Lord Lieutenant of Ireland - Who Held The Office

Who Held The Office

see also List of Lords Lieutenant of Ireland

Until the 16th century Irish or Anglo-Irish noblemen such as the 8th Earl of Kildare and the 9th Earl of Kildare traditionally held the post of Justiciar or Lord Deputy. Following the plantations, however, noblemen from Great Britain were given the post. The last Irish Catholic to hold the position was Lord Tyrconnell from 1685–91, during the brief Catholic Ascendancy in the reign of James II that was ended by the Williamite war in Ireland. Until 1767 none of the latter lived full time in Ireland. Instead they resided in Ireland during meetings of the Irish Parliament (a number of months every two years). However the British cabinet decided in 1765 that full time residency should be required to enable the Lord Lieutenant to keep a full time eye on public affairs in Ireland.

In addition to the restriction that only English or British noblemen could be appointed to the viceroyalty, a further restriction following the Glorious Revolution excluded Roman Catholics, though it was the overwhelming faith of the majority on the island of Ireland, from holding the office. The office was restricted to members of the Anglican faith. The first Catholic appointed to the post since the reign of the Catholic King James II was in fact the last viceroy, Lord FitzAlan of Derwent, in April 1921.

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