Ó Grádaigh means 'illustrious' and their pedigree shows the O'Gradys to be of Dalcassian sept, kinsmen of the royal O'Briens. Their territories circled Clare and they had their fortress on Inis Cealtra (Holy Island) on Lough Derg. A ruined O'Grady castle testifies to their settlements in Clare, as does Lough O'Grady near Scarriff.
Their neighbours, the O'Briens, dispersed them to Limerick, where chief of the name, Lieutenant Colonel Gerard Vigors de Courcy O'Grady (d. 1993), lived at Killballyowen. His son Brian de Courcy is now 'the O'Grady' of Killballyowen.
During the frenetic period of Henry VIII's rule an O'Grady changed his faith and his name to the less Irish sounding Brady in order to keep his lands. His son was the first Protestant Bishop of Meath.
The family has long since reverted to its original name. Darby O'Grady, who lost his lands during another penal purge, had them restored to him following his marriage to Sir Thomas Standish's daughter. In gratitude, there has been a male or female Standish in succeeding generations of the family until the present day.
A Standish O'Grady who was an Attorney General was created Viscount Guillamore. His nephew was the distinguished Standish O'Grady, engineer in Amenca and then, on his return to Ireland, a most remarkable antiquarian and compiler of Irish manuscripts. Another Standish O'Grady was the famous writer of heroic Irish folk stories. In America an O'Grady, married to a black American lady, was the great grandfather of Cassius Clay, alias Muhammad Ali.
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