genealogies of the families
(Mac)BRADY In Irish the name Brady is Mac Bradaigh so that it should correctly be MacBrady in the anglicized form; the prefix Mac, however, has seldom if ever been used in modem times; the modern use of the prefix O instead of Mac with this name is erroneous. The MacBradys were a powerful sept belonging to Breffny, their chief holding sway over a territory lying a few miles east of Cavan town. The Four Masters record many illustrious chiefs of the name there. The historian Abbe MacGeoghegan says that the MacBradys are a branch of the O'Carrolls of Calry, Co. Leitrim, a statement which has been often repeated, but modern authorities refute this. In any case they have always been pre-eminently associated with Co. Cavan; and it is in Co. Cavan and adjacent areas the Bradys are mostly found to-day. They are indeed very numerous in Ireland with an estimated population of nearly 10,000 persons so called.
A number of families of Brady are also to be found in the district around the village of Tuamgraney, Co. Clare. These are in fact not truly Bradys at all but O'Gradys, of the same family as O'Grady of Kilballyowen, Co. Limerick (see O'Grady, below): from the time of Henry VIII onwards these O'Gradys identified themselves with the English cause: for that reason, perhaps, they adopted the form Brady instead of Grady. The first Protestant Bishop of Meath, for example, was Hugh Brady, a Clareman, son of Donough O'Grady. The Limerick branch, on the other hand, having been Brady for a generation or two, reverted to the correct form O'Grady.
All the Bradys who have distinguished themselves in the cultural and political history of Ireland were from Co. Cavan. The most notable of these are Fiachra MacBrady (fl. 1710), and Rev. Philip MacBrady (d. 1719), both Gaelic poets, the latter of whom became a Protestant clergyman and was very popular with the people of Co. Cavan, perhaps because he satirized his colleagues. In this category we may also place Phelim Brady (fl. 1710), usually referred to as "bold Phelim Brady the bard of Armagh". Thomas Brady (1752-1827), a farmer's son from Cootehill, Co. Cavan, became a Field Marshal in the Austrian service; another who was prominent in military service outside Ireland was Michael Brady: he was executed for his part in the service of the "Young Pretender" in 1745. In the ecclesiastical sphere Gilbert MacBrady was Bishop of Ardagh from 1396 to 1400; and three MacBradys were bishops of Kilmore in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries: in 1580 John MacBrady was succeeded in the same see by Richard Brady a distinguished Franciscan. Andrew MacBrady in 1454 was the first bishop of Kilmore to provide a cathedral church for the diocese. A Catholic descendant of Hugh Brady, first Protestant Bishop of Meath, Edwin James Brady (1869-1952), had an adventurous life in many lands and was the author of some fine sea ballads. He was born at Carcour, New South Wales. Apart from the Gaelic poets the most important literary man of the name was William Maziere Brady (1825-1894), author of Episcopal Succession in England, Scotland and Ireland.
Source: Irish Families. Their Names, Arms and Origins by Edward MacLysaght MA, D Litt, MRIA - Irish Academic Press 1996
Additional Information from CavanNet
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.