The eighteenth-century Irish parliament had its share of larger-than-life characters, as I have pointed out before. One of the most colourful was Thomas Whaley (MP for Newcastle, Co. Down 1785–90 and for Enniscorthy 1798–1800).
The son of an MP, Whaley left school at sixteen years of age with an allowance of £900 a year, and went to Paris with a tutor to ‘complete his education’ – in fact he ran up enormous gambling debts, and had to return to Ireland. He became an MP at eighteen years of age (MPs were supposed to be at least twenty-one). Continue reading