Rowland Ponsonby Blennerhassett, MP (see here),
MP for Co.Kerry 1872-85:
Rowland served as Home Rule party MP for Co.Kerry 1872 to 1885.
His election in the Co.Kerry by-election of 6 Feb 1872 was a breakthrough for the Home Rule party. He defeated James Arthur Dease (Liberal).
The 1872 by-election was in the last few months of election by open vote in Ireland. (Secret ballot introduced in Aug 1872.) Unbelievably, up to this point, tenants had to vote in full view of and risking the wrath of their landlords. Indeed landlords often treated their tenants as simple extensions of their own vote, and used their agents to round up the tenants for voting at election time.
[PAT/12, p.14-15] quotes [Romantic Hidden Kerry, Thomas O'Sullivan, 1931] as telling the hilarious story of this election, with the agent leading a procession of tenants towards Tralee, but the voters kept escaping.
Kerry had two seats.
The other MP for Kerry in 1872-80 was
Henry Arthur Herbert.
The big breakthrough for Home Rule was the 1874 election when there were 60 Home Rule MPs elected.
Rowland mar 1876 to Mary Beatrice Armstrong.
The other MP for Kerry in 1880-85 was his 2nd cousin, the Liberal MP Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, 4th Baronet.
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