South Kilkenny (UK Parliament constituency)

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South Kilkenny
Former County constituency
for the House of Commons
Number of members One
Created from County Kilkenny

South Kilkenny was a UK Parliament constituency in Ireland.

Boundaries and boundary changes[edit]

This county constituency comprised the southern part of County Kilkenny. From 1885 to 1922 it returned one Member of Parliament.

Before the United Kingdom general election, 1885 the area was part of the Kilkenny County constituency. The constituency ceased to be entitled to be represented in the UK House of Commons on the dissolution of 26 October 1922, shortly before the Irish Free State came into legal existence on 6 December 1922.

First Dáil[edit]

The constituency was, in Irish republican theory, entitled to return one Teachta Dála (known in English as a Deputy) in 1918 to serve in the Irish Republic's First Dáil. Sinn Féin used the UK general election in 1918 to elect the Dáil. The revolutionary body assembled on 21 January 1919. The list of members read out on that day included everyone elected in Ireland. Only the Sinn Féin Deputies participated in the Dáil, but the other Irish MPs could have done so if they had chosen to adhere to the Republic.

The First Dáil, passed a motion at its last meeting on 10 May 1921, the first three parts of which make explicit the republican view.

  1. That the Parliamentary elections which are to take place during the present month be regarded as elections to Dáil Éireann.
  2. That all deputies duly returned at these elections be regarded as members of Dáil Éireann and allowed to take their seats on subscribing to the proposed Oath of Allegiance.
  3. That the present Dáil dissolve automatically as soon as the new body has been summoned by the President and called to order.

The Second Dáil first met on 16 August 1921, thereby dissolving the First Dáil.

Sinn Féin had decided to use the polls for the Northern Ireland House of Commons and the House of Commons of Southern Ireland as an election for the Irish Republic's Second Dáil. No actual voting was necessary in Southern Ireland as all the seats were filled by unopposed returns. Except for Dublin University all other constituencies elected Sinn Féin TDs. As with the First Dáil, the other Deputies could have joined the Dáil if they chose.

From the Third Dáil onwards the Dáil represented only the twenty-six counties which formed the Irish Free State.

In the 2nd and 3rd Dála Kilkenny South formed part of the Carlow–Kilkenny constituency.


Sinn Féin defeated the Irish Parliamentary Party by better than 4 to 1 in the 1918 election. James O'Mara (1873 – 21 November 1948) had been Nationalist MP for the constituency 1900–1907. He had resigned the seat when he joined Sinn Féin.

Members of Parliament[edit]

Election Member Party Note
1885, December 4 Patrick Alexander Chance Irish Parliamentary Party split
1890, December 1 Anti-Parnellite Joined new organisation
1891, March 1 Irish National Federation Resigned
1894, September 7 Samuel Morris Irish National Federation
1900, October 6 James O'Mara Irish Parliamentary Resigned
1907, July 29 Nicholas Joseph Murphy Irish Parliamentary Declared bankrupt
1909, August 10 Matthew Keating Irish Parliamentary
1918, December 14 2 James O'Mara Sinn Féin Did not take his seat at Westminster
1922, October 26 UK constituency abolished


  • 1 Not an election, but the date of a party change. The Irish Parliamentary Party had been created in 1882, on the initiative of Charles Stewart Parnell's Irish National League. Both the IPP and the INL split into Parnellite and Anti-Parnellite factions, in December 1890. The Parnellites remained members of the Irish National League after the split and the Anti-Parnellites organised the Irish National Federation in March 1891. The two organisations and the United Irish League merged in 1900, to re-create the Irish Parliamentary Party.
  • 2 Date of polling day. The result was declared on 28 December 1918, to allow time for votes cast by members of the armed forces to be included in the count.


In 1918 the constituency used the first past the post system. In 1918 the electorate included all men, who were qualified to vote, if they had attained the age of 21. Female electors had to be at least 30 and meet property qualifications to acquire the franchise.

  • 1918 general election (1 seat)); polling 14 December, result declared 28 December
  • electors 16,410, voted 10,540, turnout 64.23%
  • James O'Mara (SF) 8,685 (82.40%)
  • Matthew Keating (N) 1,855 (17.60%)
  • majority 6,830 (64.80%)


External links[edit]

See also[edit]