Blennerhassett Family Tree
Genealogy one-name study      by Bill Jehan
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Pistols at Dawn 
Cased pair of "Wogdon and Barton" flintlock dueling pistols, London, c1795


John Blennerhassett ( 1733, eldest son of William Blennerhassett Sr. of Elm Grove, Ballyseedy) died at Tralee, shortly before 19-Jan-1762 “...of a wound he received in a duel...”. This duel, with James Mahony, was fought at night in one of the large rooms of the Tralee market house. It was reported that a lantern had been placed behind John Blennerhassett, to attract his opponent's aim. Mahony was arrested & charged with murder [“Faulkner's Dublin Journal” 19-23.1.1762].
NOTE: [BIFR p.140] has this John Blennerhassett as “died possibly at Nice, France 1774”, but it was his 1st cousin, John Blennerhassett Jr, son of John Blennerhassett of "old" Ballyseedy, who died at Nice in 1774. 


Sir Barry Denny, 2nd Baronet of Castle Moyle, was grandson of Agnes Blennerhassett & Sir Thomas Denny, Knt, of Tralee. He was High Sheriff of Kerry until elected (briefly) as MP for Kerry in 1794, having taken his father's seat unopposed. He died during an election duel with his cousin Col.John Gustavus Crosbie. At his death Sir Barry had been about to be raised to the peerage as Baron Castlemore.
Col. Crosbie, after the death of his brother-in-law John Blennerhassett of Elm Grove, Ballyseedy (one of two sitting MPs for Co.Kerry) was a rival candidate with Col. Herbert of Mucross for the Kerry seat in the 1794 election. Col. Crosbie was supported by the Blennerhassett family, Col.Herbert by the Crosbie family. In the course of the election campaign, Col.Crosbie took offence at some real or supposed breach of a promised neutrality on the part of the other Kerry MP, the young and recently married Sir Barry Denny.
The result of this quarrel was a duel, on 20-Oct-1794 at Oak Park, Killeen, Tralee. Sir Barry Denny was killed with a shot through the head “ the haphazard aim of a man who had never before discharged a pistol in his life...” and Col. Crosbie was returned as MP for Kerry.
In 1797 (some sources have 1795) as Col.Crosbie was riding home at night from Churchill to Tubrid, he fell or was thrown from his horse and died. This was the result, it was claimed, of his being been earlier poisoned by the Denny family [BIFR p.298]. Popular legend claimed Crosbie's death had been caused by the ghost of Sir Barry Denny.


Richard Francis Blennerhassett of Blennerville (1772-1817), supported by his friend Thomas Blennerhassett of Caherine (Warning who was this ?) fought a duel at Tralee with John O'Connell of Grenagh (1778-1853), younger brother of "The liberator" Daniel O'Connell.
Following an argument over politics, John O'Connell entered the Billiard Room in Tralee and accosted Richard Blennerhassett in terms which induced him to demand a meeting. John O'Connell was shot in the mouth and seriously injured.
The duel was fought on 18-Jan-1813 at Tralee, with pistols. “...Mr.Blennerhassett fired first and was immediately returned by Mr.O'Connell. Neither shot took effect. Mr Blennerhassett fired his second. The ball entered Mr O'Connell's mouth, knocking out two teeth & severely injuring his lower jaw and lodged in the back of his neck...” [TIMES 28-Jan-1813] [“Limerick Chronicle” 23-Jan-1813] [“Limerick Evening Post” 30.1.1813].


Henry Arthur O'Connor was killed in a duel with Rowan Cashell that took place “in the grounds of the old building at Ballyseedy”. That is, near "old" Ballyseedy House, the ruins of which may still be seen, on south bank of the River Lee at the west end of Ballyseedy Wood.


In 1832 Arthur Blennerhassett of Ballyseedy (1799-1843) fought a duel with Maurice O'Connell (1803-53) of Derrynane (Lawyer, Politican, MP Co.Clare 1831-2, MP Tralee 1832-53, eldest son of "The Liberator" Daniel O'Connell).

The cause of the duel was a dispute over Arthur Blennerhassett canvassing voters, who had already promised their support to Maurice O'Connell, to support the rival candidate Sir Edward Denny. During evening of 29.11.1832 Maurice O'Connell called at Ballyseedy House, leaving a letter Arthur Blennerhassett with Mrs Frances Blennerhassett. For involving his wife, Arthur challenged O'Connell to a duel. They met with pistols at 5 am on 30-Nov-1832, but neither was hurt [TIMES 6-Dec-1832] [“Dublin Evening Mail”]. 

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