Henry Bruen (1741 –14 Dec 1795) was an Irish politician.
In the pre-Act of Union Parliament of Ireland, he was
Member of Parliament (MP) for Jamestown from 1783 to
1790, and then for Carlow County from 1790 until his
death in 1795.
Henry was the second son of Moses Bruen (died 1757),
from Boyle, County Roscommon. He married Dorothea
Henrietta Knox, daughter of Francis Knox, in 1787. They
had three sons and three daughters: their eldest son
Henry (1789–1852), was an MP for County Carlow for most
of the period from 1812 to 1852, and their youngest
child Francis was MP for Carlow Borough in the 1830s.
Henry's son Henry Bruen (1828–1912), was MP for County
Carlow from 1857 to 1880.
Extract from page 53 - Bruen of Oak Pak from the Carlow
Gentry by Jimmy O'Toole
"Henry came to Carlow after a career in the Quarter
Master General's office in the U.S. army, where he made
his fortune. The story -embellished, no doubt, by
political enemies of the family later - was that while
responsible for supplying coffins, he had them designed
with false bottoms, which facilitated re-cycling!
House party, Oak Park, Carlow,
October 1901. Oak Park was home to the Bruen
family. House parties were a significant feature
of big house life. Photo from the National
Library of Ireland
its source, Bruen certainly had a fortune, and during
the last decade of the 1790s. he took full advantage of
the forced sales of part of the Bagenal, Whaley and
Grogan estates in County Carlow. He bought 3,702 acres
from Thomas 'Buck' Whaley of Castletown, who had gambled
away his fortune. By 1841, when the surveyor Jacob
Neville prepared field maps of every Bruen farm for
Henry II, the family estates in County Carlow covered
20,089 acres. Land ownership meant political muscle and
in 1790. Henry Bruen I was returned to parliament with
William Burton of Burton Hall, in an uncontested
election. The old Anglo-Norman Butler family were not
amused by Bruen's steamrolling for the nomination,
feelings expressed by Lady Butler of Ballintemple in a
letter to The Leinster Journal about her grandson
Richard's chances of holding his seat. But she faced
disappointment in her opinion that he was "determined to
support an old and steady interest, and has the most
flattering prospect of having again the honour he now
From 1775 until 1957, the family lived in
Park House, near Carlow town.