Margaret Blessington, countess of, an Irish woman of letters, born near Clonmel, Sept. 1, 1789, died in Paris, June 4, 1849. She was the third daughter of Mr. Edmund Power, and when only 15 years old married Capt. Farmer. The marriage was an unhappy one, and within four months after her husband's death in 1817 she married Charles John Gardiner, earl of Blessington. With him she saw much of fashionable life, and travelled extensively on the continent. She formed an intimate acquaintance with Lord Byron at Genoa; and at Paris, where she lived for some time with her husband, Count d'Orsay, was an inmate of their house. D'Orsay had married and afterward been separated from a daughter of the earl by a former wife. Soon after the earl's death, which took place at Paris in 1829, Lady Blessington went to reside at Gore House, Kensington. Her social position was somewhat compromised by her intimacy with Count d'Orsay, but she gathered at her house a brilliant circle of the notable people of the day. Her expensive manner of living greatly impaired her fortune, and she resorted to the pen mainly for the purpose of enlarging her means.
She first appeared as an author in 1825, with some London sketches entitled "The Magic Lantern," which were followed by "Travelling Sketches in Belgium." Her "Conversations with Lord Byron," published first in 1832 in the "New Monthly Magazine," afterward appeared in book form, and excited a considerable degree of interest. Subsequently she published "Desultory Thoughts and Reflections," and several novels; among them "Grace Cassidy, or the Repealers," "The Two Friends," "Meredith," "Strathern,""Marma-duke Hubert," "The Governess," "The Victims of Society," etc. The last named is considered one of her best works. Besides her novels, she wrote illustrated books of poetry, and books of travel, as "The Idler in France" and "The Idler in Italy," and at the same time she was an active contributor to many English magazines, and the editor of fashionable annuals. In 1849 Count D'Orsay went to Paris in the hope of obtaining some preferment from Louis Napoleon, then president of the French republic; and she followed him thither, but died soon after reaching that capital. - See Mad-den's "Literary Life and Correspondence of the Countess of Blessington" (3 vols. 8vo, 1855).