Maurice O Connell (1770-1825) was Daniel O Connell’s wealthy uncle. Daniel spent much of his early childhood with Maurice in Derrynane.
The O’Connells’ great house of Derrynane was accessible only by sea or horseback. The sea access was barely visible at sea within a half mile of the difficult bay entrance. Maurice ‘Hunting Cap’ O’Connell, became wealthy through smuggling butter, salt, hides out of the Kerry coast and tea & brandy in.
Maurice was always called ‘Hunting Cap’. He hated paying taxes, and new taxes were always being introduced. A new tax had been introduced on Beaver Hats, worn by Irish gentry. Beaver fur was the raw material for a high quality felt suitable for hat making. Felted Beaver fur could be processed into a hat that held its shape well even after successive wettings, making it perfect for Ireland. Maurice was so incensed about this tax that he gave up wearing Beaver Hats and instead wore a ‘chaipín’, or hunting cap. Ever after he was known as ‘Muiris an Chaipín’, or in English ‘Hunting Cap’.