Sheridan, Patrick Joseph (1844–1917), revolutionary, was born in March 1844 in Bohola, Co. Mayo, son of Martin Sheridan, tenant farmer, and Sarah Sheridan (née McTyge). Nothing is known of his early years or schooling, though he was evidently literate and became a fine platform orator. By the mid 1860s he was living in Lancashire, where he became involved in the IRB, taking part in the abortive raid on Chester castle (11 February 1867). To gain military experience he also joined an English militia unit, swearing several of his comrades into the republican movement. However, he soon returned to Ireland, settling in Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo, where he worked as an overseer at a workhouse before establishing a small public house and inn. By the winter of 1879 he was the Sligo IRB leader as well as the north Connacht organiser of the recently established Irish National Land League. Throughout 1880, along with Matthew Harris (qv) and Thomas Brennan (qv), he espoused radical socialist-republican viewpoints on league platforms and, by advertising the movement's non-sectarian political stance, resisted the clergy's efforts to assert their influence over the league. He was also heavily involved in arms importations (rifles were seized at his home in January 1880), though he refused to endorse agrarian violence on league platforms, championing boycotting instead. During the summer of 1880 he was expelled from the IRB for distributing IRB arms (ostensibly for defensive purposes) to non-members. Thereafter he began attending quite regularly meetings of the central branch of the Land League in Dublin.
He was one of fourteen Land League officials put on trial in January 1881 for opposing the collection of rent and making seditious speeches. Although this trial ended inconclusively, on 15 March 1881 he was arrested under the terms of the protection of person and property act and imprisoned without trial in Kilmainham gaol. He remained in prison until 20 October (a week after the arrest of Parnell and others), when he was released on account of his wife's illness. A militant supporter of the ‘no-rent manifesto’ (issued from Kilmainham jail two days before his release), he attempted in subsequent weeks to persuade the IRB to champion the no-rent campaign (notwithstanding the supreme council's disapproval), providing the Dublin IRB leader James Mullet (1850–1915) with £50 and copies of the manifesto. On 21 December another warrant was issued for his arrest due to his involvement in the ‘no-rent’ campaign, and so he fled to Paris, staying with Patrick Egan (qv), the Land League treasurer. Following Mullet's arrest and imprisonment (18 March 1882), the funds given to him by Sheridan were seized by James Carey (qv), a member of the Invincibles, and then used for ulterior purposes. As a result, during the investigations into the Phoenix Park murders (6 May 1882), the DMP became convinced of Sheridan's involvement. Informants claimed that Sheridan came to Ireland in early 1882, disguised as a priest, and helped organise extremists in both Dublin and Tubbercurry. While Sheridan later admitted to being in Ireland at this time under disguise, he claimed that his purpose was to distribute funds to the Ladies' Land League, of which his wife was a member. During the summer of 1882 he left for New York to work for the Irish World and was followed by his wife and children a couple of months later, after his Sligo property was sold. Once his name was mentioned by Carey in the Phoenix Park murder trials (February 1883), the British government issued a warrant for his extradition. He denied all involvement in the conspiracy, and London's appeal was rejected by the US government.
His career in America was undistinguished. He initially went on a brief lecture tour on behalf of the Irish National League of America (est. April 1883); his speeches were construed by the London tory press as meaning that he supported the ‘dynamite war’ and was involved in the Phoenix Park murders, a claim dismissed as nonsense by both Parnell (qv) and Davitt (qv). Finding it very difficult to adapt to Irish-American politics, during 1884 Sheridan left the Irish World, moved to Colorado with his family, set up a ranch eight miles south of Monte Viste, and effectively retired from public life. During the special commission (1888–90), the London Times contacted him and attempted to bribe him (allegedly with as much as £20,000) to give evidence against Parnell. Reputedly, he sought to secure the bribe before withdrawing his services. In any case, no evidence was given. In the summer of 1892 he was reported as having been killed in an accident at his ranch, which possibly explains why P. J. P. Tynan (qv) felt free to ascribe various dark motives to him in his polemical work, The Irish National Invincibles and their times (1894). In fact, Sheridan survived his accident and ultimately died in Monte Viste, Colorado on 31 December 1917, survived by his five children (his wife's name and the date of their marriage are not known). A story later emerged that Sheridan swore Parnell into the IRB during 1882, but this was very unlikely as he himself had been expelled from the IRB two years earlier.