Arthur MacMurrough Kavanagh, probably the most famous of all the Kavanaghs, was born in 1831 to Thomas MacMurrough Kavanagh of Borris and his second wife Lady Harriet. Despite medical concerns beforehand, nothing could have prepared the family for the handicap with which their third son was born, the reason being that he was deformed, having only six inch stumps where his legs and arms should have been. However, despite his physical condition, he grew up to be the most extraordinary member of his family, and a source of inspiration for the disabled worldwide. He became a real all-rounder, travelling extensively in Europe, Asia and India and excelling at boar hunting, shooting, horse riding, yachting and fishing.
In February 1853 Arthur took over the running of the estate, which was severely neglected at this time, due to the effects of the Potato Famine. He was widely recognised as a progressive landlord, improving farming methods and undertaking much building in the village. Aged 35, he was elected M.P. for County Wexford, and in 1868, he was returned for County Carlow. He died on Christmas morning 1889 at the age of 58. He was unique for the determined way in which he overcame his physical disabilities to lead a full and active life.
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