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My ancestors - Blennerhassett - Contents

Robert Blennerhassett, of Ballycarty, Co.Kerry

Robert Blennerhassett, of Ballycarty, Co.Kerry,
born est c.1570, Cumberland, England.
His father was granted lands in Co.Kerry, Ireland, in 1590.
His father stayed in England but Robert settled in Ireland after 1590.
He lived Ballycarty Castle.
He mar Elizabeth Conway [born est c.1575, descendant of Henry I, hence the entire Blennerhassett family of Co.Kerry has a Royal Descent].

He got further grant of land in Ireland 1611.
He was the first Provost of Tralee 1611.
He was the first MP for Tralee 1613.
He acquired c.1620 (post-1619) the forfeited Desmond estate of Ballyseedy Castle, in Ballyseedy parish, Co.Kerry.
He obtained the advowson of Ballyseedy 1622.
He built c.1627 the second Ballyseedy Castle.
He fl 1641.
Robert and Elizabeth had issue:

  1. John Blennerhassett, of Ballycarty, Co.Kerry (and later of Ballyseedy).

  2. Arthur Blennerhassett, of Loughgur, Bruff, Co.Limerick.

Blennerhassett and variants listed in [Vicars' index of wills 1536-1810].
All of these wills were burnt in 1922.


Our descent from Blennerhassett of Ireland

Our family descend somehow from Blennerhassett of Ireland. The descent is through George Cashel (George Blennerhassett Cashel, born 1807, Co.Kerry).

Our exact connection is uncertain. The Cashel family story was that they were descended from a runaway marriage of a Protestant Blennerhassett daughter with their ancestor, a Catholic Mr. Cashel. The story was that she was disinherited for running away with a Catholic. [PAT/10, p.3] said: "Her family disowned her but the Cashels all thought it very romantic". The Cashels used "Blennerhassett" as a family middle name and even first name for multiple generations afterwards, but unfortunately neglected to clearly write down the descent. Pat Lavelle said it was the mother of George Cashel who ran away, and her name was Letitia Blennerhassett.

See Our family tradition of descent from a Letitia Blennerhassett.

George Blennerhassett Cashel's middle name displayed on mar cert of his son Blennerhassett Cashel in 1869.
See larger and full size.

Detail from grave of George's son Blennerhassett Cashel.


Letitia Blennerhassett

The only known Letitia Blennerhassetts of child-bearing age in 1807 are these two (who are both married at the time):
  1. Letitia Blennerhassett of Tarbert, Co.Kerry, born 1780, married 1stly 1799 to Richard Ponsonby and had issue, mar 2ndly 1811 to William Lindsay and had issue.

  2. Letitia Blennerhassett of Co.Limerick, born est c.1785, married 1807 to Samuel Harding and had issue.

"A. Blennerhasset, J.P."

When George Cashel joined the County Constabulary in Sept 1828, he was recommended by "A. Blennerhasset, J.P.".
One would imagine this is a relation. However, there were multiple prominent and respectable A. Blennerhassett's, even restricted to that time.
There are basically three candidates for this person:

  1. Arthur Blennerhassett, of Blennerville, Tralee. Appointed J.P. in 1822. In 1834 he is on a Grand Jury. Died (still a J.P.) in 1839.

  2. Sir Arthur Blennerhassett, 3rd Baronet, of Churchtown, Killarney. High Sheriff of Co.Kerry 1820-21. He married a Catholic 1826 and converted to Catholicism 1827. So might have been sympathetic to Cashel's position even if not close relative. Became 3rd Baronet 1831. In 1832 he is one of the Magistrates of Co.Kerry. Died 1849.

  3. Arthur Blennerhassett, of Ballyseedy, Tralee. High Sheriff of Co.Kerry 1821-22. In 1834 he is on a Grand Jury. In 1835 he is one of the Deputy Lieutenants of Co.Kerry, and one of the Magistrates of Co.Kerry. Died 1843.

George Cashel's RIC record.
Showing that he was recommended by "A. Blennerhasset, J.P." when he joined the County Constabulary in 1828.


Other possibilities

Of course "Letitia" could be an error. It is noted that none of the Cashels were given the name "Letitia". Some names that catch the eye in the Cashel family are:

Other possibilities that catch the eye are:

  1. Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, 1st Baronet (born 1741) had "other issue"
  2. Arthur Blennerhassett (born est c.1745) had illegitimate dau Elizabeth, who mar pre-1798 to Denis Murphy. Maybe Murphy died and she then mar Cashel? We would then be looking for the marriage of Cashel with the widow Elizabeth Murphy, having issue George Cashel, born 1807.
  3. Letitia Hurly would have the married name Letitia Blennerhassett after 1808.

DNA testing

DNA testing indicates a link of our family to these families that descend from Blennerhassett.
The link may not actually be through the Blennerhassett line though.



In fact, there is a Cashel or Cashell family, the Rowan Cashel family, that is itself descended from the Blennerhassetts. Perhaps the reason Edward and Letitia got together was because they were already connected (from a marriage in the 1720s).

There are also connections of Cashel to Blennerhassett through Harding and Lawrence:

  1. 1762 - Samuel Harding, of Silvermines, Co.Tipperary (where Cashel from),
    was Bondsman, 6th July 1762, see folio 190, MS 31883, Killaloe, Co. Clare, Marriage License Bonds,
    for marriage of William Lawrence, Gent., of Bureskeane, Co.Tipperary [poss. Borrisokane, far N of Co.Tipperary], and Mary Harding of Ballymonce, Co.Tipperary [unidentified], Spinster.
  2. 1807 - marriage of Letitia Blennerhassett to Samuel Harding of Harding Grove, Co.Limerick.
  3. 1816 - marriage of Rowan Cashel to the dau of William Lawrence of Silvermines, Co.Tipperary.
  4. 1831 - marriage of Henry George Cashel of Bushfield, Co.Tipperary, to Christiana Harding of Rock Lodge, Co.Limerick.
  5. 1850s - The wife of Rowan Francis Cashel has affair with Jonathan Harding, of Bessborough, Co.Tipperary, 1850s.


Our line

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