O'Grady, along with Grady,, comes from the Irish Ó Grádaigh, from gradach, meaning "noble". The surname originated in Co. Clare, where the Ó Grádaigh were part of theDál gCais tribal grouping who claimed descent from Cas, a son of Oiloll Ollum, the semi-legendary third-century king of Munster. They thus shared common ancestry with the pre-eminent family of theDál gCais, the O'Briens, and took a prominent part in the O'Briens' struggle against the rival Eoghancht MacCarthys, descended from Eoghan, another son of Oilill Ollum. Although Clare was their homeland, from a very early date the family had strong associations with Co. Limerick, in particular the area around Kilballyowen. This was acquired by the then head of the family, Hugh O'Grady, in 1309, and has remained the principal seat of the family down to the present day. Unlike so many others of the native aristocracy, the O'Gradys sided with the English in the sixteenth century, and intermarried with a number of powerful English families, thus retaining their influence and possessions through all the vicissitudes of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Two of those marriages, that of Darby O'Grady to Faith, daughter of Sir Thomas Standish of Lancaster in 1633, and of John O'Grady to Mary Elizabeth de Courcy, daughter of Baron Kinsale, are reflected to this day in the personal names in use in the family; the present O'Grady of KIlballyowen, popularly "The O'Grady", and recognised as such by the Chief Herald of Ireland, is Gerald de Courcy Ó Grady. The most prominent historical bearers of the name were Standish Hayes O'Grady (1832-1915) and his cousin Standish James O'Grady (1846-1928). Both were deeply involved in the nineteenth-century revival of interest in the the Gaelic past of Ireland, the former as a renowned scholar and student of early Irish history and society, the latter as a popular novelist who based his stories on Irish legends and history.


Standish O'Grady, 1st Viscount Guillamore

1766-1840, was the eldest son of Darby O'Grady of Mount Prospect, Limerick, and of Mary, daughter of James Smyth of the same county. He was born on 20 Jan. 1766, and, entering Trinity College, Dublin, graduated B.A. in 1784. He was called to the bar, and went the Munster circuit. He was remarkable for wit as well as learning, and attained considerable practice. On 28 May 1803, after the murder of Lord Kilwarden, he became attorney-general, and was one of the prosecuting counsel at the trial of Robert Emmet. In 1805 he was made lord chief baron, in succession to Yelverton, lord Avonmore. He was a sound judge, and Chief Baron Pigot, of the Irish exchequer, expressed the opinion: ‘O'Grady was the ablest man whose mind I ever saw at work.’ His witticisms on and off the bench were long remembered (D. O. Madden, Ireland and its Rulers, i. 126). O'Grady was one of the first to suspect the duplicity of Leonard McNally. On his retirement from the bench in 1831, he was created Viscount Guillamore of Cahir Guillamore and Baron O'Grady of Rockbarton, co. Limerick, in the peerage of Ireland. He was a handsome man , of a fine presence, and over six feet in stature. He died in Dublin on 20 April 1840. In 1790 he married Katharine (d. 1853), second daughter of John Thomas Waller of Castletown, co. Limerick, by whom he had several children , the 7th son being Thomas O'Grady

Standish O'Grady, 2nd Viscount Guillamore

1792-1848, eldest son of the above, born in 1792, was a lieutenant in the 7th hussars at Waterloo , and afterwards became lieutenant-colonel. On 17 June 1815 he had command of the troop of the 7th hussars on the high road from Genappe to Quatre Bras. The regiment was covering the British march from Quatre Bras to Waterloo, and Sir William Dörnberg left O'Grady outside the town, on the Quatre Bras road, to hold in check the advancing French cavalry while the main body of the regiment was proceeding in file across the narrow bridge of Genappe and up the steep street of the town. O'Grady advanced at the head of his troops as soon as the French appeared, and presented so bold a front that, after a time, they retired. When they were out of sight he crossed the bridge at the entrance of Genappe, and took his troop at a gallop through the town, rejoining Sir William Dörnberg, who had drawn up the main body of the regiment on the sloping road at the Waterloo end of Genappe. A severe cavalry combat ensued when the French lancers reached the top of the town, in which O'Grady's regiment made a gallant charge, with considerable loss.

At Waterloo he was stationed on the ground above Hougoumont on the British left. ‘The 7th,’ he says in a letter to his father, ‘had an opportunity of showing what they could do if they got fair play. We charged twelve or fourteen times, and once cut off a squadron of cuirassiers, every man of whom we killed on the spot except the two officers and one Marshal de Logis, whom I sent to the rear’ (letter in possession of the Hon. Mrs. Norbury). Two letters of his to Captain William Siborne, describing the movements of his regiments on 17 and 18 June 1815, are printed in ‘Waterloo Letters,’ edited by Major- general H. T. Siborne (London, 1891, pp. 130-6).

By his wife Gertrude Jane (d. 1871), daughter of the Hon. Berkeley Paget, he had issue Standish, third viscount (1832-1860); Paget Standish, fourth viscount (1838-1877); Hardress Standish, fifth viscount (b. 1841); and others. The second viscount died on 22 July 1848.

Standish James O'Grady, (1846-1928), Writer

Son of Thomas O'Grady

see biography by his son High Art O'Grady

b. 18 Sep 1846,  Castletown, Berehaven, Co. Cork; ed . Tipperary Grammer School and TCD where he had an outstanding career and excelled also as a debater and as a sportsman. he was called to the Bar in 1872 but practised little,  turning instead , under the influence of John O'Donovan, to a study of the Old Irish myths and legends, although he knew little Irish. His works, which influenced the Irish literary revival of the 1890's, popularised the Irish sagas and included

History of Ireland - Heroic Period (2 vols, 1878 -81)
Early Bardic Literature of Ireland (1879)
Finn and his Companions (1891)
The Bog of Stars and other stories (1893)
The Coming of Cuchulain (1894)
The Chain of Gold (1895)
The Flight of the Eagle (1897)
The Departure of Dermot (1913)
The Triumph and the Passing of Cuchulain (1919)

sjogrady.jpg (27491 bytes)


Standish Hayes O'Grady, (1832-1915), Writer

b. Erinagh House, Castleconnell, Co. Limerick; son of Admiral Hayes O’Grady (d.1864); learnt Irish in native speaking district of his childhood; ed. Rugby and TCD; 30 years in America as engineer; Catalogue of the Irish MSS in the British Museum, completed by Robin Flower (3 vols., 1926). Silva Gadelica (2 vols. 1892), with Irish texts in the first and translations and notes in the second volume, all largely taken from the Book of Lismore; contrib. essay on ‘Anglo-Irish Aristocracy’ to Lady Gregory’s edited collection, Ideals in Ireland (1901); d. 16 Oct.


Silva Gadelica (1892), Preface: ‘The work is far from being exclusively or even primarily designed for the omniscient impeccable leviathans of science that headlong sound the linguistic ocean to its most horrid depths, and (in the interval of ramming each other) ply their flukes on such audacious small fry as even on the mere surface will ply within their danger.’ p.v; cited in Michael Cronin, Translating Ireland: Translations, Languages, Cultures, Cork UP 1996, p.134, remarking that the metaphor is explicitly Orientalist.)

An Ascendancy education: ‘At school and in Trinity College I was an industrious lad and worked through curriculums with abundant energy and some success; yet in the curriculums never read one word about Irish history and legend, nor even heard one word about these things from my pastors and masters. When I was twenty-three years of age, had anyone told me – as later on a professor of Dublin University actually did – that Brian Boromh was a mythical character, I would have believed him. I knew nothing about our past, not through my own fault, for I was willing enough to learn anything set before me, but owing to the stupid education system of the country.’ (Quoted in William Irwin Thompson, The Imagination of An Insurrection, Dublin, Easter 1916: A Study of an Ideological Movement [OUP 1967] Harper & Row 1972, p.20; cited in Maria Tymoczko, The Irish Ulysses, Calif. UP 1994, p.223.)

Robin Flower, Biographical Sketch, in Catalogue of Irish Manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. 2 (1926): ‘O’Grady had his own way of editing the language of his texts, which need not be considered here, but by his unique method of interweaving text, translation, interpretation, and commentary, and infusing through the whole the strong colours of his own remarkable personality, he has left a book that must always be a indispensable and delightful introduction to the subject to which he devoted his early youth and manhood. // It may be said that, generally speaking, O’Grady’s catalogue was devoted to the exhibition and illustration of Irish literature by extract, translation, commentary, and note. It did not lie within this plan to collate texts with any minuteness, or, except in instances here and there, to travel outside the Museum MSS in search of critical material. The study of the whole subject has rapidly advanced in the intervening period and its bibliography is growing rapidly. It became necessary then to adopt a new plan for the continuation of the catalogue. In the present volume an attempt is made, subject to the necessary limitations of the material and the cataloguer, to study the literature and its growth, to delimit its different classes, periods, and districts, and in particular, to isolate the foreign influences by methods of determining the sources of translated texts. A collection of manuscripts not brought together in any systematic fashion does not afford sufficient material for the complete execution of such a plan, but, nevertheless, the Museum collection is fairly representative of the literature as a whole and may serve as the basis of an approximate estimate.’ [x-xi].

W. B. Yeats, ‘His [Standish James O’Grady’s] cousin, that great scholar Hayes O’Grady, would not join our non-political Irish Literary Society because he considered it a Fenian body, but boasted that although he had lived in England for forty years he had never made an English friend. He worked at the British Museum compiling their Gaelic catalogue and translating our heroic tales in an eighteenth-century frenzy; his heroine "fractured her heart", his hero "ascended to the apex of eminence" and there "vibrated his javelin", and afterwards [513] took ship upon "colossal ocean’s superficies". Both O’Grady’s considered themselves as representing the old Irish land-owning aristocracy; both probably […] though that England, because decadent and democratic, had betrayed their order.’ ("General Introduction for My Work", in Essays and Introductions, 1961, pp.512-13.)



Henry William Lord Paget, The Marquess of Anglesey


Related to the O'Grady family through the marriage of Gertrude Jane Paget to Standish O'Grady, the 2nd Viscount Guillamore. Born 17th May, 1768, he served in several infantry regiments before he became Lieutenant-Colonel of the 16th Light Dragoons, 15th June, 1795. Transferring to the 7th Queen's Own Light Dragoons in April, 1797, he became Colonel of the Royal Horse Guards. He became a Major-General 29th April 1802, a Lietenant-General 25th April, 1808, a General 12th August, 1819, and a Field-Marshal 20th December, 1842. He became the 2nd Earl of Uxbridge in 1812 and the 1st Earl of Anglesey 4th July, 1815. He also attained the honours of K.G,. G.C.B, and G.C.H before he died. 


Educated at Westminster School and Christchurch College, Oxford, Paget served in Parliament as MP for Carnarvon from 1790-96, and then for Milborne Port, 1796-1810. In 1793 he raised a regiment of infantry from his father's Staffordshire estates, given the number of the 80th Foot at the outbreak of war with Revolutionary France. he fought in Flanders (1794) and in Holland (1799), and commanded the cavalry of Sir John Moore's army with great distinction in Portugal and Spain during the Corrunna campaign of 1808-09. He won two important cavalry engagements at Sahagun and Benavente and helped cover the disastrous retreat over the mountains to Corunna.

The work of the cavalry at Waterloo was highly praised by the Duke of Wellington in his despatch. Unfortunately, during the general advance of the line, one of the last shots of the battle struck the Marquess in the joint of his right knee. Amputation was needed at once and in lieu of an anaesthetic, the Marquess was given a cork on which to bite. The loss of his leg affected those around him but he retained a composed manner and asked who would not lose a leg for such a victory. The leg was buried in a neat garden opposite the inn at Waterloo and a monument was placed over it on which was written:

" Here lies the Marquess of Anglesey's leg

Pray for the rest of his body we beg."


Left - being comforted by Lord Wellington after the loss of his leg.

His conduct caused him to be described in contemporary books as "the first cavalry officer in the world." Even his replacement legs received fame, for one of the first types is still preserved at Plas Newydd and the new type of artificial limb invented by "Potts" was named "the Anglesey Leg" and remained in use up to the time of the First World War.


In 1818 the marquess was made a knight of the Garter, in 1819 he became full general, and at the coronation of George IV. he acted as lord high steward of England. His support of the proceedings against Queen Caroline made him for a time unpopular, and when he was on one occasion beset by a crowd, who compelled him to shout " The Queen," he added the wish, " May all your wives be like her." At the close of April 1827 he became a member of the Canning administration, taking the post of master-general of the ordnance, previously held by Wellington. He was at the same time sworn a member of the privy council. Under the Wellington administration he accepted the appointment of lord-lieutenant of Ireland (March 1828), and in the discharge of his important duties he greatly endeared himself to the Irish people. The spirit in which he acted and the aims which he steadily set before himself contributed to the allaying of party animosities, to the promotion of a willing submission to the laws, to the prosperity of trade and to the extension and improvement of education. On the great question of the time his views were opposed to those of the government. He saw clearly that the time was come when the relief of the Catholics from the penal legislation of the past was an indispensable measure, and in December 1828 he addressed a letter to the Roman Catholic primate of Ireland distinctly announcing his view. This led to his recall by the government, a step sincerely lamented by the Irish. He pleaded for Catholic emancipation in parliament, and on the formation of Earl Grey's administration in November 1830, he again became lord-lieutenant of Ireland. The times were changed; the act of emancipation had been passed, and the task of viceroy in his second tenure of office was to resist the agitation for repeal of the union carried on by O'Connell. He felt it his duty now to demand Coercion Acts for the security of the public peace; his popularity was diminished, differences appeared in the cabinet on the difficult subject, and in July 1833 the ministry resigned. To the Marquess of Anglesey Ireland is indebted-for the board of education, the origination of which may perhaps be reckoned as the most memorable act of his viceroyalty. For thirteen years after his retirement he remained out of office, and took little part in the affairs of government. He joined the Russell administration in July 1846 as master-general of the ordnance, finally retiring with his chief in March 1852. His promotion in the army was completed by his advancement to the rank of field-marshal in 1846. Four years before, he exchanged his colonelcy of the  Light Dragoons which he had held over forty years, for that of the Royal Horse Guards. He died on 29th April, 1854.

The Marquess had a large family by each of his two wives, two sons and six daughters by the first, Caroline Elizabeth VILLIERS (m. 25 Jul 1795) ,  and six sons and four daughters by the second, Charlotte CADOGAN ( m. 1810). His eldest son, Henry, succeeded him; but the title passed rapidly in succession to the 3rd, 4th and 5th marquesses. The latter, whose extravagances were notorious, died in 1905, when the title passed to his cousin.

Other members of the Paget family distinguished themselves in the army and the navy. Of the first marquess's brothers one, SIR CHARLES PAGET (1778-1839), rose to the rank of vice-admiral in the Royal Navy; another, General SIR EDWARD PAGET (1775-1849), won great distinction by his skilful and resolute handling of a division at Corunna, and from 1822 to 1825 was commander-in-chief in India. One of the marquess's sons by his second marriage, LORD CLARENCE EDWARD PAGET (1811-1895), became an admiral; another, LORD GEORGE AUGUSTUS FREDERICK PAGET (1818-1880), led the 4th Light Dragoons in the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava, and subsequently commanded the brigade, and, for a short time, the cavalry division in the Crimea. In 1865 he was made inspector-general of cavalry, in 1871 lieutenant-general and K.C.B., and in 1877 full general. His Crimean journals were published in 1881.

Henry's parents were:

Henry PAGET Earl of Uxbridge was born on 19 Jun 1744 in Plas-Newyth, Anglesy, Wales. He was christened on 16 Jul 1744 in St. George, Hanover Square, Westminster, London, England. He died on 13 Mar 1812 in Old Burlington Street, Westminster, London, England. He married Jane CHAMPAGNE on 11 Apr 1767 in Castle Forbes, Longford, Longford, Ireland.

Jane CHAMPAGNE was born in 1742 in Kilclonfert, Offaly, Ireland. She died on 9 Mar 1817 in Bolton Row, Westminster, London, England. She married Henry PAGET Earl of Uxbridge on 11 Apr 1767 in Castle Forbes, Longford, Longford, Ireland.

They had the following children:

  M i Henry William PAGET 4th Earl of Uxbridge and Marquis of Anglesey , the subject of the notes above, was born on 17 May 1768. He died on 29 Apr 1854.
  M ii William PAGET was born on 22 Dec 1769 in St. James, Westminster, London, England. He died in 1794/1795.
  M iii Arthur PAGET was born on 15 Jan 1771 in St. James, Westminister, London, England. He died on 26 Jul 1840.
  F iv Caroline PAGET was born on 6 Feb 1773 in Of St. James, Westminster, London, England. She died on 9 Jul 1847.
  F v Jane PAGET was born on 1 Sep 1774. She died on 30 Jun 1842.
  M vi Edward PAGET was born on 3 Nov 1775 in St. James, Westminster, London, England. He was christened in St. James, Westminster, London, England. He died on 13 May 1849.
  F vii Louisa PAGET was born on 26 Mar 1777 in Of St. James, Westminster, London, England. She died on 23 Jan 1842.
  M viii Charles PAGET was born on 7 Oct 1778 in Of St. James, Westminster, London, England. He died on 27 Jan 1839.
  M ix Berkeley Thomas PAGET was born on 2 Jan 1780 in Of St. James, Westminster, London, England. He died on 26 Oct 1842.
  F x Charlotte PAGET was born on 26 Oct 1781 in Of St. James, Westminster, London, England. She died on 26 Jan 1817 in Florence Court.
  F xi Mary PAGET was born on 9 Apr 1783 in Of St. James, Westminster, London, England. She died on 29 Apr 1835.
  M xii Brownlow PAGET was born about 1785 in Of St. James, Westminster, London, England. He died on 23 Apr 1797.



O'Grady extracts from the Dictionary of National Biography (courtesy of Barney Tyrwhitt-Drake)

Standish James O'Grady The Man & The Writer  - a memoir by his son Hugh Art O'Grady, Litt.D.

O'Keefe's Life and Times of O'Connell, i. 183; Barrington's Personal Sketches; Smyth's Law Officers of Ireland, 1839, pp. 145, 170; O'Flanagan's Munster Circuit, 1880, pp. 232-7; Foster's Peerage, p. 318; Wills's Irish Nation, iii. 692-3; O'Flanagan's Irish Bar, 1879, pp. 190- 4.

Marquess of Anglesey notes extracted from the "Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research" June, 1965

Viscount O'Grady Lineage
People and Places