Ali To Explore Irish Roots
Boxing champ Muhammad Ali is preparing to make a pilgrimage to the Irish town where his great-grandfather was born.
The sports legend has accepted an invitation to visit Ireland on 1 September (09) after local researchers recently discovered documents that indicate one of Ali's ancestors was born 160 years ago in the County Clare town of Ennis.
Irishman Abe Grady emigrated to the U.S. in the 1860s, before settling in Kentucky and marrying an African-American woman.
Grady's son went on to raise Odessa Lee Grady, who would give birth to Cassius Clay Jr., named after his father, in 1942.
The 67 year old changed his name to Muhammad Ali in 1964, when he became a member of the Nation of Islam.
Genealogist Antoinette O'Brien says, "Through research being carried out for the Irish language TV station TG4 on Ali, we established Ali's great-great grandfather, John Grady, the father of Abe, rented a house and a small garden in Ennis with a rateable value of fifteen shillings (75 pence) in 1855. There is no doubt that Abe Grady was Ali's great-grandfather."
The former World Heavyweight Champion is expected to be named the first Honorary Freeman of Ennis during his visit.