Dr. Robert Cane, who was born in Kilkenny in 1807, was a prominent member of the Repeal Association and of the Irish Confederation. He was educated in Dublin, qualified as M.D. in 1836, and spent the rest of his life in Kilkenny, where he practised his profession and took an active part in national affairs.
He became a member of the Corporation and filled the office of Mayor on two occasions. Following the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act in July, 1848, he was imprisoned for some months, and his second election to the Mayoral chair followed at the first available opportunity after his release as an expression of the citizens\’ appreciation of his national character.
He founded the Celtic Union in 1853, and in 1857 edited its organ, \’The Celt,\’ the first number of which appeared on the 1st August, 1857. In the Prospectus of the Journal, Cane wrote:- \”Men loving Ireland, and everything Irish; have long felt the want of a cheap periodic home literature – a literature, whose price will not embarrass its circulation, and whose aim should be to have its pages suited to all classes, and its contents redolent of Nationality. The Managing Committee of the Celtic Union have resolved to issue such a work, and keeping its editorship under their own care, promise that it shall be Irish, Celtic, Catholic and Progressive.\” The journal ceased publication for a time after Cane\’s death, which occurred on the 17th August 1858, in his 52nd year. He was buried in his native city.