Recorded as McAreevy, McGreavy, McGreevy, McGrievy, M'Greevy, Crevy, McCrevy, McCreevy, McKilrea, Kilrea, MacIlrea, McIlreavy, and many others, this is an ancient and very confused, Irish and as McIlwraith sometimes Scottish, surname. Today its almost entirely found in the north of Ireland. It originates from the old pre 10th century Gaelic Mag Riabhach, meaning 'The son of the grey one', the clan being the lords of Moylurg in County Roscommon through to the 17th century. It is said that in the medieval period they were subdued by the MacDermots, however this 'subduing' must have been largely by agreement, as the clan continued in its original name and homeland without much changing until at least Elizabethan times. It would seem that by the time of Petty's census of Ireland in 1659, the spelling at least in County Westmeath had become Crevy, McCrevy, or McCreevy, and as McGreavy in Roscommon. In County Sligo to where members of the clan seem to have emigrated in the 18th century, the name changed to Kilrea and MacIlrea! The famous International Genealogical Index for 1988 lists the main name as M'Greevy, although we can find no reason for this assumption. Early examples of recordings from surviving records include James Mc Creavy at Dublin on April 19th 1777 when he married Anne Richardson, whilst Hugh McIlreavy was a baptism witness at Ballyard, County Down, on September 11th 1865, and Richard McGreevy is also recorded at Doneghadee, County Down, on September 27th 1865.
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