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MUHAMMAD Ali's greatgrandfather "never set foot in Ireland", a leading historian claimed yesterday.

Sean Spellissy said he can prove the boxing legend's ancestor ANCESTOR, descents. One who has preceded another in a direct line of descent; an ascendant. In the common law, the word is understood as well of the immediate parents, as, of these that are higher; as may appear by the statute 25 Ed. III. De natis ultra mare, and so in the statute of 6 R.  was born in Kentucky - 3,000 miles away from his "homeland" of Ennis, Co Clare.

The claims come just weeks after Ali visited the town where he thought his great-grandfather Abe Grady was born.

A specially-commissioned sculpture was put up in his honour with an inscription inscription, writing on durable material. The art is called epigraphy. Modern inscriptions are made for permanent, monumental record, as on gravestones, cornerstones, and building fronts; they are often decorative and imitative of ancient (usually Roman) methods.  reading: "To commemorate the visit of 'The Greatest' Muhammad Ali to the ancestral home The Ancestral Home (Dom Ojczysty) is a political party in Poland, founded after the elections. It is a splinter of the League of Polish Families and led by Piotr Krutul.  of his great-grandfather Abe Grady."

During the visit, Ali's wife Lonnie declared: "Now that we know that Muhammad is an Ennis man, we will be back."

But Mr Spellissy has written a historical guide to Ennis and claims Ali's family never lived there. He said: "Abe Grady never set foot in Ireland. From my research, I will be saying in the official guidebook that Abe's father was more than likely from Crusheen."

Crusheen is located eight miles to the north of Ennis.

He added: "Abe's father could have come from the Turnpike turnpike, road paid for partly or wholly by fees collected from travelers at tollgates. It derives its name from the hinged bar that prevented passage through such a gate until the toll was paid. See also road.  in Ennis but more than likely came from the parish of Crusheen.

"He would have had cousins in the Turnpike area and would maybe have visited them time-totime."

Mr Spellissy confirmed that a birth certificate for an Abe Grady dating from 1865 has been located in Kentucky. But he insisted the new evidence "doesn't dilute" Ali's bond with Ireland.

He added: "His links to Clare are also quite solid. For Ennis, they are tenuous enough, but they have a certain validity to Crusheen." Mr Spellissy's guidebook was commissioned by Ennis Town Council and is due to be released at Christmas.

He admitted his investigations began after he became suspicious of the origins of the name Abe.

Mr Spellissy said: "It is an African/American name. It was never around Crusheen or Ennis."

He believes Abe's dad left Ireland for the US in 1849.

Ennis town manager Ger Dollard said the council doesn't regret the decision to honour Ali.

He added: "Ennis Town Council conferred the freedom of the town on Muhammad Ali arising from his ancestral ANCESTRAL. What relates to or has, been done by one's ancestors; as homage ancestral, and the like.  links to Ennis and Co Clare, his outstanding sporting achievements and his contribution to humanitarian issues."

A number of Ennis residents claimed they are related to Ali and are his cousins. However, Mr Spellissy yesterday said: "Someone deserves a red face over this."


GUIDE BOOK Sean Spellissy GLOVE AFFAIR Ali visits Ennis in August
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 6, 2009
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