The Cahill Family

Cahill family crest

(Crest No. 57. Plate 16.)

THE Cahills are descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of Ir, fifth son of that monarch. The ancient name was Cathal and signifies “Beautiful.” The founders of the family were Caolbhach, last King of Ulster, race of Ir, and Cahal McRory O’Connery, King of Connaught, in the eleventh century. The O’Cahils took their name from Cathal, brother of Conor Na Luinge Cuaithle.

Cahill family crest

(Crest No. 196. Plate 58.)

The possessions of the O’Cahills were located in the present County of Galway. O’Cahil was chief of Kinelea of Aughty, in the southwest of that county. The O’Shaughnessys subsequently became lords of all the territory of Kinelea. This territory comprised the southern half of the Diocese of Kilmacduagh, in the southwest of the County of Galway, and contained the churches of Kilmacduagh, Beagh, and Kilbecanty, and the castles of Gort, Fedane, and Ardmulduane.

A branch of the O’Cahills also held possessions in the present County of Carlow, and the name is still numerous in the Counties of Kerry and Cork. The O’Cahills were also Chiefs of Corca Tine, situated on the borders of Tipperary and Kilkenny. They retained their possessions until the power of the native chiefs of the locality was broken, when their lands shared the lot of those of the neighboring septs.

This family produced many eminent members in the olden days as also in more recent years. One of the best known of our own time was the Rev. Dr. Daniel W. Cahill, orator, preacher, and publicist. He was born 1796 and died in 1864. For many years about the middle of the present century his pen was a power in the Irish press, and his revelations of British intrigue, duplicity, and oppression were read with avidity in every court of the Continent, and aided largely in frustrating British policy in France, Austria, and other countries. Dr. Cahill was one of the most eloquent men of his day, and a scientist of no ordinary merit. He died in Boston, Mass., while visiting the United States, and his remains were removed to Ireland a few years ago with great funereal pomp and interred in the National Cemetery of Glasnevin, Dublin.

Another member of this family has acquired distinction as a sculptor in our time, and has produced some works of genuine excellence. Among these may be mentioned the colossal statue of the “The Liberator,” in Ennis, in the County of Clare, commemorating the return of O’Connell to Parliament, in the famous Clare election of 1829 which eventuated in Catholic Emancipation.