This interesting surname is of Irish and Scottish origin, and is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic "MacCaba" a patronymic from the byname "Caba", a cape or hat. In the Middle Ages Irish chieftains imported fighting men from Scotland to augment their forces. Many of these mercenaries, known as gallowglasses, were the M(a)cCabes who came from Inis Gall in the Hebrides. They served the O'Reillys and the O'Rourkes of Counties Leitrim and Cavan, and received their name from the peculiar hats they wore.They remained in Ireland to find their own sept. William Putnam McCabe (1776 - 1821), was one of the most romantic figures among the United Irishmen. One Cathaoir M(a)cCabe, was a close friend of Turlough O'Carolan, the greatest of the M(a)cCabe bards, and wrote a beautiful lament for him when he died. Famous namebearers include: Edward Cardinal M(a)cCabe (1816 - 1885), and Eugine M(a)cCabe, a County Monaghan farmer, who wrote a number of popular plays which were performed at Dublin's Abbey Theatre. The Coat of Arms most associated with the family consists of a green shield with a wavy fess between three silver salmon swimming, and on the Crest is the top half of a griffin. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugh Mac Cabe, killed in battle, which was dated 1368, in the "Irish Annals", during the reign of Rory O'Connor, "Last Native High King of Ireland", 1166 - 1175. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2022
Enjoy this name printed onto our colourful scroll, printed in Olde English script. An ideal gift.