Irish House of Lords

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During the years Ireland was a separate kingdom, ruled by the English monarch, it was governed by an Irish House of Commons and Irish House of Lords, modeled after the House of Commons and House of Lords at Westminster.[1]

Individuals would be created peers in the Irish peerage as a reward for merit, like winning a significant battle in wartime. Alternately peers were created in what we would now consider patronage, to pay off a political favour.

Earning an Irish peerage was considered much less prestigious than earning a peerage in the English House of Lords, or its successor the House of Lords of Great Britain.

After the Act of Union merged Great Britain and Ireland into the United Kingdom all of the peers who sat in the House of Lords of Great Britain retained their titles and offices, while only 28 Irish Peers would sit in the new United Kingdom House of Lords.[2] Those Irish peers were selected by their fellow peers.

Some prominent individuals, like Richard Wellesley, the elder brother to Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington, held titles in the Irish Peerage, and had new titles created in House of Lords of Great Britain.[3] Richard Wellesley inherited the Irish title Earl of Mornington, and, four years prior to the Act of Union, in 1787, was created Baron Wellesley in the peerage of Great Britain. A Baronage is the most junior step in the peerage, but this was the more important title, in practice, as it entitled him to sit in the more important House of Lords.

References

  1. Lords of the Ascendancy: the Irish House of Lords and its members 1600-1800, F.G. James (Irish Academic Press, Dublin and The Catholic University of America Press, Washington £27.50), History Ireland. Retrieved on 2022-06-30. “What emerges from the narrative offered is that the Irish peerage remained small and the House of Lords relatively inconsequential until the early seventeenth century when James I and Charles I made an unprecedented eighty-five creations.”
  2. Peers of Ireland. Retrieved on 2022-06-30. “By virtue of the Act of Union of 1800 the Peers of Ireland elected 28 of their number to sit in the House of Lords as representatives.”
  3. WELLESLEY (formerly WESLEY), Richard Colley, 2nd Earl of Mornington [I (1760-1842), of Dangan Castle, co. Meath], History of Parliament online. Retrieved on 2022-06-30. “...took name of Wellesley 1789; cr. Baron Wellesley [GB] 20 Oct. 1797; Marquess Wellesley [I] 2 Dec. 1799; K.G. 3 Mar. 1810.”