The wild man of County Carlow

In the first of an occasional series profiling remarkable, yet unheralded, characters from history, Clare Walker Gore introduces a severely disabled Irishman who trekked 4,000 miles across Europe and Asia before making waves in the House of Commons

Borris, County Carlow, Ireland. (Photo by Timothy Seren/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

This article was first published in the March 2016 issue of BBC History Magazine 

When Arthur MacMurrough Kavanagh took his seat in the House of Commons in 1866, you might think that he was doing exactly what was expected of him. The head of one of the oldest aristocratic families in Ireland, and the owner of a great estate, what could be more predictable than that Arthur should follow in his father’s stead and enter parliament?

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