The Irish and Scottish surname McCabe, is an anglicized form of the Gaelic name Mac Cába meaning “son of Cába,” a nickname or personal name deriving from the Gaelic word for a cape. In the Middle Ages Irish chieftains imported fighting men from Scotland to augment their forces. Many of these mercenaries, known as gallowglasses, were the McCabes 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 found their own sept. 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.” Notable bearers of the name include Edward Cardinal McCabe (1816 - 1885), and Eugene McCabe, a County Monaghan farmer, who wrote a number of popular plays which were performed at Dublin's Abbey Theatre.
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