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Brady Family History
Mac Brádaigh- anglicised Brady, earlier M'Bradie & c. Root, possibly from 'brad' -urging, thus 'bradach' -spirited.
MacLysaght in 'Irish Families' (1985) comments on the mistaken use of 'O' as a prefix.
The Bradys were a strong sept of Breifne, in what is now Co Cavan. Chiefs of Cúil Bhríghde, they feature in the Annals of Ireland, for example in the 'Annals of the Four Masters'. The surname is still strongly represented in that county, and in adjacent areas in Co Meath. In 1890 in Co Cavan, Brady had the third highest number of births registered (85). Woulfe says that they are well represented in Ulster ('Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall', 1923).
Oddly enough, a family of O'Grady are 'said' to have adopted the surname Brady, temp Henry V111, at which time they became protestants. Bishop Hugh Brady was the first protestant Bishop of Meath; he was said to be really an O'Grady of Clare stock. This was the Co Clare family of Tuamgraney. The famous 'Bishop's Lady', a violent ghost in Michael Hogan's great 19th century Limerick poem 'Drunken Thady and the Bishop's Lady', was married to a Bishop Brady (Hugh's wife?) Hogan refers to the surname issues as 'fictions' in his poem!
In the 1659 'Census' carried out by Sir William Petty, Brady is listed as a 'Principal Irish Name' in the following counties:
Co Cavan returns are missing from the 'Census'.
23 families of Brady in Granard barony.
8 families of Brady in Duleek Barony.
6 families of Brady in the barony of the same name.
10 families of Brady in Farrard Barony; 8 Brady families in Atherdee.
3 O Brady families in Clownish & c.
10 families of Bruody in Tulla (which hardly suggests O'Grady to me, but could well be a source of Brady).
Brady families in Griffith's 'Primary Valuation' of property (1847-64) are most frequent in counties Cavan 1019, Meath 201, Longford 177, Dublin 196 (of which 100 in city), and Monaghan 135.
In Matheson's Report (1909) on Birth Registrations taken in 1890, Brady births were most prevalent in counties Cavan, Dublin, Antrim, Meath and Longford. It was the 57th most numerous surname in Ireland in 1890.
Gilbert MacBrady, bishop of Ardagh from 1396 to 1400
Philip MacBrady (fl 1711) A Cavan Brady, scholar and poet, was a protestant clergyman, well known for his satires.
Joe Brady (1857-1883) born in Dublin, one of 20 children, to a paviour of Dublin Corporation. One of the 'Invincibles', a secret nationalist, extremist group. He was knife wielder in the stabbings of British Chief Secretary for Ireland, Lord Frederick Cavendish, and permanent Under Secretary Thomas Henry Burke, as they walked in Phoenix Park, on the 6th May, 1882. Apparently, Cavendish was not an intended victim. Brady was later hanged at Kilmainham.