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Joseph Henry Blake, 3rd Baron Wallscourt (1797–1849) was an Irish nobleman and socialist.

Wallscourt, born Blake (one of The Tribes of Galway), grew up on the Ardfry estate near in Maree. The son of the agent on the estate, he was educated at Eton before joining the 85th Regiment of Foot at the age of 15. When, at 18, he unexpectedly inherited the Ardfry estate with the Wallscourt title, he abandoned his military career.

It was during subsequent travels in Europe, according to Wallscourt, that he was first impressed by "some of the theories, then much debated, for lifting the labourer into the position of partner with the capitalist." Following a visit to the co-operative commune at Ralahine in County Clare–about 40 miles from his home–he attempted to implement socialist theories on his own estate. The results, evidently, were mixed, but he persisted until his early death of cholera in Paris.

In the last years of his life, Wallscourt joined the Irish Confederation, but, while he supported the French revolutionaries of 1848, he could not be convinced that armed revolution was a practical proposition in the famine-stricken Ireland of that time.

Sources

Cunningham, John. Lord Wallscourt of Ardfry (1797-1849): an early Irish socialist, Journal of the Galway Archaeological & Historical Society, vol.57 (2005), pp. 90-112.

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