Recorded in the spellings of MacBrady, MacGrady, and O'Grady, the short forms commencing "Mc", and both Brady and Grady without any prefix, this is an Irish clan surname, originally from the County Cavan region. The dervation is from the pre 10th century Gaelic Mac Bradaigh, and the translation is "the son of the very spirited one" or similar, this description being that applied to the first chief of the clan. How many centuries ago this was is very uncertain, but most Irish surnames have at least medieval ancestry, and some stretch back to the very dawn of written history. At various times the nameholders have been called MacBrady and O'Grady, whilst since the 16th century both Brady and Grady have been most popular despite the famous song about Rosie O'Grady. It seems that about the time of King Henry V111 of England (1510 - 1547), certain clan members became protestant, and supported the monarchy. Whether this is true or not, the various prefixes of Mac, Mc or O, were largely dropped from the name, although there has been a 20th century revival in their use. Early nameholders of repute included Hugh Brady, the protestant Bishop of Meath who died in 1584, Fiachra MacBrady, a Gaelic poet living in the year 1710, and Michael Brady, who was prominent in the service of Bonnie Prince Charlie, and who died in the 1745 rebellion in Scotland. The first known nameholder may well be John O'Grady, Archbishop of Tuam, Ireland, from 1364 to 1372.
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