Arthur Kavanagh lived here
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Arthur Kavanagh lived here

The disabled politician and adventurer Arthur Kavanagh died here


The remarkable Irish politician Arthur MacMurrough Kavanagh (1831-1889) lived out the end of his days here.

He was born in County Carlow and spent his youth travelling with his mother to far flung places like Rome and Egypt. By the age of 18 he had travelled to Russia, India, Sinai, Jerusalem too. He also wrote a book about hunting in Albania.

He returned to Ireland in his mid-20's and settled down to run the family estate, and married his cousin. He designed and built the villages of Borris and Ballyragget, and won the Royal Dublin Society's medal.

Arthur was a Justice of the Peace for Wexford, Kilkenny, and Carlow. He became High Sheriff of Kilkenny in 1856 and of Carlow in 1857. In 1862 he became chairman of the board of guardians for New Ross Poor-house.

What is truly remarkable, in the Victorian era, was that he achieved all this after being born with no limbs and minor use of fingers at one shoulder.

He died from pneumonia here on Christmas day, 1889, and was shipped home to be buried in the ruined church on Ballycopigan, a wooded hill in the grounds of his family's mansion at Borris.

Location: 19 Tedworth Square, Chelsea