The Irish surname Shay is an anglicized form of the Gaelic name Ó Séaghdha meaning “descendant of Séaghdha,” a name meaning “fine, or fortunate.” The name is found in the county Kerry in the southwest of Ireland. A branch of the sept migrated to County Tipperary in the late 14th Century when the surname was first recorded. Some leading clan members moved to the adjoining County of Kilkenny, where the Shay's became established as the most influential of the Ten Tribes of Kilkenny. These were of Milesian blood (from Milesius, a legendary King of Spain).
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