He was the son of Patrick "Patt" Lalor of Tenakill, Mountrath, Queen’s County, who had himself been an M.P. for Queen’s County in 1832-35. His eldest brother was James Fintan Lalor and his younger brother was the Australian politician Peter Lalor. His mother was Anna, daughter of Patrick Dillon of Sheane. He was educated privately and became a civil engineer and tenant farmer. Like his brother James Fintan, he was a Young Irelander. In 1852 he married Margaret, daughter of Michael Dunne of Mountrath. He became a magistrate for Queen’s County.
He headed the poll as a Parnellite Home Ruler in the election for the two Queen’s County seats in 1880, ousting the former Home Rule member, Kenelm Digby. He then won the new Queen’s County (Leix) seat in 1885, defeating his Conservative opponent by more than 7 to 1. He won again in 1886, by an even bigger margin.
T. P. O'Connor described him in 1886: ‘Today he is a feeble and bent man with wearied eyes and a thin voice, but his spirit is exactly the same as in his hot youth. In 1848 he had his pike and his thousands of pikemen ready for action; today, as then, he is the unconquerable and irreclaimable rebel – the Blanqui of Irish politics.’
When the Irish Parliamentary Party split in December 1890 over the leadership of Charles Stewart Parnell, Lalor supported Parnell. However failing health prevented him from campaigning in the general election of 1892, and he was ousted from his seat.
He died at his home at Tenakill, Queen’s County, on Monday 13 November 1893. His grandson John Lalor Fitzpatrick (1875–1956) was also a nationalist member of the House of Commons for the Ossory division of Queen's County (1916–18).
- "Irish Times". Irish Times. 14 November 1893.
- O'Connor, T.P (1886). The Parnell Movement. London.
- "The Times". The Times. 27 November 1885.
- Brian M. Walker, ed. (1978). Parliamentary Election Results in Ireland, 1801-1922. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Richard Lalor
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
Kenelm Thomas Digby
|Member of Parliament for Queen's County
1880 – 1885
With: Arthur O'Connor
|New constituency||Member of Parliament for Queen's County Leix
1885 – 1892
| Succeeded by|
Mark Antony MacDonnell