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The Peerage of Ireland consists of those titles of nobility created by the English monarchs in their capacity as lord or king of Ireland, or later by monarchs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.[note 1] The creation of such titles came to an end in the 19th century. The ranks of the Irish peerage are duke, marquess, earl, viscount and baron. As of 2016, there were 135 titles in the Peerage of Ireland extant: two dukedoms, ten marquessates, 43 earldoms, 28 viscountcies, and 52 baronies. The Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland continues to exercise jurisdiction over the Peerage of Ireland, including those peers whose titles derive from places located in what is now the Republic of Ireland. Article 40.2 of the Irish Constitution forbids the state conferring titles of nobility and a citizen may not accept titles of nobility or honour except with the prior approval of the Government. As stated above, this issue does not arise in respect of the Peerage of Ireland, as no creations of titles in it have been made since the Constitution came into force.
In the following table, each peer is listed only by his or her highest Irish title, showing higher or equal titles in the other peerages. Those peers who are known by a higher title in one of the other peerages are listed in italics.
A handful of titles in the peerage of Ireland date from the Middle Ages. Before 1801, Irish peers had the right to sit in the Irish House of Lords, on the abolition of which by the Union effective in 1801 by an Act of 1800 they regularly elected a small proportion: twenty-eight representative peers of their number to the House of Lords at Westminster.
Both before and after the Union, Irish peerages were often used as a way of creating peerages which did not grant a seat in the English House of Lords and so allowed the grantee (such as Clive of India) to sit in the House of Commons in London. As a consequence, many Irish peers had little or no connection to Ireland, and indeed the names of some Irish peerages refer to places in Great Britain (for example, the Earldom of Mexborough refers to a place in England and the Earldom of Ranfurly refers to a village in Scotland). Irish peerages continued to be created for almost a century after the Union, although the treaty of Union placed restrictions on their numbers: three needed to become extinct before a new peerage could be granted, until there were only one hundred Irish peers (exclusive of those who held any peerage of Great Britain subsisting at the time of the union, or of the United Kingdom created since the union)– a condition still not achieved. There was a spate of creations of Irish peerages from 1797 onward, mostly peerages of higher ranks for existing Irish peers, as part of the negotiation of the Act of Union; this ended in the first week of January 1801, but the restrictions of the Act were not applied to the last few peers. Irish peerages were created in the early nineteenth century at least as often as the Act permitted, but the pace then slowed.
The last two grants of Irish peerages were: the promotion of the Marquess of Abercorn (a peerage of Great Britain) to be Duke of Abercorn in the Irish Peerage when he became Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland in 1868 and the granting of the Curzon of Kedleston barony to George Curzon when he became Viceroy of India in 1898. Peers of Ireland have precedence below peers of England, Scotland, and Great Britain of the same rank, and above peers of the United Kingdom of the same rank; but Irish peers created after 1801 yield to United Kingdom peers of earlier creation. Accordingly, the Duke of Abercorn (the junior Duke in the Peerage of Ireland) ranks between the Duke of Sutherland and the Duke of Westminster (both dukes in the Peerage of the United Kingdom).
When one of the Irish representative peers died, the Irish Peerage met to elect his replacement; but the officers required to arrange this were abolished as part of the creation of the Irish Free State. The existing representative peers kept their seats in the House of Lords, but they have not been replaced. Since the death of Francis Needham, 4th Earl of Kilmorey in 1961, none remains. The right of the Irish Peerage to elect representatives was abolished by the Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1971.
Titles in the Peerage of the United Kingdom have also referred to places in Ireland, for example Baron Arklow (created 1801 and 1881) or Baron Killarney (created 1892 and 1920). Since partition, only places in Northern Ireland have been used, although the 1880 title "Baron Mount Temple, of Mount Temple in the County of Sligo", was recreated in 1932 as "Baron Mount Temple, of Lee in the County of Southampton".
In the following table of the Peerage of Ireland as it currently stands, each peer's highest titles in each of the other peerages (if any) are also listed. Irish peers possessed of titles in any of the other peerages (except Scotland, which only got the right to an automatic seat in 1963, with the Peerage Act 1963) had automatic seats in the House of Lords until 1999.
Dukes in the Peerage of Ireland
|Title||Creation||Other Dukedom or higher titles
House of Lords titles
|Kingdom of Ireland|
|The Duke of Leinster||26 November 1766||Viscount Leinster in the Peerage of Great Britain until 1999||King George III|
|Lord Kildare in the Peerage of the United Kingdom from 1874–1999.|
|United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland|
|The Duke of Abercorn||10 August 1868||Marquess of Abercorn in the Peerage of Great Britain until 1999.||Queen Victoria|
Marquesses in the Peerage of Ireland
Earls in the Peerage of Ireland
- Subsidiary title.
Viscounts in the Peerage of Ireland
- Subsidiary title.
Barons in the Peerage of Ireland
- Subsidiary title.
- List of Irish representative peers
- Irish nobility, which distinguishes three groups of Irish nobility, the other two being:
- With the establishment of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the separate title "King of Ireland" ceased.
- "The Peerage of Ireland genealogy project". geni_family_tree. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
- "40.2" (PDF), Constitution of Ireland, Dublin: Stationery Office, archived from the original (PDF) on 30 July 2009
- "The Peerage of Ireland". www.cracroftspeerage.co.uk. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
- Cracroft's Peerage – The Peerage of Ireland
- Courthope, William (editor) (1838). Debrett's Complete Peerage of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland: 22nd edition. London.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- Lodge, John; Archdall, Mervyn (1789). The Peerage of Ireland: Volume I. Dublin: James Moore.
- Lodge, John; Archdall, Mervyn (1789). The Peerage of Ireland: Volume II. Dublin: James Moore.
- Kimber, Edward (1768). The Peerage of Ireland: Volume II. London: J Alman.