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O'Shields Family HistoryThis ancient Irish name originated in Ulster, where it is still most prevalent today in the Anglicized forms Shiels, Shiel, Sheils, Shields or Sheilds, from the Gaelic name "O'Siaghail", "O'Siadhail", descendant of Siadhail. The O'Shiels claim descent from Niall of the Nine Hostages, but are known for their hereditary association with medicine rather than as a territorial sept, Murtagh O'Shiel, recorded below, being the most well known as physician to MacCoughlan in the early 16th Century in County Offaly, where a branch of the family had a seat at Ballysheil.
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