John Edward Walsh

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John Edward Walsh PC, QC (12 November 1816 – 20 October 1869) was an Irish lawyer and Conservative politician. He served as Attorney-General for Ireland in 1866 and as Master of the Rolls in Ireland from 1866 to 1869.

Background and education[edit]

Walsh was born at Finglas, County Dublin, where his father, Robert Walsh, was rector. His mother was Anne Bayly. He was educated at Bective College, and matriculated at Trinity College, Dublin, in July 1832. He was elected a Scholar of the College in 1835, and graduated B.A. in 1836, obtaining a senior moderatorship in ethics and logics and gaining a gold medal. He was a distinguished speaker also at the College Historical Society. Walsh was called to the Irish Bar in 1839, and graduated LL.D. in his University in 1845. He published, in collaboration with Richard Nun, Q.C., a work on The Powers and Duties of Justices of the Peace in Ireland, which was long a standard text-book on this subject. He was a reporter in the Court of Chancery from 1843 to 1852; was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1857, and Crown Prosecutor for Dublin in 1859.[1]

Political, legal and judicial careers[edit]

Walsh was Member of Parliament for Dublin University from 1866 to 1867 and served as Attorney-General for Ireland from 25 July to 1 November 1866. He was sworn of the Irish Privy Council on 17 August 1866. he left the House of Commons when he was appointed Master of the Rolls in Ireland in 1867, an office he held until his death.

It seemed probable that a long and distinguished career lay before him, but it was not to be. In the autumn of 1869 he went on a tour to Italy, his health not being very robust. He contracted a fever in the Roman Campagna and died at Paris on his way home on 20 October.[1]

He published in 1847 Ireland Sixty Years Ago, dealing with Grattan's Parliament and the first quarter of the 19th century, which was published originally as a series of articles in the Dublin University Magazine. It was afterwards re-issued in 1877 as Ireland Ninety Years Ago.[1]


He married Blair Belinda MacNeill, daughter of Captain Gordon MacNeill of Dublin, in 1841. They had five sons and a daughter. His eldest son Robert Walsh was Archdeacon of Dublin from 1909 until 1917. Another son, Henry Deane Walsh, emigrated to Australia, where he became one of the foremost engineers of his time, and did much to improve Sydney Harbour.


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
James Whiteside and
Anthony Lefroy
Member of Parliament for Dublin University
With: Anthony Lefroy
Succeeded by
Hedges Eyre Chatterton and
Anthony Lefroy
Legal offices
Preceded by
James Anthony Lawson
Attorney-General for Ireland
July–November 1866
Succeeded by
Michael Morris
Preceded by
Thomas Cusack-Smith
Master of the Rolls in Ireland
Succeeded by
Edward Sullivan