The O’Grady Family

O’Grady family crest

(Crest No. 154. Plate 57.)

THE O’Grady family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of Heber, third son of that monarch. The O’Gradys belonged to the Dal Cais tribe, thus uniting the blood of both Heber and Heremon. The founders of the family were Brian Boru, King of Ireland, A. D. 1002, and Moriertach O’Brien, last King of Ireland of the race of Heber, A. D. 1089.

The ancient name was Gradha, and signifies “Noble.” The title of the chiefs of the O’Gradys was Prince of Dongaile and Aniaholiah, and their possessions were located in the Counties of Mayo, Kerry, Limerick, and Clare. Their territory in the latter county comprised the present barony of Lower Tullagh. The O’Gradys are thus designated by O’Heerin:

“O’Grada took the entire lands Of the profitable Kinel Dongali,

His swords, yellow-hafted, are keen,

Strong are the blows of his forces in battle.”

Many of the chiefs of this clan were men of note, and the family has also produced many learned men. Augustin MacGrady, born about the middle of the fourteenth century, was an annalist of note. He continued the “Annals of Tighernach” from that annalist’s time to the year of his own death, a period of nearly three hundred years, thereby preserving much valuable historical materials.

In 1831 Hon. Standish O’Grady, Chief Baron of the Exchequer in Ireland, was created Viscount Guillamore.

Another prominent man of this name in his day was Harry Deane Grady of the Irish Bar, a contemporary and friend of Daniel O’Connell, and noted for his wit. O’Connell once related the following anecdote of him which came under his personal observation: A certain Irish Judge of the day named Boyd, who was rarely sober on the bench, was so fond of brandy that he always kept a supply of it in court upon the desk before him in an inkstand of peculiar make. His Lordship would lean his arm upon the desk, bob down his head, and steal a hurried sip from time to time through a quill that lay among the pens, which maneuver he flattered himself escaped observation. One day it was sought by counsel to convict a witness of having been intoxicated at the period to which his evidence referred. Mr. Harry Deane Grady labored hard, upon the other hand, to show that the man had been sober. “Come now, my good man,” said Judge Boyd, “It is a very important consideration. Tell the court truly, were you drunk or were you sober upon that occasion?” “Oh! quite sober, My Lord!” broke in Grady, with a significant look at the inkstand, “as sober as a judge!”

Mr. Standish O’Grady, the most distinguished Irish writer of fiction of the present day, is a descendant of this family. The late Henry W. Grady of Atlanta, Ga., the brilliant orator and journalist, was a descendant of the Irish O’Gradys. There are many of this name in the United States distinguished in professional and business life, among whom may be mentioned Dr. Joseph O’Grady of Brooklyn, N. Y.