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Brady crestThe surname derives from the Irish MacBradnigh coming possibly from bradach meaning  'thieving' or 'dishonest'. The name remains very numerous in Co. Cavan their original homeland with large numbers also to be found in the adjoining country of Monaghan. Their power was centered on an area a few miles east of Cavan, from where they held jurisdiction over a large territory within the old Gaelic kingdom of Breifne. There have been many notable poets, clergyman and soldiers of the name including Thomas Brady (1752-1827), a field marshal in the Austrian army, the satirical Gaelic poet Rev . Philip MacBrady, 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.

The Mac Bradys were a prominent clan in Breifne. They held jurisdiction over territory to the east of Cavan town.

The name Brady is very common in Cavan today with large numbers also in the adjoining Co. Monaghan. There are also a number of Brady families in East Clare but these originated from the "O'Grady" family who changed their name to the more English sounding Brady at the time of Henry VIII.

In the 18th century three MacBradys distinguished themselves as Gaelic poets. They were Fiachra MacBrady , Rev. Philip MacBrady (d. 1719) and Phelim Brady, usually referred to as "bold Phelim Brady the bard of Armagh".

Gilbert MacBrady was Bishop of Ardagh from 1396 to 1400 and there were three MacBrady bishops of Kilmore in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Andrew MacBrady in 1454 as bishop of Kilmore provided a cathedral church for the diocese. The pre-reformation Cavan crozier belonging to one of the MacBradys is now in the National Museum in Dublin.

Thomas Brady (1752-1827), son of a Cootehill farmer, became a field marshal in the Austrian army.

William Maziare Brady (1825-1894) was the author of "Episcopal Succession in England, Scotland, and Ireland".

Anthony Nicholas Brady (1843-1913) was an Irish-American who made a fortune in railroads and electric lighting companies in Albany and Brooklyn. His empire included the Municipal Gas Co. of Albany and New York Edison Co. and other power companies in Brooklyn, Memphis and Chicago. He was on the board of directors of Westinghouse Electric, American Tobacco, U.S. Rubber and 30 other corporations. On his death in 1913 he left an estate of 100 million dollars.

His son Nicholas married Genevieve Garvan, sister of the famous detective Francis P. Garvan. The couple devoted much of their time and money to the Catholic Church. They were friends and sponsors of Francis J. Spellman who became Archbishop of New York and Cardinal. Mrs. Brady received the title "Dame of Malta" in 1927 and became known as the Duchess Brady.

Clan Donald connection: Only those from Islay & Kintyre and must originally been O'Brolachain. About 37% of all Brady's are Scots. Brady's not of Clan Donald may be from Dundee, Dunblane, Berwick or Edinburgh.

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