The O’Shea (also Shea) surname is found extensively in Co. Kerry and people bearing this surname have been living there for over 1,000 years. A separate smaller group of people bearing the O’Shea surname is found in NW Co. Cork and people with the O’Shea surname may have been there for at least four hundred years. A third disparate group is found in counties Tipperary and Kilkenny and people with the surname O’Shea (also Shee) have lived in these counties for over six hundred years. Our O’Shea yDNA Project has shown that these clusters of O’Sheas have a completely different origin to each other.
Migrations from these counties causes the surname to be found in many other counties in Ireland. Emigration from Ireland means the surname occurs world-wide. Irish surnames are patrilinially inherited and the O’Shea yDNA Project has shown that the separate O’Shea groups, mentioned above, are not connected within thousands of years.
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