Otway, Caesar (1780–1842), protestant clergyman, travel writer, and antiquary, was the elder son in the family of two sons and two daughters of Loftus Otway (1755–89), a merchant at Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, and his wife Sarah, daughter of William Woodward of Cloughprior. Born in Co. Tipperary (1780), he entered TCD (6 December 1796) and graduated BA (1801). After ordination in the established church (1805), he served as curate in a remote rural parish, Drung, Co. Cavan (1808–11). Still a curate, he moved to Leixlip, Co. Kildare (1811), and from there to be perpetual curate (equivalent to rector but unbeneficed) at Lucan, a neighbouring parish in Co. Dublin (1822–6).
While at Lucan he started with Joseph Henderson Singer (qv) a religious magazine, The Christian Examiner and Church of Ireland Magazine (July 1825), the first to appear in Ireland. Its tendency was evangelical: emphasis was on the Bible and the pastoral role of the lower clergy, while the catholic church was treated with disapproval. Otway obtained poorly remunerated positions in Dublin and wrote profusely. He became secretary of the Incorporated Society for Promoting English Protestant Schools in Ireland (c.1826), curate of St George's Chapel (1829), assistant chaplain at the Magdalen Church, Leeson St. (1836) and a minor canon of St Patrick's Cathedral (1836). Assessments of his preaching ability varied greatly. His earliest known publication was a contribution to the controversy about appointment of catholic bishops, A letter to the Roman Catholic priests of Ireland (1814). Ten years later, when many catholics held that miraculous cures were being brought about by the prayers of a German priest, Prince von Hohenlohe, Otway published A lecture on miracles (1823), in which he rejected the possibility. No less controversial, and evangelical in tendency, were his The word of God weighed against the commandments of men (1825) and A letter in reply to the strictures of the Right Rev. Dr Doyle on the late charge of the lord bishop of Ferns (1827).
During the summer of 1822 he spent three weeks touring Ireland, his impressions of which he later published in the Christian Examiner (September–November 1825) and republished as Sketches in Ireland descriptive of interesting and hitherto unnoticed districts in the north and south (1827; repr. 1839). The tour showed an antiquarian interest already revealed in a paper (‘On a vitrified fort in the county of Cavan’) Otway had communicated to the RIA (January 1817) and was perhaps a reason he was elected MRIA (23 June 1828). In pursuit of intellectual interests Otway founded, with George Petrie (qv), the Dublin Penny Journal (30 June 1832). Profusely illustrated, it was topical but avoided religious matters and was strictly non-political – despite Otway's evangelical and tory sympathies; its content was literary and scientific as well as topographical and antiquarian; each weekly issue contained some paragraphs in the Irish language.
In the early summer of 1838, in order to visit the colony on Achill Island established by Edward Nangle (qv) with support from Otway himself, he travelled to the west of Ireland and on his return published A tour in Connaught comprising sketches of Clonmacnoise, Joyce Country and Achill (1839), which contains descriptions of Clonmacnoise and of pilgrimages to Croagh Patrick. In his writings Otway is censorious of ‘popery’ and ‘priestcraft’ while fascinated by Irish folk customs and warmly sympathetic to the Irish peasantry. It was he who promoted William Carleton (qv) by publishing, in the Christian Examiner, his first two articles, and an assessment in the Dublin University Magazine (January 1841). Caesar Otway died 16 March 1842 and was buried at St Ann's Church. Before his death he was living at 55 Aungier St., Dublin. His first marriage (1803), to Frances Hastings, daughter of a future dean of Achonry, James Hastings (d. 1820), produced three sons and two daughters. His second marriage (1837), to Elizabeth, a daughter of William Digges La Touche (qv), was childless.