Above is a photo of cousin John with Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern who served in office from 26 June 1997 to 7 May 2008. I have spent a lot of time in Ireland myself, I have been travelling that way for four decades now. I have met John McCain only one time and that was on the Ole Miss campus. We talked about family history and lore. His family as most know is from Mississippi. From the little town of Teoc, in Carroll County. My family lived a few miles east of Teoc. His family and mine descend from a group of McCain cousins that settled in Mississippi in the 1830s when the Choctaw Indian lands opened for settlement. Growing up I knew his branch of the family was related to mine, but when you are a child you do not give much thought to those things. While writing my next book, Finding the McCains I researched the details of our kinship. The short version is we descend from the same immigrant ancestor who came from Ireland.
I have been over and visited the McCains in Ireland several times, which is always a great joy. My upcoming book is the story of how I located them. This book has been several years in the writing and I am looking forward seeing it in print at this point. It is a fascinating story, an account of my 40 year odyssey to find the McCain family in Ireland. John McCain and his cousin, novelist Elizabethan Spencer, both include a short history of the McCain family in their respective memoirs (Faith of our Fathers and Landscapes of the Heart). It was a romantic tale of Highland Scots who supported Mary Queen of Scots and who fled to Ireland after her downfall in 1568.
After 40 years of searching for them I used DNA testing to find them in the end. A lot of the oral history told by the Teoc McCains turned out to be true. I had many adventures in Ireland, all revealed in the upcoming book.