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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, O’Dowd, 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 O’Dowd 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 O’Dowds were bishops of the parish of Killala. Father John O’Duada 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 O’Duada.

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