Cahill, Daniel William (DNB00)
CAHILL, DANIEL WILLIAM, D.D. (1796–1864), lecturer and author, third son of Daniel Cahill, C.E., and of his wife, Catherine Brett, was born at Ashfield, in the parish of Arless, Queen's County, Ireland, on 28 Nov. 1796, and received his rudimentary education at Ferris's academy, Athy. He became a student on the lay side of Carlow College, with the intention of entering the army, but changing his views, he, on 24 Oct. 1816, took up his residence at Maynooth, where he commenced a course of severe study. Here he passed through the classes of theology and natural philosophy, under Dr. Delahogue and Dr. John MacHale (afterwards archbishop of Tuam). In Hebrew and the cognate studies he became a great proficient, under Dr. Browne (afterwards bishop of Kilmore). Under Dr. Boylan he studied German, French, and Italian, becoming an adept scholar in all these languages. He received orders and was elected to the Dunboyne establishment of Maynooth, where he spent an additional period of years in reading a more advanced course of theology and ecclesiastical history. In 1825 he was elected to the professorship of natural philosophy in Carlow College, then under the rectorship of the Right Rev. Dr. Doyle, and his talents being also recognised at Rome, the degree of doctor of divinity was conferred on him by his holiness.
In Carlow College he continued for some years teaching not only natural philosophy, but mathematics and astronomy. At Seapoint, Williamstown, he conducted a seminary from 1835 to 1841. He was afterwards induced by many distinguished persons, desirous of having their children educated in the Roman catholic faith as well as in the higher sciences, to remove to Prospect, Blackrock, near Dublin, where he remained until 1846.
At this time he added to his other labours the editing of the ‘Dublin Telegraph.’ Meanwhile Dr. Cahill was known as a preacher of singular force and of great, yet simple, eloquence, and he at last gave up the seminary to have more time for this occupation. Later in life he took to religious polemics, and published many fierce attacks on the imperial government and the established church, in the shape of letters in the ‘Daily Telegraph.’
Having in 1853 received an invitation to visit the United States, he delivered a farewell address in Dublin, but circumstances arose which prevented his departure for several years. Sailing from Ireland, he arrived in New York 24 Dec. 1859, where he delivered a course of astronomical lectures to crowded audiences. In December and January 1860–1 he visited Boston, and gave a course of lectures, and then addressed large assemblies in several of the towns and cities of Massachusetts. Addresses for charitable purposes now engaged his attention, and he lectured and preached in various places in the United States and Canada. It is estimated that over 100,000 dollars were thus realised from his sermons for numerous catholic charitable institutions. He died in the Carney Hospital, Boston, on 28 Oct. 1864, and the body, after being embalmed, was deposited in a vault in the Holyrood cemetery. Here it remained for twenty years, when it was sent to Ireland and buried in Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin, on 9 March 1885. Cahill was six feet five inches in height, handsome, and of a commanding presence. He was the author of the following works: 1. ‘A Letter on the subject of the New Reformation,’ by W. Kinsella and D. W. Cahill, Carlow, 1827. 2. ‘A Letter to the Earl of Derby,’ 21 Oct. 1852. 3. ‘Letter to the Rev. J. Burns on the Adorable Sacrament of the Eucharist,’ Melbourne, 1854. 4. ‘Letters addressed to several Members of the British Cabinet,’ and ‘Speeches on Various Subjects,’ Dublin, 1856. 5. ‘Letter to Viscount Palmerston relating to the alleged Enlistment of Irishmen in the United States for the British Service,’ Melbourne, 1856. 6. ‘The Holy Eucharist,’ a lecture, Albany, 1860.[The Lamp, 7 June 1851, p. 361, with portrait, and 21 June, p. 392; The Universe, 19 Nov. 1864, 7 and 14 March 1885; Men of the Time, 1865, p. 144; Manchester Free Library Catalogue, 41246 to 41260; Comerford's Collections in Kildare and Leighlin (1883), pp. 198–200.]