Lt. Gerald Vigeors de Courcey O’Grady of Kilballyowen House Bruff Co Limerick was born in 1912 in Dublin. His mother Ester brought him to her family home in Bagnalstown, Co. Carlow. His father, Standish, was in the medical corps in the Royal Army and died of Spanish Flu in Malta in 1920, Gerald had a brother Phillip and sister Faith.
Gerald O’Grady was educated in the UK and followed family tradition by joining the army. He served over 15 years in India and during the Second World War in France, Germany and the UK and received the Military Cross for bravery in 1945.
He married Violet Thornton from Northampton in 1941. They had 2 children and divorced in 1961. Gerald subsequently married Molly McClean of Baltimore, USA. They had two daughters, Eliza and Faith.
Gerald was designated ” The O’Grady” of Kilballyowen in 1931 from his uncle William. This is one of the 16 heads of clan that are still recognised today. He took over the 500-acre Kilballyowen estate which had been managed by his aunt Evelyn O’Grady with the help of the well-known cattle expert Dr. McLaughlin of Ballynamona.
Gerald was widely recognised as an excellent dairy and beef farmer and became a judge of Friesian cattle at the RDS and Limerick Shows. He was elected President of the Irish Grassland Association in 1955 and was the Irish Representative at the British Friesian Council from 1955 to 1957.
The Limerick farmer was instrumental in forming the Bruff Rugby Club in 1970, giving the club the use of the land required for pitches and a clubhouse. There is a memorial to Gerald and his wife Molly at the club entrance. For long periods he was chairman of Limerick Show Society and the Limerick Fox Hounds. The O’Grady addressed the first International Clan Gathering of The O’Gradys in East Clare in 1991
Gerald died in June 1993. His daughter Eliza married Matthew Lloyd and they now live on the Kilballyowen estate with their family.