Richard Martin

Martin, Richard, of Ballinahinch Castle, the “Animals' Friend,” was born towards the close of the 18th century.

He was the owner of a property of some 192,000 acres in Connemara, extending thirty miles from Oughterard to Clifton, and from Lough Corrib to the Atlantic, containing within its limits some of the finest scenery in the west of Ireland, where he exercised something nearly akin to feudal rule.

He is best remembered as the introducer in Parliament, in 1822, of the Act of 3 George IV. c. 71—“To prevent the cruel and improper treatment of cattle”—the first modern enactment in the United Kingdom for protecting the rights of animals.

Mr. Martin, who was member for the County of Galway, pressed the Bill with extraordinary resolution, in the face of great opposition from the Attorney-General, and even from Mr. Buxton, who desired its postponement.

The second reading was carried on the 24th May, the third on 10th June, and the Bill received the royal assent on 22nd July.

It is sad to have to record that Mr. Martin died in poverty, 6th January 1834, at Boulogne, whither he had retired to be out of the way of his creditors.

The famine and subsequent sales by the Encumbered Estates Court completed the ruin of his family, and his granddaughter, Mrs. Bell Martin [see p. 333], once “the Princess of Connemara,” died in indigent circumstances in New York in 1850.


57. Burke, Sir Bernard: Vicissitudes of Families. 2 vols. London, 1869.

158. Hansard's Parliamentary Debates.
Hardiman, James, see Nos. 188, 346.
Harris, Walter, see Nos. 110a, 160a, 339, 347a.

314. Statutes, Public General, of the United Kingdom.