Ó Seachnasaigh

Rev Patrick Woulfe

Ó SEACHNASAIGH—I—O'Shaughnessy, O'Shoughnessy, O'Shannessy, O'Shanesy, Shaughnessy, Shannessy, &c.; 'descendant of Seachnasach'; the name of a branch of the Ui Fiachrach Aidhne, in Co. Galway. On the decline of the kindred family of O'Cahill in the 13th century, the O'Shaughnessys became chiefs of Cinel Aodha, anglicised Kinelea, the district lying around the town of Gort; but they are only rarely mentioned in the Irish annals before the reign of Henry VIII. In 1533, Dermot O'Shaughnessy, the then 'chief of his nation,' was knighted, and ten years later he surrendered all the clan-lands to the crown in order to receive them back by letters-patent. During the next two centuries the O'Shaughnessy were one of the most celebrated families in Ireland. Sir Dermot O'Shaughnessy, the fourth in descent from Sir Dermot of the time of Henry VIII, joined the Confederation of Kilkenny and lost his estates in the Cromwellian confiscations, but received back 2,000 acres at the Restoration. This was again forfeited in 1697, and Colonel William O'Shaughnessy, the last chief of the name in the direct line, died in exile in France in 1744. O'Donovan was of opinion that the O'Shaughnessys of Co. Limerick are descended from Lieut.-Colonel William O'Shaughnessy, the uncle of Sir Dermot of the Cromwellian and Restoration period; but this is unlikely, as the O'Shaughnessys were settled at Dromard, near Rathkeale, before the year 1600.

Alphabetical Index to Irish Surnames