O’Grady Castle, Tuamgraney, Co Clare.
This Tower-House Castle, sometimes referred to as Tuamgraney Castle, was built in the 15thC by the O’Grady Clan to provide protection for the adjacent St. Cronan’s Church. The O’Grady’s were powerful local landowners who ruled the areas about Tuamgraney, Scariff, Mountshannon and Whitegate at that time.
The Irish name is Ó Grádaigh/Ó Gráda meaning “The Grand-Son of the Peace Loving Man,” though there is a more interesting meaning – “Descendants of the Love-Making Man”!!!
The O’Grady’s were Ireland’s leading ecclesiastical family in the 14thC and several relations went on to become Archbishops and many others held high office in the church. Nicholas O’Grady, who died in 1485 was Abbot of Tuamgraney.
The Coarb(Heir or Successor) in this monastery was always an O’Grady.
They are also associated with the monastic sites of Holy Island/Inis Cealtra on Lough Derg, which is one of the most famous monastic sites in Ireland. The O’Grady coat of arms and their motto “Vulneratus non Victus” – “Wounded but not Vanquished” is depicted on a stone in St Caimin’s church.
The “Curse of the O’Grady”’ is associated with the Church of the Wounded Men on the island. This tradition which implies that, “any woman entering here will be under the curse of barrenness,” has been proven to be unfounded.!!!
In the era of Brian Boru, this wonderfully scenic part of Co Clare was a major religious centre of learning.
According to ancient records, Brian returned here in 1012 to worship and repair the Bell Tower (Cloigteach) of the monastery, thus giving this castle an actual recorded historical association with him.
The last known elected chief of the O’Gradys was Donough O’Grady (c.1500 – 1558) from Fossamore, Tuamgraney.
This particular Tuamgraney O’Grady Castle is still in a reasonably good state of preservation but is crying out for restoration.!!!
O’Gradys of Co Limerick
It is now generally accepted that the O’Gradys of Killballyowen,Co Limerick are descended from Hugh O’Grady, son of Donald O’Grady, Chief of his Name, who was killed in County Clare in 1311. Hugh married the only daughter of O’Ciarmhaic, the chief of Áine Cliach, a district surrounding the hill of Cnoc Áine or Knockainey.
Knockainey Church in Co Limerick is a veritable O’Grady Museum with its walls covered with family plaques. The adjoining graveyard has numerous O’Grady vaults in various stages of decay. In 1999, the church was closed due to dwindling numbers.