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Cinel Aodh - The O'Shaughnessy Society



Meaning of the Coat of Arms: The following description, or in heraldic terms blazon, of the arms of O'Shaughnessy is from the records of the Chief Herald of Ireland and relates specifically to the Arms of Sir Roger O'Shaughnessy, who died about 1650. Modern Irish custom permits family members to use these arms to show their connection with the ancient family of Gort-inse-Guaire. Likewise the O'Shaughnessy Society has adopted these arms to show the same connection.
Arms: Vert, a tower triple towered argent, supported by two lions rampant combant or.
Crest: An arm embowed, the hand grasping a spear point downwards, all proper
Motto: Fortis et Stabilis (Strength and Stability)
History of the Name: The family has genealogical roots which stretch back to the dawn of history. They were a prominent sept or family group of the Southern Úi Fiachra. In Gaelic they were Cinel Aodh na Echthge (Hugh's People from the Aughties). Some notable personalities in the O'Shaughnessy genealogy are: Fiachra, son of Eochaidh, High King of Ireland in AD 358, who claimed descent from Heremon, son of Milesius, Diathi, the last pagan High King of Ireland, a figure at the Eugopean level; Guaire the Hospitable, King of Connacht in the 7th centurey; Saint Colman MacDuagh, founder and patron of Kilmacduagh, monastery and diocese. The surname O'Shaughnessy came into being in the 13th century at the same time as the O'Shaughnessys were becoming the dominant family in the Úi Fiachra Aidhne area, that is the southern part of the County of Galway, centered on Gort-inse-Guaire (the field of the island of Guaire)- the modern town of Gort. In 1585 an English survey refers to O'Shaughnessy's Country. In effect the chief of Cinel Aodh (Kinelea) held sway in Úi Fiachra Aidhne, which formed a buffer zone between the powerful Anglo-Norman Clanrickard Burkes to the north and the Gaelic O'Briens of Thomond in the south. The O'Shaughnessys formed marriage alliances with these and other major families, both Gaelic and Anglo-Norman. In the 17th Ccentury, the O'Shaughnessys were active at the national level: in opposing the plantation of Connaught, membership in the Catholic Confederacy (Confederation of Kilkenny), opposition to Cromwell and later William of Orange. With the failure of the Jacobite cause (1691) and following the Treaty of Limerick the then O'Shaughnessy forfeited his lands and the fortunes of the family went into decline. An exodus of O'Shaughnessys from the Gort area took place around this time. Many went to County Limerick where the greatest concentration of the name exists today. Later, from Galway, Limerick and Clare, many went to find fame and fortune in England, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and other places. The story of these O'Shaughnessys is no less interesting than that of the O'Shaughnessys of old, who like Daithi and Guaire were renowned for their valour and their hospitality. A learned author of the 18th century, writing in Latin, says (translation): "Little must he know of Ireland who hath not heard of the antiquity, grandeur, and loyalty of this great family."
Meaning of the Name:
About the Clan: The O'Shaughnessy Society was founded in 1988 in Gort, Co. Galway. It is a non-profit organisation. It provides a structure and focus for the efforts and interest of those family members and others who over many decades have been exploring, researching, recalling, recording and celebrating the history of the family in Ireland and abroad. The objectives of the Society are as follows:
  • Genealogical/historical-providing an understanding of his/her historical origins to any person of the name and guidance and input to genealogical research. Undertaking and communicating family history and genealogical research.
  • Social - providing opportuniteis of meeting others of the same name.
  • Conservationist- the marking, maintenance, reinstatement and presentation of O'Shaughnessy artifacts as well as seeking, encouraging and supporting such activities.


  • Since 1990 the Society has issued a Newsletter. Originally issued annually, the current policy is twice yearly. Family rallies have been held every second year since 1990. The Society brought out an audio tape entitled The O'Shaughnessy Story, by Tom Hannon in 1993; John PM Feheney's book, The Munster OShaughnessys, was published in 1996. A list of printed sources on the history of the family is also available.

    The Society while primarily based in Ireland has a regional structure with counsellors or organizers in Australia, Britain, Canada and the USA.

    The Society is registered with The Clans of Ireland Office (Charity No. 11585), and is associated with Gort Heritage Trust.

    Membership is open to all with O'Shaughnessy ancestry and to those with an interest in the history of the family and is thus not confined solely to those of the name or its variants.

    Applications for membership and enquiries concerning the Family Rally and other matters should be addressed to the Society's Honorary Treasurer as follows: Please enclose two international reply coupons.

    Contact information:
    Contact person: Desmond O'Shaughnessy
    Phone:+44-1-846-651798
    Address: 6 Whitehall Road, Aghagallon, LURGAN, Co. Armagh, BT67 OAE, Northern Ireland
    E-mail:dkos@utvinternet.com

    Additional Websites: O-shaughnessy.com or try the alternate url: http://home.wowway.com/~shonsey/

    Information courtesy of The O'Shaughnessy Society

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