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The History and Topography of the County of Clare by James Frost

Part I. Topography of Thomond Chapter 8. Ui Cormaic; Ui Donghaile

Ui Donghaile. Family of O’Grady; Deed of Assignment made by O’Grady to the Earl of Thomond

This was the tribe name of the O’Gradys, and it became, as usually happened, the name of their country. From the History of the Wars of Thomond it appears that the O’Gradys were originally settled in the parish of Killonasoolagh. After the Ui Bloid, that is, the O’Shanahans, O’Kennedys, etc., had been driven out by the descendants of Turlogh O’Brien, aided by the MacNamaras, the O’Gradys were placed at Tomgraney, and their tribe name of Ui Donghaile transferred to the territory of which they got possession. That district comprised the parishes of Tomgrany, Moynoe, Iniscaltra, and Clonrush. Of these the two latter are now included in the County of Galway, though within the present century the parish of Iniscaltra was accounted part of the County of Clare. Both, however, belong to the diocese of Killaloe, being in the deanery of O’Mullod. That the country allotted to the O’Gradys in 1318 had been, previously to that period, a part of the lands of the Ui Bloid, is sufficiently proved by the fact that, in the ecclesiastical division, it is a part of the deanery of Ui Bloid. In addition to this, it is distinctly mentioned in the History of the Wars of Thomond that the church of Moynoe was the hereditary Tarmon of the race of Blod. [24]

As is apparent from the annals and records of the country, the family of O’Grady long continued to be owners of property and to be men of influence in this district. They were always distinguished for the kindliness of their dealings with their dependents, and in 1828 their representative, Mr. Brady of Raheen, was almost the only Protestant in Clare who recognised the right of his Catholic fellow-citizens to emancipation by voting for O’Connell at the memorable election of that year. We give the following references to the O’Gradys, taken from various authorities: A.D. 1311. Donald O’Grady, Lord of Cinél Dongaile, was slain on the battle field by O’Brien. [25] A.D. 1408. Teige O’Grady, Chief of Cinél Dongaile, died. [26] In 1543, with the design of breaking up the ancient Irish tenures, and substituting for them the English feudal system, Henry VIII. granted by patent to Sir Donogh O’Grady, “Captain of his nation,” all lands “to which he might have a right.” He was succeeded by his son Edmond, who died in 1567, without issue, leaving his estates to Daniel O’Brady. [27] In 1582, John O’Grady, alias Brady, [28] gent., son of Sir Donogh, deceased, and Hugh Brady obtained a grant of Tomgraney, Ballyduff, Scariff, etc., for ever. [29] This John migrated to the County of Limerick, and there founded the family which at the present day is so numerous and influential.

Amongst the Irish Deeds relating to lands in Thomond preserved in Trinity College library is one by which O’Grady gives over all his property of every kind to the Earl of Thomond. In making this assignment he was, doubtless, influenced by the expectation that the Earl’s power would serve as a safeguard to him from the English usurpation then impending. How vain the hope was will be seen in subsequent pages of this work. We give the Deed in extenso as translated by Hardiman:—

“Emanuel, Be it known to all who shall read this deed of assignment that I, Henry, son of Hugh O’Grady, have given all the land and ground, and all my rent in Cinél Donghaile, and in every place where it is due to me, and every other profit arising from said lands, to Donogh, son of Conor O’Brien (fourth Earl of Thomond), and to his assigns for ever, from me, my heirs and assigns for ever; and I send Cathal O’Rabhacain and Donogh O’Rabhacain as bailiffs with him to put him into possession thereof. . . . I give this Deed to the Earl in presence of all those whose hands are subscribed this day at Clonroad, the 4th of the month of April 1586. I, Henry O’Grady (LS). The witnesses present at the signing and sealing of the deed by me—Robert Fentoine, Jacobus Lukeus, R. White.”