Keady (Irish O/ Mac Ceadaigh/Meceidigh), also Keedy
There are two spellings of this name, Keady and Keedy, with Keady being slightly more common. Three places in Ireland have distinct links with the name, County Cork, County Laois (Leix, in English, formerly Queens County) and latterly, County Galway. In the present day, the Keady surname is most common in County Galway.
Like many Irish names, Keady is now found across the English-speaking world, with the surname recorded in the United States. Canada , Australia and New Zealand.
The name Keady is said to have derived from an ancient Gaelic personal name linked with the name 'cead', meaning 'one hundred'. This personal name was given to members of the O More clan of Leix, with which the Mac Ceadaighs of County Laois and County Longford were associated.
The origins of the name in County Cork are said to be from the name Meiceidigh, More widely, in Munster, the Meceidighs are said to have been a sept of the Corcu Loigde, the rulers of Munster until the seventh century, with the Meceidighs based in West Cork.
The 1659 Census in Ireland recorded the Keady name in Laois and Longford, but not in County Cork. One early record of the name Keady with the current spelling dates to 1635 - a Tadg O Keady, in County Mayo.
Note: There is a village of Keady in County Armagh, in Northern Ireland, close to the Irish border. This place name is not recorded in any sources as being the origin of the surname.
The emblem of the Keady family is that of the Moore family vert three mullet or, a lion rampant. (three gold stars above a gold lion). The family motto is Conlan Abu, 'Conlan Forever'. This was a war cry, rather than an actual motto.
Keedy - the Scottish/English surname
If you are an English, Welsh or Scottish Keedy, your name possibly has a totally different origin. The name Keedy is also recorded in the North East of England, particularly in County Durham and North Yorkshire. The surname Keady also appears in census records in this region, and other parts of England, but some of these Keadys were of Irish origin. Walter Keady, b. 1855 of Curnicarton, County Mayo, was living in Whitburn, County Durham, in 1911, for example.
The origin of the Keedy surname in Great Britain is unknown, but is speculated to be perhaps a variant of the Ulster Scots surname Keddy. This surname, Keddy, has a quite distinct origin, from the Irish Keady/Keedy, being from Perthshire in Scotland, where it is derived from Mac Adaidh, 'son of Adam'.
- Kelly-Ann Keedy (1965- ), who performed professionally as Keedy, is an American singer-songwriter.
- The late Galway hurler Tony Keady (1963-2017) is widely considered to be one of the greatest players in his position (centre back) of all time. He won two All-Ireland titles with Galway, for whom he played from 1985-1993 and was voted Texaco Hurler of the Year.
- William Colbert Keady, (1913-1989) was a US federal judge, previously a member of the House of Representatives (1940-1943) and State Senator (Democrat) for Mississippi, 1944.-1945. Some sources incorrectly list a 'W.C. Keady', Democratic Party politician, as being a separate person. He was Senior Judge for the US District Court of the Northern District of Mississippi from 1983, until his death.
- Gene Keady, b. 1936 US Olympic basketball coach, assistant coach to the 2000 US Olympic basketball team.
- A Margaret Keady , just three years old, was one of the victims of the 1917 Halifax Explosion, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
There is often limited information available on a specific coat of arms and motto for an Irish surname. Sometimes there are many variations, sometimes none, we have compiled a representative, but by no means exhaustive, selection. Please visit our Coat of Arms and Motto page for more information.
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