Ali, the three-time World Heavyweight Champion, was named the first Honorary Freeman of Ennis in 2009 in recognition of his career achievements and his ancestral links with the Clare County Capital. Over 15,000 people watched ‘The Greatest’ receive a Civic Reception before embarking on a drive through the streets of Ennis and a personal visit to the ancestral home of his great grandfather Abe Grady.
Grady emigrated from County Clare to the United States in the 1860s. He eventually settled in Kentucky, where he married an African-American woman. Their son also married an African-American and one of the daughters of that union was Ali’s mother, named Odessa Lee Grady. She married Cassius Clay, senior, and they settled in Louisville, where their son was initially given his father’s name on his birth in 1942.
Below you can watch a moving video documenting his visit on September 1, 2009.