The family name Doody was first recorded
in county Mayo where they had been seated from very ancient times. The
family can be traced back to the ancient King Niall of the Nine
Hostages, who in turn could be traced back to the Heremon Kings.
Several spelling variations of the name
were found in the archives and mainly these variations were the result
of families translating the name from the Gaelic into English. Recorded
versions of the name Doody included Dowd, Duddy, Doody, ODowd, Dowdy,
Dowdie, Doudy, Doudie, Doudd, Doodie, Dowde, and many more. Frequently a
name was spelt several different ways during the lifetime of the same
person, when he or she was born, married and died.
The great Gaelic family of Doody emerged
in later years in Mayo. King Niall, brother of Fiachra and descended
from Daithi, was one of the last pagan Kings of Ireland. For centuries
they were the leading sept of northern Ui Fiachrach. Their territory
embraced the baronies of Erris and Tirawley in the county of Mayo and
Tireagh in Sligo. The family was called to arms during the Anglo-Norman
incursion into their properties in the twelfth century. The long battles
to follow lasted until 1354 when Sen-Bhrian ODowd succeeded in
driving all the Anglo-Norman settlers out of Tireagh. Two branches of
the clann established themselves in other parts of Ireland at this time.
One group settled in the southern county of Kerry in the province of
Munster. This sept called itself Doody and maintained strong ties with
the heads of the family in the north. The other sept held a barony in
Derry in the far north where survivors of this clan were usually called
Duddy. Several ODowds were bishops of the parish of Killala. Father
John ODuada who died in 1579 was one of many Irish Franciscan
martyrs. The family is noteworthy, in that, great height is a common
feature of the family. Notable tall Dowds include the head of the sept,
killed at the Battle of the Boyne, who was seven feet tall, and Reverend
Patrick Dowd, (1813-1891), the Irish priest who did so much for the
Catholic community of Montreal. Notable amongst the family at this time
was Father John ODuada.
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