The rise of Thomas Mullins during the 1790s brought to the fore a figure with notable Williamite connections, who for that reason, and for his transformation into a property magnate, struck fear into the old houses of Kerry. Mullin’s rise amazed his Kerry contemporaries, his crowning achievement the award of a baronetcy in 1797, followed by promotion to the peerage as Baron Ventry in 1800 for his support of the Act of Union. Judge Day referred to him as “the Mighty Thane of Corcaguiny”, with obvious fear for what Mullins would bring to Kerry politics, and one candidate at least is urged to make the journey west to Mullins’s residence at Burnham, near Dingle, to win his support in a forthcoming election. During the 1790s Mullins purchased the estate of Harman Blennerhassett of Killorglin as Harman left for America. He also purchased property from the Rowans in West Kerry. He was descended from the Rowans and Provost William Rowan of Tralee was his cousin.
For his politics Mullins exploited his kinship with the Blennerhassetts at a time when that family’s fortunes were at a low ebb. Mullins’s marriage to the daughter of Townshend Gun of Rattoo (whose wife Elizabeth was Black Jack Blennerhassett’s daughter) allied him with the wealthy Gun-Cunninghame family of Newtownmountkennedy in Wicklow, where one of the Townshend Guns had married. What stopped Mullins in his tracks in the first decade of the new century, and forced him to make common cause with the old houses of Kerry, was the outbreak of rural insurrection in North Kerry, which culminated in 1808.