Thursday, September 03, 2009

Cassius Clay ... O'Grady

A little-known fact about my O'Grady side of the family: apparently, we're distantly related to former heavyweight boxing champion of the world Muhammad Ali.

Here's the story about The Greatest's recent trip to our ancestral homeland in Ennis, County Clare, Ireland:
(CNN) -- Legendary American boxer Muhammad Ali has visited the birth place of his ancestors in Ireland, prompting thousands of well-wishers to line the streets of the town.

Muhammad Ali on a nine-day visit to Europe that included a stopover to his ancestoral home in Ireland.

The scenes were reminiscent of a presidential visit as the 67-year-old former three-times world heavyweight champion traveled to Ennis, County Clare to see the hometown of his forebear.

The visit was commemorated by the town council with the unveiling of a plaque at the home of his great grandfather and by making Ali the first honorary "freeman" of the town.

Abe Grady -- the grandfather of Ali's mother Odessa Lee Grady -- lived in the town of Ennis, before emigrating to the United States in 1860 where he married an African-American emancipated slave.

"Now that we know Muhammad is an Ennis man, we will be back," Ali's wife Lonnie told Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper.

The small County Clare- town of 23 thousand put on an open-air concert, closed schools early and had special screenings of the Ali v George Foreman documentary "When We Were Kings" to welcome the "Louisville Lip."

My cousin, Michael, who lives in Ennis, reports that thousands of people were in the streets for this week's events honoring Ali, and recalled seeing Ali fight in Dublin in the '70s and getting his autograph at the time.

He joked that we should add Ali to our family tree. Another cousin here in the States suggested inviting him to the next O'Grady Family Reunion in two years.

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Light Posting Today - Going to a Funeral

Even More Catholic Patrimony Photos from the Family Archives

More Catholic Patrimony Photos from the Family Archives

I Love These Photos of My Father as a Little Boy

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At 9/03/2009 7:57 AM, Blogger Christine the Soccer Mom said...

I missed on the news that this was in Ennis. So it's kind of like The Quiet Man, eh? ;)

At 9/03/2009 8:15 AM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

"So it's kind of like The Quiet Man, eh?"

EXACTLY! Now why didn't I think of that connection? After all, that's one of my favorite movies.

At 9/03/2009 9:01 AM, Blogger Christine the Soccer Mom said...

It was my granfather's favorite. My girls loved it, esp. after we read "The Taming of the Shrew" together.

At 9/03/2009 2:20 PM, Blogger Tito Edwards said...

Figured he had some Irish in him since he fights so well.



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