Cornelius James Pelly

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Cornelius James Pelly, C.M.G., O.B.E. (8 April 1908 – 1985), was an Irish diplomat.

Pelly was the eldest son of Hyacinth Albert Pelly and Charity Maria Matthews of Heronsbrook, County Galway. His siblings were Hyacinth George, Cara Honoria, Evelyn Mary and Dolores. He was a descendant of Peter Pelly of Oghillymore, County Galway, who died in 1691. A later member of the family, Captain Peter Pelly, had served in the army of the Elector of Bavaria. He died in 1799 and was buried in Portumna Priory.

Pelly was educated at Clongowes Wood College and Trinity College Dublin, from which he received a B.A. in 1928.

He joined Indian Civil Service in 1931, becoming a member of the Indian Political Service in 1927 and a member of Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service from 1947 to 1955. During this time he served as Political Agent in Bahrain (1947–1952) and Kuwait (1952–1955). From 1955 to 1956 he was in the service of Abdullah III Al-Salim Al-Sabah.

Pelly was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1944. In 1952 he became a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George.

He married Una Patricia O'Shea of Lismore, County Waterford on 5 October 1949 they had 2 children, Laura (born 1952) and Peter (born 1957).

External links[edit]


  • The Landed Gentry of Ireland, Sir Bernard Burke (4th edition), London, 1958, p. 566.
  • Portumna Priory Inscriptions, Adrian James Martyn, in The Septs volume 29 no. 4, Minnesota, October 2008.