman. Milo O'Shea appeared in a host of TV shows including Cheers, Frasier, The Golden Girls and The West Wing and also enjoyed a serious reputation as a Broadway actor.

Surname Variations for Shea

O'Shee, McShea, McShee

Please Note

There is often limited information available on a specific coat of arms and motto for an Irish surname. Sometimes there are many variations, sometimes none, we have compiled a representative, but by no means exhaustive, selection. Please visit our Coat of Arms and Motto page for more information.

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