Cavan people

There are hundreds of cavan people who have made a major mark in their particular field of expertise, serving as exemplary ambassadors for both the county and its people.

Cavan people

There are hundreds of cavan people who have made a major mark in their particular field of expertise, serving as exemplary ambassadors for both the county and its people. Here is a sample of just some of Cavan’s ambassadors - past and present and if you have a story to tell, please get in contact -

The Strypes   

The Strypes are a four-piece rock’n’roll band from Cavan. They began playing together at a primary school Christmas concert and signed a major 5 album record deal in 2012. That same year the band signed to Elton John’s management company, Rocket Entertainment Ltd.  Their debut album Snapshot was produced by Chris Thomas (Sex Pistols/Beatles) and made the top 5 in the UK album charts. Their follow up Little Victories album again cracked the UK top 20 and reached number one in their home country. The band has toured extensively on a worldwide scale achieving success in North and South America, Japan and Australia. Their TV appearances include Later with Jools Holland, Late Night with Letterman and the Conan O’Brien show as well as numerous European and Japanese programmes. The band has also been frequent guests on RTE’s Late Late Show. Renowned for their live shows, The Strypes won the Grulke Prize for Best International Act at the 2014 SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas. They have completed recording their third album with producer Ethan Johns at the legendary Rockfield Studios.  All four lads still live in Cavan because they say ‘it’s home, we love the place. The people have always supported us and continue to do so. We really enjoy being among family and friends’.

Neven Maguire 

Award-winning chef, Neven Maguire, is Head Chef/Owner of MacNean House & Restaurant in Blacklion, Co. Cavan, one of Ireland’s top restaurants and luxury guest houses, consistently winning awards for its cuisine and service. Recognised as one of Ireland’s most talented and innovative chefs, Neven began cooking at 12 years of age in the kitchen of the restaurant which was then run by his parents. He took over MacNean House & Restaurant in 2001. He has been named ‘Best Chef in Ireland’ at numerous awards and has also won Best Food and Drink Blog in Ireland. He has been awarded The Restaurants Association of Ireland’s ‘Mike Butt Award’ in honour of his contribution to the tourism industry.

Catherina McKiernan     

Catherina McKiernan is regarded as one of the world’s best ever cross country runners. Born in Cornafean, County Cavan, Catherina grew up on the family farm. Her first major success came in 1988 when she won the Irish schools cross country title. From there, her career as a cross country runner blossomed. She won silver in the World Cross Country championships four years in succession from 1992 to 1995. In these years, she finished top of the order of merit grand prix table. In 1994, she won the inaugural European Cross Country title. In 1992 and 1996, Catherina represented Ireland at the Olympic Games. In 1997, she moved up to the marathon and ran the fastest debut ever by a woman at the time, when she won the Berlin Marathon in a new Irish record of 2.23.44. In April 1998, she became the first Irish person to win the London Marathon.

In November of the same year, she broke her own Irish record to win the Amsterdam marathon in a time of 2.22.23 the current Irish marathon record. On the track, Catherina’s best times are 5,000 metres: 14.49 and 10,000 metres: 31.08. Catherina has also won several national titles on the track and cross country and remains one of Ireland’s favourite sports personalities. In 2004, she retired from competitive athletics and in 2005 she published her biography, “Running for My Life”. She is now a qualified Master Chi Running instructor.

Marcus Daly 

‘No man ever wielded in Montana such influence as was possessed by Marcus Daly - and no man ever did as much for the state or its people.  Generous to a fault ... Marcus Daly laid the foundation for the success of hundreds of Montanans. He built and gave homes to the widows of miners in Butte, built the city of Anaconda, aided in the development of livestock and agriculture in the Bitter Root, assisted in the construction of churches, and other community institutions, built smelters and mills, developed various industries throughout Montana and maintained the highest standard of wages for copper miners in the entire world in his day’.

- Montana Standard of July 5, 1936

Marcus Daly was born in Crosserlough on December 5, 1843, the youngest of eleven children.   He emigrated to New York at the age of fifteen. He moved West and became a foreman for the Walker Brothers, a banking and mining syndicate in Salt Lake City. In 1872, he married Margaret and in 1874 he became a citizen of the United States. The Walker Brothers sent Daly to the Montana Territory in 1876 to find and invest in a silver mine. Daly bought the Alice mine for the company and retained a one fifth interest for himself. In 1881, Daly sold his interest in the Alice mine and purchased the Anaconda Claim. This was mainly a silver mine until they hit a copper vein 300 feet deep and 100 feet wide. Copper was just coming into use for telegraph wire and electricity.

To reduce costs, Daly built a smelter on a site twenty-eighty miles west of Butte and built the town of Anaconda to support his smelter.  By 1889 he had a 22,000 acre ranch on which he had developed a huge agricultural enterprise.  By 1890, the copper mines of Butte were producing over seventeen million dollars worth of copper a year. In 1900 Marcus Daly died in New York City aged 58.  Professor Traolach O’Riordain, University of Montana has said “He truly was a colossus, the man, more than any other, who shaped the history of Montana and the West”.  When he died he was one of the major figures in American Industry and was known as ‘The Copper King of Montana’. Thousands of people attended his Memorial Mass. 

This obituary from the Butte Miner read:

‘Marcus Daly was a man to remember. He fought his way from dire poverty to fabulous riches.  A true empire builder, he was a man of extreme. A friend to his friends, to his enemies, remorseless and unforgiving. Daly, a father figure watched over his family, his friends and his employees with a heartfelt benevolence. It must be noted that when he ran the Anaconda Mining Company, he treated his employees better than most corporations of the time. More than any other man he built the Montana mining industry, he was a true son of Ireland, which he never forgot”

Father O’Reilly

Thomas O’Reilly, a native of Drumgora, Lurgan attended All Hallows College and was ordained for the diocese of Savannah, Georgia in June 1857 along with Patrick Hooke from Co. Westmeath.  Hooke and O’Reilly were appointed assistants at the Cathedral of St John

the Baptist in Savannah. An epidemic of yellow fever swept through the town, with both priests contracting the disease and Father Hooke dying in January 1859. O’Reilly was moved for health reasons to Atlanta and given responsibility for the parish and the surrounding missions. His territory was Albany, Covington, Dalton and Mariella.

The Civil War began in 1861 and the Confederate Army made Atlanta the administrative and distributive centre of the southeast because of its railroads and strategic location. When the battle neared Atlanta, O’Reilly was at the railroad station to give aid to the wounded being transferred from the battlefield to hospital. In 1864 he was appointed a Confederate chaplain by Bishop Augustine Verot but he assisted Union soldiers also. General William T. Sherman claimed Atlanta in September and intended to destroy the city whilst giving a ten day respite to the citizens to evacuate to Dalton and Chattanooga. O’Reilly was well known to Catholic soldiers in the Union army and he approached General Sherman through General Slocum who was stationed near the church in Atlanta.

He warned that if they burned the Catholic Church, all Catholics in the ranks of the Union army would mutiny. He also asked that all churches, the courthouse and other buildings be spared and this was accepted. Atlanta’s Church of the Immaculate Conception had been damaged in the destruction and the grateful Catholics of the city decided that rather than renovate, they would build a new one. Father O’Reilly continued his ministry but the strain of the war years and his poor health meant that he did not live to see the church completed.

‘The man who saved Atlanta’ is buried in a vault beneath the altar of the present church of the Immaculate Conception and the Georgia Civil War Heritage Trust placed a marker at the church dedicated to him for his contribution to the people and city of Atlanta.