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The ‘Incredible Mr Kavanagh’: Arthur MacMurrough Kavanagh, P.C., M.P. (1831-1889)

by Familia Ulster Genealogical Review 1999


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by Norman Nevin, Peter Froggatt

"Arthur MacMurrough Kavanagh was born on 25 March 1831 in his ancestral home, Borris House in County Carlow. He was descended from Murrough, ancient king of Leinster, whose grandson was Dermot, infamous for having invited the Normans to Ireland in 1167. After many swings of fortune the family emerged in the post-Williamite period as one of power and fortune.

Our subject's father, Thomas, succeeded to Borris in 1818. His first wife was Lady Elizabeth Butler, daughter of the 17th earl of Ormonde who bore him one son (who died aged nine) and no less than nine daughters.

When she died (possibly of a surfeit of daughters) Thomas, now master of Borris, married Lady-Harriet le Poer Trench, daughter of the 2nd earl of Clancarty, and had a daughter, also Harriet but nicknamed 'Hoddy', and three sons, Thomas, Charles, and the youngest, my subject, Arthur."

This article looks at Arthur MacMurrough Kavanagh, an outstanding horseman, hunter, fisherman, grand juror and poor law guardian. He also hunted, sketched, wrote an extensive 'journal', took some pioneering photography, and salmon-fished in Norway.