Co. Dublin was not a large county, but its electorate was still surprisingly small in view of its proximity to the capital. In 1785 the chief interests were listed as the Archbishop of Dublin, Lord Meath, Lord Howth, Colonel Talbot, Lord Carhampton, Mr Domvile(0647), Luke Gardiner, Sir Edward Newenham, Sir Stratford Tynte and Mr Deane (0605), and it was noted that the county was 'much influenced by popular interests. Many of the voters inhabitants of the city and suburbs' - this must have increased as the city grew throughout the century.
A political commentator of 1790 thought that 'From its numerous subdivisions of property, owing to the various villas and country seats of gentlemen of fortune and opulent citizens in the vicinity of the metropolis, its electors are indeed numerous and should be independent', but he complains this is not so.144 Indeed, successive generations of the leading interests sat for the county. John Allen, with two short breaks (1695-9 and 1713-4), sat from 1692 until his elevation to the peerage in 1717. Sir Compton Domvile was returned in 1727 and sat for the county until his death in 1768; his father Sir Thomas (0649) had sat for Mullingar in the 1692 parliament of William III, while his cousin, William, sat for Co. Dublin from 1717 to 1727. The Brabazon family, Earls of Meath, represented the county in successive generations, and Anthony Brabazon represented Co. Dublin from 1761 until he succeeded his father as Earl of Meath in 1772. He was succeeded by Luke Gardiner, who represented the county until he was elevated to the peerage in 1789.
Sir Edward Newenham, a noted duellist, represented the popular interest from 1776 to 1797. When the poll for Co. Dublin closed on 14 May 1790 the voting was: Sir Edward Newenham 867, John Finlay 709, R. W. Talbot 745; the Sheriff declared Sir Edward Newenham and R. W. Talbot duly elected. This provoked a backlash, and a group of freeholders met with a view to presenting a petition to parliament 'praying that John Finlay be received as one of the representatives for Co. Dublin to the preclusion of Richard Wogan Talbot'. Finally on 28 February 1791 it was reported that 'Mr Talbot resigned the contest for the representation of Co. Dublin with Mr Finlay. Whereby the latter gentleman we hear will be declared the sitting member.'145