Brady surname history

The surname derives from the Irish Mac Bradaigh, coming, possibly, from bradach, meaning "thieving" or "dishonest". The name is among the sixty most frequently found in Ireland, and remains very numerous in Co. Cavan, their original homeland, with large numbers also to be found in the adjoining county of Monaghan. Their power was centred on an area a few miles east of Cavan town, from where they held jurisdiction over a large territory within the old Gaelic kingdom of Breifne. There have been many notable poets and clergymen of the name, including the satirical Gaelic poet Rev. Philip MacBrady and Fiachra MacBrady the Bard of Stradone as well as three MacBrady Bishops of Kilmore, and one MacBrady Bishop of Ardagh. The pre-Reformation Cavan Crozier, originally belonging to one of these MacBradys is now to be found in the National Museum in Dublin.

A separate family, the O Gradaigh, of east Clare have also anglicised their name as Brady.

In 1890 there were 261 births recording the surname Brady, of which the vast majority were in Cavan and the adjoining counties of Longford and Meath, ranking the surname as the 54th most common in Ireland. In 1996 it was ranked 51st.

Unlike many other Gaelic families the Mac prefix has not been reclaimed at all.

Matthew B. Brady (c. 1823-1896), is noted for his photographs of the American Civil War. His collection, a part of which was purchased by the federal government in 1875, is unique in the annals of American photography, both for its magnitude and its realism.

Paul Brady (1947 -.) from Strabane, Co. Tyrone is one of Ireland?s most successful contemporary musicians. His career has taken him from rock to traditional music and back again.

Conor Brady (1949 - ), born in Tullamore, Co. Offaly, has been editor of the Irish Times since 1985. He has previously edited the Sunday Tribune, and the Garda Review.

Unlike many other Irishmen who served in European armies, Thomas Brady (1752-1857) of Cootehill, Co. Cavan, came from farming stock. he became a Field Marshall in the Imperial Austrian army and governor of Dalmatia.


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