The O'Cahans.

From The Irish Fireside, Volume i, Number 1, July 2, 1883.

Came originally from the `black north,' where, one of them played a very double game in the O'Neil wars. The story goes that the name was changed at Cromwell's suggestion, who, having stigmatised the O'Cahan of his day as a 'very bad man,' and his Spanish charger as `a very bad horse,' found out that horse and man were 'very good' when told that the name might be pro-nounced like the English Keane. This O'Cahan was buried in his armour at Kilrush, after a skirmish in which he and his people were beaten by the Parliament men. There was a Brian O'Cahan at Aughrim, who had eleven sons, and of whom it is told that, being at Louis XIV.'s court, he was called upon to praise some fine new candelabrum `Oh,' said he, 'I've one far finer than that over in county Clare.' Louis heard of his boast, and sent him back to fetch the treasure. `Here it is, your Majesty,' said he, marching in his sons, all dressed alike, and each with a huge taper in his hand. This is the candelabrum I have the honour of presenting to you.' Most of us know the similar story in the Legend of Montrose; there was an O'Cahan on both side's at Ramillies, where this Brian was killed. 'Inclyta virtus,' says his epitaph; and when we read about him and the other 'wild geese,' we enter into George II.'s feelings when he said, 'Cursed be the laws which deprive me of such subjects.' A rough race these O'Cahans; Brian said to his confessor, 'They must be prime clerks up in heaven if they've noted down all my faults.' Robin Keane, his son, who `conformed,' drank off all the wine in the chalice once when he was `communicating' officially. Official Protestant though he was, his heart was still with the king over the water, `Bury me,' he said, as he lay dying, `on Moyarta hill, with my face to the sea, that I may see the boys coming over.'