Boxing legend Ali traces roots to Irish town

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DUBLIN — Boxing legend Muhammad Ali is on a sentimental journey to see his little-known Irish roots.

DUBLIN — Boxing legend Muhammad Ali is on a sentimental journey to see his little-known Irish roots. Tens of thousands are awaiting the three-time world heavyweight champion’s arrival Tuesday in the western Irish town of Ennis, the home of Ali’s great-grandfather Abe Grady. Fans have adorned shops and streets with posters of Ali and red, white and blue USA bunting. They plan to watch live on TV screens as the Ennis council names Ali as its first "freeman," a civic honor. Grady settled in the United States in the 1860s and married a freed African-American slave. One of their grandchildren, Odessa Lee Grady Clay, was Ali’s mother. Genealogists established Ali’s Irish links in 2002, but Ali — who is 67 and suffering from Parkinson’s disease — has never visited Ennis before. ______ In photo: Boxing legend Muhammad Ali, centre, arrives in Ennis Ireland Tuesday Sept. 1, 2009 where a plaque was unveiled on Turnpike Road to his ancestors. (AP Photo/Julien Behal/PA) Copyright 2009 Associated Press, Laramie Daily Boomerang. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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