Parnell was born on 27 June 1846 in Co. Wicklow.His family were Anglo-Irish Protestant land owners. He studied at Cambridge but never completed his studies. He was eleced to parialement in 1875 as a member of the Home Rule Party
Parnell had links with the Fenians. His popularity rose because he tried to solve 'the land question'. he organized the Land league with Fenians such as Michael Davitt and John Devoy. He wanted for the British government to provide loans to tenant famers so they could buy their farms.
In 1881 Parnell was sent to Kilmainham Gaol. William Gladstone (prime minister) decided they needed to reach an agreement and in 1882 the Kilmainham Treaty was signed meaning tenants had access to land courts. This boosted the popularity of the Home Rule party, which became know as the Irish Parliamentary party.
In 1885 British general election, the Irish Parliamentary Party won 86 seats. This meant Parnell's party had enough seats to hold the balance of power in parliament. The conservative party was against the First Home Rule Bill as they thought it would lead to independent Ireland.
In 1887 false accusations were made against Parnell but after they ad been proven to be false Parnell was look at as a hero by the English Liberals and received a standing ovation in the house of commons. this was the peak of Parnell's career. Parnell went back to Gladstone to convince him that another Home Rule Bill should be put forward it the liberals came to power again.
Parnell's relationship with married woman Katharine O'Shea was his political downfall. Catholic Ireland disapproved of their relationship. He died shortly after marrying Katharine of pneumonia in 1891.