Recorded as McAreevy, McGreavy, McGreevy, McGrievy, McCrevy, McCreevy, McIlrea, McRuvie, McRuvey, O' Reavey, Creevy, Kilrea, Reavey, Reevey, Revie, and possibly others, this is an ancient and very confused, Gaelic surname. Today it is almost entirely found in the north of Ireland although believed to have some association with Scotland. It is believed to originate from the pre 10th century Mag or Mac Riabhach or sometimes O' Riabhach meaning "The son (or male descendant) of the grey one". As to why somebody should be referred to as "The grey one" is unclear, but may be a reference to a follower of a religious order, a friar perhaps, as they wore grey. Although one branch of the clan were the lords of Moylurg in County Roscommon, it is said that in the medieval period they were subdued by the MacDermots. If so this subjugation must have been largely by agreement, as the clan continued in its believed original homeland 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. 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 McCreavy at Dublin on April 19th 1777 when he married Anne Richardson, whilst Hugh McGreavy was a baptism witness at Ballyard, County Down, on September 11th 1865.
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