29 July-Dr Robert Cane (1807-1858) Kilkenny City

Dr Robert Cane was a native of Kilkenny, Ireland. He studied medicine and established a successful practice in Kilkenny City. Cane became involved in politics and was a supporter of the Repeal Association. Though not involved in the Rebellion of 1848 he was imprisoned for a lengthy period under the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act. Cane was twice elected as Mayor of Kilkenny.

Dr Robert Cane was born in Kilkenny in 1807. He was educated locally and then worked for a time as an assistant to a pharmacist. He later went on to study medicine at Trinity College Dublin and at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. During his time at Trinity College, Cane became involved in student politics and attended meetings about national issues of the day. He returned to Kilkenny to give medical assistance during the cholera epidemic of 1832. Robert Cane later moved to Edinburgh where he was awarded his MD at Edinburgh Medical School in 1836.

Following graduation from Edinburgh, Cane returned to Kilkenny where he set up a practice in the city. He became involved in national affairs and in local politics in Kilkenny where he was friendly with the writer John Banim. He also joined Daniel O’Connell’s Repeal Association. In 1840 he hosted a banquet for Daniel O’Connell during a visit by the Liberator to the city. Robert Cane was elected Mayor of Kilkenny in 1844.

William Smith O’Brien founded the Irish Confederation in 1847 when he and others withdrew from the Repeal Association. Robert Cane joined the Confederation, however his views, particularly on the use of violence, were at variance with the Confederation and he took no part in the Rising of 1848. Despite this he was arrested and imprisoned. The Rising had led to the suspension of Habeas Corpus and resulted in Cane being imprisoned for a lengthy period. Following his release he was again elected mayor of Kilkenny. On February 19th 1849 he was one of group of people who met to establish an Archaeological Society for the ‘County and City of Kilkenny and surrounding districts’. He was eventually elected chairman of the organisation on April 3rd 1849.

Dr Cane founded the Celtic Union in Kilkenny in 1853. It was a literary society with a strong political bias and intended to publish material relating to Irish history. The Union produced a magazine called ‘The Celt’ and Cane acted as editor. Dr Cane died of consumption on August 16th 1858. In 1859 a series of articles entitled ‘History of the Williamite and Jacobite Wars of Ireland from their origin to the capture of Athlone’, which Cane had written, were published by the Celtic Union.

Dr Robert Cane was arrested and imprisoned following the Young Irelander Rebellion in the year 1848 On This Day.

The Tholsel, Kilkenny by National Library of Ireland on The Commons on 1870-01-01 00:00:00

Court House, Kilkenny, 1908 by National Library of Ireland on The Commons on 1908-07-01 00:00:00

High Street Fashion by National Library of Ireland on The Commons on 1955-01-01 00:00:00


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