Robert Blennerhassett (MP for Tralee)
Robert Blennerhassett (c.1622 – c.1689) was an Anglo-Irish soldier and politician.
Blennerhassett was the son of Captain John Blennerhassett and Martha Lynn. He was probably born at the family estate at Ballycarty Castle, County Kerry. His family, originally from East Anglia, had been granted large estates in Ireland by the Crown as part of the Plantations. He was the brother of John Blennerhassett MP.
Blennerhassett served as an officer in the Cromwellian army during the Irish Confederate Wars, ensuring that his lands remained intact. He was granted a full pardon following the Restoration of the Monarchy. He married Avice Conway, the daughter and heiress of Edward Conway, and a descendant of Henry I. In doing so he came into the possession of Castle Conway in Killorglin, which would subsequently become the manor of the Blennerhassett’s 7,000 acre Kerry estate. He served as the Member of Parliament for Tralee in 1674, as had his grandfather. Blennerhassett then served as High Sheriff of Kerry in 1682. His wife drowned at sea in 1683, and the last recording of Robert Blennerhassett is in 1689.
He had eleven children with Avice Conway. He was the grandfather of Conway Blennerhassett, and the great-grandfather of William Spring, Harman Blennerhassett and Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, 1st Baronet.
Conway Blennerhassett (3 October 1693 – 7 June 1724) was a member of the Irish House of Commons.
Blennerhassett was born at Castle Conway in County Kerry, the eldest son of John ‘Black Jack’ Blennerhassett and Elizabeth Cross. He was the grandson of Robert Blennerhassett. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, before entering Middle Temple in London in 1710. He was a practising lawyer and was invested as a member of the King’s Counsel. He served as the Member of Parliament for Tralee from 1723 to 1725.
He married Elizabeth Harman, the daughter of Colonel Wentworth Harman, with whom he had five children. He died prematurely at the age of 30. His grandson was Harman Blennerhassett.
Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, 1st Baronet
Colonel Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, 1st Baronet (1741 – 14 March 1821) was an Anglo-Irish lawyer and baronet.
Blennerhassett was the son of Robert Blennerhassett and Frances Yielding. He was the great-grandson of Robert Blennerhassett MP.
He trained as an attorney and practised law. He was the colonel of the ‘Laune Rangers’ militia regiment of volunteers from 1779 to 1782. Between 1796 and 1797 he was a Justice of the Peace in County Kerry. Blennerhassett resettled his family at Cahirmoreaun, just outside Tralee, renaming both the house and the village Blennerville in his family’s honour. He built a large new family home at Churchtown House, Knockane. In 1800 he was granted permission to hold four fairs a year and one market a week in Blennerville, which providing him with extra income. Blennerhassett established a Church of Ireland school in Blennerville, called the Erasmus Smith School, in 1812. On 22 September 1809 he was created a baronet of Blennerville in the County of Kerry, in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom. He was confirmed the right to bear the family coat of arms a year earlier.
Blennerhassett married his first cousin, Millicent Agnes Yielding, the daughter of Richard Yielding, on 31 October 1762. Millicent was killed in an accident in 1801. Together, they had five children:
- Sir Robert Blennerhassett, 2nd Baronet (26 January 1769 – 21 September 1831), married Rosanna Blennerhassett
- Richard Francis Blennerhassett (23 May 1772 – November 1827), married Agnes Denny, daughter of Sir Barry Denny, 1st Baronet
- Arthur Blennerhassett (27 October 1776 – 31 May 1839), married Hon. Helena Jane Mullins, daughter of Thomas Mullins, 1st Baron Ventry
- Rowland Blennerhassett (26 December 1780 – 12 April 1854), married Letitia Hurly
- William Blennerhassett (26 December 1780 – 1842), married Elizabeth Blennerhassett
Above; The grave of Sir Rowland Blennerhassett
Thomas Mullins, 1st Baron Ventry
Thomas Mullins, 1st Baron Ventry (25 October 1736 – 11 January 1824) was an Anglo-Irish politician and peer.
Mullins was the son of William Mullins and Mary Rowan. His great-grandfather had settled in County Kerry in 1666, purchasing land at Burnham, near Dingle, and had served as a Member of the Irish House of Commons. Mullins was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, graduating in 1754.
He served as High Sheriff of Kerry in 1759, and in 1760 was made a member of the Privy Council of Ireland. In 1790 he built a new stately home for his family overlooking Dingle harbour, called Burnham Manor. On 18 June 1793, over 4,000 people marched in Dingle to protest against high rents and the establishment of a local militia. Mullins, who assumed responsibility for the town on behalf of the Crown, brought in 70 soldiers from Limerick to break up the demonstration. The riot was quelled when soldiers were ordered to shoot at the crowd, and 14 farmers were killed with many others being injured.
In 1795, Mullins bought Castle Conway from his relation, Harman Blennerhassett. On 7 December 1797, he was created a baronet, of Burnham in the County of Kerry, in the Baronetage of Ireland. He was further honoured when, on 31 July 1800, he was created Baron Ventry of Burnham, in the Peerage of Ireland. This was largely due to the help he and his son, William, had given to Lord Castlereagh in securing the passage of the Irish Act of Union of 1800. Mullins died in 1834, and was succeeded by his eldest son, William Townsend Mullins, 2nd Baron Ventry.
On 7 October 1755, Mullins had married Elizabeth Gunn. They had twelve children:
- Hon. Theodora Mullins, married Edward Bruce, of Kilvoot, in 1772
- Hon. Elizabeth Mullins, married Richard Blennerhasset in June 1780
- Hon. Arabella Mullins (d. December 1821), married Richard McGillycuddy of the Reeks in February 1780, without issue
- Hon. Charlotte Mullins (d. 29 April 1816), married Richard Pierse Mahoney on 2 May 1792
- Hon. Catharine Mullins, married James Hozier on 28 December 1784
- William Townshend Mullins, 2nd Baron Ventry (1761–1827)
- Townshend Mullins (19 March 1763 – 1799), married Christabella Dayrolles and had one son, Thomas de Moleyns, 3rd Baron Ventry
- Lt-Col Hon. Thomas Mullins (d. 1823)
- Hon. Richard Mullins (1766–1850), married Miss Grey and left issue
- Hon. Helena Jane Mullins (1773–1846), married Arthur Blennerhasset, son of Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, 1st Baronet, in September 1799
- Maj. Hon. Edward Mullins (1777–1841), married Elizabeth Hillyard in 1805 and left issue
- Hon. Rev. Frederick Mullins (1778 – 30 December 1833), married Elizabeth Croker and left issue
William Mullins, 2nd Baron Ventry
William Townshend Mullins, 2nd Baron Ventry (25 September 1761 – 5 October 1827) was an Anglo-Irish politician and peer.
Mullins was the son of Thomas Mullins, 1st Baron Ventry and Elizabeth Gunn, the daughter of Townsend Gunn. He served as the Member of Parliament for Dingle between January and December 1800. In this capacity he was instrumental in the securing the passage of the Irish Act of Union of 1800, for which his father was awarded a peerage. He succeeded to his father’s title in 1824 and died three years later. He had been married three times but left no surviving male issue, and was succeeded by his nephew, Thomas de Moleyns, 3rd Baron Ventry.