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Origin: Irish
Spelling variations include: Fitzpatrick, Fitzpatricks, Kilpatrick, MacSeartha, Shera, Sherar and many more. First found in Ossory, where one of the earliest ancestors was Giolla Padraig, a powerful chief. Some of the first settlers of this name or some of its variants were: John and Edward Fitzpatrick who landed in Virginia in 1774; William Fitzpatrick settled in New York in 1817; Betty Fitzpatrick settled in Charlestown Mass. in 1803; Biddy Fitzpatrick settled in Canada in 1840; Alex and others.

Coat of Arms: A black shield with a silver saltire, a blue chief with three gold fleur de lis.
Crest: A green dragon reguardant, surmounted of a black lion guardant with his dexter paw resting on the dragon's tail.
Motto: The Brave May Yield to the Brave


Coat of Arms and Family Crest of the Sharar Family




Fitzpatrick - This name was originally Mac Giolla Padraig, meaning a descendant of a devotee of St. Patrick.  In later years the Mac prefix was changed to the Norman "Fitz". The prefixes of "O'", "Mc", and "Mac" are common in Irish surnames.  These are all references to ancestry.

Mac is the Gaelic word for son.  It is now often abbreviated to "Mc", but originally it was the longer word and normally followed by a space and

then the surname.  There is a tradition that Mac is Irish and Mc is Scottish, but this is false.  Both variations are in wide use in both countries.

O is really a word all by itself, it means "grandson".  Only in recent years has it been attached to the surname with an apostrophe.

In ancient Ireland, there were no fixed surnames.  A man was known as the "son of" his father's first name.  Occasionally a man would be known

by his grandfather's name (by the word O) if his grandfather was especially noteworthy.  Around the twelfth century, most all of Europe and England adopted standardized surnames.  Irish families did the same.

The other distinctively Irish prefix is “Fitz”, as in Fitzgerald or FitzAlan. This is a Norman French prefix, brought to Ireland by the Normans who previously had lived in England.  It is derived from the French word fils, meaning "son of".  Therefore, Fitz and Mac mean about the same and were interchangeable at one time.

i.e.: Kennedy - O Cinneide, descendant of Cinneide (ceann means "head", eidigh means "ugly")


Fitzpatrick is the only surname with the prefix “Fitz” that is of native Irish origin, the other “Fitz”s being Norman. The Fitzpatricks are Macgilpatricks - Mac Giolla Phadraig in Irish, meaning son of the servant or devotee of St. Patrick. In sixteenth and even seventeenth century records they are usually called MacGilpatrick or MacKilpatrick; and in some places they still are; other variants being McIlpatrick, Kilpatrick, etc., the latter is common in Ulster, where, it is usually of Scottish origin. Their eponymous ancestor was Giolla Padraig, a warlike chief in Ossory who lived in the second half of the tenth century. Branches of the sept are now found in many parts of Ireland.

Nearly ten thousand persons of the name are estimated to be in Ireland today, widely distributed, Leix (alias Queen's Co.) having the greatest number. The head of the most important family was during the Gaelic period known as Lord of Upper Ossory, at one time almost a royal ruler over counties Leix and Kilkenny. Their power was much reduced by the rise of the Ormond Butlers, but they were one of the first of the great Irish septs to submit to Henry VIII and one Sir Barnaby Fitzpatrick was knighted in 1568.

They lost considerably through their loyalty to James II. Nevertheless the head of the family received a peerage in 1714 and in 1878 his descendants are recorded as possessing no less than twenty-two thousand acres of the best land in Ossory. One branch of the Fitzpatricks of Ossory assumed the surname MacSeartha, or Shera in English, taken from an ancestor whose christian name that was. Many variants of the name, in addition to those given above, are recorded in the modern birth registers, not only more or less obvious abbreviations like Fitz, Fitch and Patrick, but even Parrican, Parogan and Patchy!

Brian Fitzpatrick (1585-1652), Vicar Apostolic of Ossory, who was murdered by Cromwellian soldiers, was instrumental in saving the "Book of the O'Byrnes", which he transcribed, from destruction. In modern times, apart from the Earls of Upper Ossory, several Fitzpatricks were prominent in politics, two in the English interest and another Patrick Vincent Fitzpatrick (1792-1865) was one of Daniel O'Connell's most trusted colleagues. Also worthy of mention are William John Fitzpatrick (1830-18958), the biographer, and Thomas Fitzpatrick (1832-1900), an eminent physician.


Donal Gěolla Phŕdraig (d. 1087), from whom the family derived their name, was the famed warrior son of Donnchadh, King of Ossory (present day Kilkenny and adjacent areas) in the 11th century. His descendants are now found in all provinces of Ireland, Laois having the largest number. By far the most important branch of the sept was and still is, the family whose Chief was known as Lord of Upper Ossory.  At one time he was almost royal ruler over Laois and neighboring Kilkenny. Following the Anglo-Norman invasion in the late 12th century, their power was vastly diminished by the ascendancy of the Ormond Butlers and other English settlers. Although their patrimony was restricted to Upper Ossory barony, the Fitzpatricks were by no means dispossessed of all their property. They were one of the original great Irish families to submit to Henry VIII, and as a result, in 1541, Brian, the first to assume the surname Fitzpatrick in place of Mac Gěolla Phŕdraig, was created Lord Baron of Upper Ossory in the 17th century, the Fitzpatricks lost considerable territory through their staunch support of James II. Nevertheless, the head of the sept received a peerage in 1714 and 1878 records show that the family owned no less than 22,000 acres of the finest land in Ossory. One of the best known of the surname was Brian Fitzpatrick (1585-1652), Vicar Apostolic of Ossory, murdered by Cromwellian soldiers. He was instrumental in saving the “Book of the O’Byrne,” which he transcribed, from destruction. Apart from the Earls of Ossory, the most noteworthy in modern times was Patrick Fitzpatrick (1792-1865), trusted colleague of Daniel O’Connell.


I will pass now to another class of Mac surnames that is of considerable interest. This is the assumption by Norman families of surnames of a Gaelic type and the formation under those designations of what practically amount to septs or sub-septs on the Gaelic model. The majority of these, such as MacSherone ex Prendergast and MacRuddery ex Fitzsimon, are nearly extinct today, as are the various offshoots of the Burkes, though no doubt some of their descendants did revert to their original surnames. Berminghams, however, survive under the name of MacCorish or Corish, Fitzpatrick TartanStauntons as MacEvilly, Archdeacons as MacOda or Coady and Nangies as Costello (formerly MacCostello). Woulfe says that the latter was the first Norman Mac name. Not all such Norman name assumptions retained a Gaelic form, for d'Exeter, first gaelicized as MacSiurtain, eventually became Jordan (now a common name in the West) and the Jenningses, formerly MacSeoinin, were originally Burkes.

This practice of forming sub-septs was not confined to Norman families. Among the offshoots of O'Brien were MacConsidine and MacLysaght. MacShane stemmed from O'Neill: in due course this was turned by translation into Johnson and as such is found in that numerous class of concealed Gaelic surnames. So the name MacShera, now rare, was adopted by some of the Fitzpatricks. MacSherry (whence the place name Courtmacsherry) on the other hand was a Gaelic patronymic assumed by the English family Hodnett. MacSherry, it should be noted, is also an indigenous Gaelic surname in Breffny.

Fitzpatrick, which up to the seventeenth century was MacGilpatrick, is in a class by itself, being the only Fitz name which is Gaelic: otherwise Fitz (from French fils) also denotes a Norman origin. It is possible, however, that some of the Fitzhenrys may originally have been MacEnery.


The surnames Schir(r)a, Sheera, Sher(r)a, Shirra, etc. are probably so intermixed that it is now impossible to separate them unless the nationality of the owner is known.

   The German spelling Schirra is usually the Low German and Flemish forms of the Old German given name Garard (lance-hard, strong).

   The Irish surname MacShira or MacSheera (son of Seartha) lost the prefix Mac (son of) during the 17th and 18th centuries and mostly became Sheera and Shirra. The leading family in Ossory were originally known as Fitzpatricks (son of Patrick) assumed the surname MacSeartha from an ancestor whose given name was Seartha, the Old Irish form of the Old French personal name Jefrois which, in turn, could have come from one or more Old German names. There is also an Irish surname spelled Sherra that is said to be a shortened form of the English surname Sherrard, Sherred or Sheered that is from the Old English personal name SCIREHEARD (bright-hard).

   The Scottish surnmes Shirra(s), and Shirres are anglicized forms of the Gaelic word SIORRA (sherriff). In Aberdeen, Gausfridus Scheres was on an inquest in 1431, Coppin Scheres was a notary there in 1525, Andrew Schiras was a burgess there in 1591 and John Scheras was a judge there the same year.

   The English surnames Shearer, Sheara, Sherer, Shirer, Sharer, etc. denote men who removed excess nap from cloth by shearing. Other English surnames spelled Sheer(e), Sheeres, Shere, Sher(r), etc. are generally from the Old English word SCAERE (fair, bright).





Seal, Crest and Symbols of Cianachta (Clan Cian)

The Cianachta-or-Clan Cian

Cianachta or Clan Cian, is one of the ancient to modern, recognized Clans in Ireland. Dating from the 200's A.D.  It is dedicated to the preservation of the Eile O'Carroll Territory or Carroll Kingdom of Eile O'Carroll's History. Representing Carroll~O'Carrolls, inclusive of all the related, Family Septs, Dependent Family Septs of Eile O'Carroll and other Parts of Ireland, and Worldwide. 
The Name, Cianachta in Irish, means the Race of Cian, and so-called, Clan Cian in English.  In Ireland the term "Clan" refers to the people of an area, whereas in Scotland a "Clan" is more composed of family. In ancient Ireland, the old kingdom in which the Cianachts inhabited included many family surnames. Of those families, the powerful Carrolls were overlords, or kings. Today, the descendants of those kings are called Chiefs. A few of the other families that resided within the kingdom of the Carrolls were the O'Carrolls, O'Meaghers, O'Caseys, O'Haras, and O'Garas. All of these family surnames, and related septs, are members of the Clan of Cian, or Cianachts:


Dependent Septs in Eile' O'Carroll Districts

Ballybritt, Borriso Leigh, Clonisk, Eliogarty, Ikerrin,
Lower Ormond, Upper Ormond, Owney and Arra

Fitzpatrick of Ossory, King-Lord-Chief-Earl

Kilkenny, Leix (also see O'Carroll of Ossory)


The following Surnames are Associated
to Clan Cian by our Re-Formation and
Incorporation with the O'Carroll of Eile.


O'Carroll of Ossory, King and Lord, (also see Fitzpatrick of Ossory)




North Ossory (Earlier) North Eile'

MacGilpatrick, King of Ossory, Lord, Chief

Leix, and Kilkenny



branch of Fitzpatrick


MacShera and Sheera

branch of Fitzpatrick




Map of Ireland, and closeup of Leix, Kilkenny, and Wexford


Irish National Flag


The national flag of Ireland: green, white and orange.



The following is the text of Article 7 of the Constitution of Ireland:

The national flag is the tricolour of green, white and orange. The flag is divided into three equal stripes and its width is equal to twice its height. It is used as the civil and state flag and as the civil and naval ensign.



The green stripe represents those of native Irish descent, the orange stripe represents the descendants of 17th-century British colonists (a group which supported William of Orange in the War of the Two Kings, 1689-91) and the white stripe represents the hope for peace between the two groups.



Thomas Francis Meagher, a leader of the Young Ireland movement, presented the Tricolour to the public for the first time at a meeting held in Waterford city on 7 March 1848. A month later, he spoke as follows when presenting the flag to the people of Dublin at another meeting:

The white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between the 'Orange' and the 'Green', and I trust that beneath its folds the hands of the Irish Protestant and the Irish Catholic may be clasped in generous and heroic brotherhood.

The Green Flag was used by the contemporary supporters of Daniel O'Connell, but the Young Irelanders were republicans and required a distinctive emblem which would clearly express their republicanism: the design of the new flag was modeled on that of the French Republic.


The flag of Kilkenny, black and burnt-orange.      The flag of Munster, blue with three crowns.


Flags of Kilkenny and Munster






Clan Cian Tartan



Tartan pattern of Clan Cian, #89003.




The Clan Cian Tartan was designed in 1983, and registered with the Scottish Tartans Society of Scotland. It was further posted with the Chief Herald of Ireland as a certified tartan for use by the Clan Cian-O'Carroll (Ciannachta) of ancient Ormond and the Eile O'Carroll Territory. Other related clans with different family names are also authorized to use the tartan, such as those of the Dal gCas (Dalcassians) of Thomond and the Eugenians (Eoghanachta) of Desmond. The tartan is registered under #89003. The Clan Cian Tartan was also registered in the United States with the Tartan Educational and Cultural Association (TECA) under certificate number 5-1489.

By charter of agreement this tartan is to be used universally by the Dalcassian, Ciannacht, and Eoghanacht family septs, as well as the dependent and related septs of the Province of Munster and other parts of Ireland. If you have the blood of any of these clans in you, you are authorized to wear the Tartan.

The coats of arms of Munster are three gold ancient coronets, two over one in a field of blue representing the three kingdoms of Munster. These were Desmond, Thomond, and ancient Ormond or the Kingdom of Eile. The traditional colors for the Irish Republic were green with a gold harp, but that was later changed to blue with a gold harp.

The Clan Cian Tartan includes the primary colors of the traditional coats-of-arms of the ruling families of these kingdoms. They are the descendants of the three surviving sons of the 3rd century King of Munster, Olliol Ollum. From the senior son, Eoghan Mor II, are the MacCarthys of Desmond. From the second son, Cormac Cas, come the O'Briens of Thomond. From Cian, the youngest son, are the Eile O'Carrolls of Ormond. The primary color of blue represents the province of Munster and the Republic of Ireland.





Relation to McCaffrey

The last great rising of Catholic Ireland occurred under the reign of James II. James ascended to the throne in 1685 and appointed the Duke of Tyrconnell, a Catholic, as his Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Tyrconnel overturned many of the English measures and allowed Irish soldiers to form a separate army. While Tyrconnell was busy rebuilding Catholic Ireland, James was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of William and Mary. William of Orange came from the Netherlands and the significance of that color remains today in Ireland. James first fled to France. Then he brought a French army to Ireland where his appointee Tyrconnell welcomed him and his Irish army. James swiftly mustered an Irish Parliament and prepared the Irish-French army to fight William, who landed in June 1690.

The leader of the Fermanagh contingent of the Irish was Cunnought Mor Maguire. Giolla Padraig Modartha McCaffrey was the chief of the McCaffery Clan and led his men in Maguire's regiment [Blake-Forster, Charles French, The Irish Chieftains or A Struggle for the Crown (McGlashan and Gill) Dublin note 20, p664]. Cunnought Mor was one of the few Irish to own lands in Fermanagh. He owed his holdings near Tempo in Magersteffana, Fermanagh to his grandfather, Brian who alerted the English to the Irish rising in 1641, fifty years earlier. Now the son was breaking with his grandfather to make war on the English.

The war went well at first with the Earl of Tyrconnell and the French marquis of St. Ruth leading the Irish-French. The English Catholic King James began the war to tumultuous support from the Irish but until he ran up against William of Orange at the Battle of the Boyne on July 1, 1690. Although the English victory was not decisive, King James fled back to France that day. This is the event that is still commemorated throughout Northern Ireland by Protestants with politically charged marches and parades every year.

The Irish and St. Ruth continued the war with some success until the battle of Augrim on July 12, 1691. There the Fermanagh forces of Maguire, to include the McCafferys under Giolla Padraig, were so decimated that "no correct list of the officers of this regiment can now be made. They were nearly all cut to pieces at the Battle of Augrim, and, besides, their brave colonel being slain (Cunnought Mor Maguire), their Lieutenant-Colonel was taken prisoner." At Augrim the left side of the Irish line, held by Luttrell's Irish Cavalry, crumbled about the time St. Ruth was killed by an English cannonball to the head. This situation made the Irish position untenable and, without overall command from St. Ruth, lead to a rout. The Fermanagh men stood and fought, losing both Cunnought and Giolla Padraig McCaffrey in the process. The battle was decisive in the war and the effective end of the last organized Irish resistance for the next 250 years.