History Behind the Sheridan Name

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Sheridan Coat of Arms.gif (27727 bytes)The Sheridan family originated in Co. Longford, being erenaghs of Granard, but later moved to the next county - Cavan - where they became devoted followers of the powerful O'Reillys. The name is O Sirideain in Irish, I.e. descendant of Siridean, a personal name the derivation of which is uncertain. While Cavan is the county in which they are still to be found in greater numbers than elsewhere, the Sheridans are now dispersed widely throughout every province, though less in Munster then elsewhere. The prefix O has been entirely dropped since the seventeenth century. The Sheridans have been chiefly notable for their achievements in the literary field. The most famous, of course, was Richard Brinseley Sheridan (1751-1816) the Dublin-born dramatist and orator, long a prominent member of the English parliament: his mother Frances Sheridan (1724-1766), was also a successful writer, as was his brother Charles Sheridan (1750-1806); and yet another member of this remarkable literary family was Thomas Sheridan (1719-1788) who was also one of the leading actors of his day. These do not complete the list of Sheridans prominent in the literary sphere, for Denis Sheridan (b. 1612) assisted Bedell to translate the Bible into Irish and his son William Sheridan (1636-1711) was Protestant Bishop of Kilmore. We must also mention Rev. Thomas Sheridan (1687-1738), an author best remembered now as the intimate friend of Dean Swift; and another Thomas Sheridan (1647-1712), a close follower of James II; while his son, yet another Thomas Sheridan (1684-1746), was tutor in exile to Prince Charles, the "Young Pretender", and took part with him in the "Forty-Five", as did his nephew Chevalier Michael Sheridan (1715-c. 1775). Lastly, we have General Philip Henry Sheridan (1831-1888) the well-known and successful commander in the American Civil War. He, like nearly all the others cited above, was a Co. Cavan man.   

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