The McGrath Family

McGrath family crest

(Crest No. 211. Plate 49.)

THE McGrath or Magrath family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of his son Heber. The founder of the family was Cathal, King of Munster, A. D. 734. The ancient name was Craith, which means “Tormented.” The possessions of the sept were located in the County of Tipperary. The Magraths were also chiefs in Fermanagh, and a branch of the family was established in Waterford.

The McGraths of Tipperary were a family of note, and one of the most respected in their district. Those of Fermanagh held possessions at Termon McGrath, where they had a castle in the parish of Templecarne. The McGraths were the ancient lay coarbs, or lay wardens of Alt, an ancient ecclesiastical district in the parish of Templecarne, in the barony of Tirhugh, and County of Donegal.

Several of this family were distinguished for their learning and talent. Ængus McGrath, who died in 1461, was a poet of merit, and “a notable man through all Ireland over,” to quote the language of the annalist. He was one of the Fermanagh McGraths.

Dermot McGrath, 1411, was ollav of Thomond in poetry, and Flann McGrath, 1425, held the same office. Hugh Oge McGrath, another noted poet of his day, was plundered of his property in 1415 by Sir John Talbot, the English Lord Deputy. Rory McGrath was chief poet and historian to O’Brien in Thomond; he died in 1343.

The McGraths are still numerous in Ireland, and many of the name are found in the United States and the British Colonies.