Browne, Valentine (1754–1812), 5th Viscount and 1st earl of Kenmare , catholic activist, and landlord, was born in January 1754, only son of Thomas Browne (qv), 4th Viscount Kenmare, and his wife Anne, daughter of Thomas Cooke of Painestown, Co. Carlow. Active in the Catholic Committee in the 1780s and ‘90s, he became one of the leading catholic aristocrats after his father's death in September 1795. With Lords Fingall (qv) and Trimleston, in 1797 he attempted to regain ground for the catholic aristocracy as leaders of the catholic cause by presenting a memorial to the government requesting the removal of all laws that disqualified catholics from politics, but this was coolly received. However, like his father, he was generally notable for his deference and loyalty to the crown, and to counter the growth of disaffection in Kerry in the late 1790s he raised a local yeomanry corps. In return for such loyalty his Jacobite viscountcy was confirmed by the king on 12 February 1798. After the conservative reaction that followed the 1798 rebellion, he gained a position of political leadership among catholics, and in the absence of the Catholic Committee he was one of the main figures with whom the government negotiated on the union. For his support for the act of union, particularly his efforts to facilitate its passing by shelving catholic emancipation, he was promoted in the peerage, on 3 January 1801, to Viscount Castlerosse and earl of Kenmare. He was active in petitioning for emancipation after the union, but did so cautiously, and was generally under the influence of Lord Fingall. He supported, somewhat reluctantly, the presentation of a catholic relief petition to parliament in March 1805, but he did not press the issue and made clear his willingness to wait on the government's favour for relief. As a peer he was automatically included on a body appointed to draw up a petition in 1807 and on the new Catholic Committee set up in 1809. However, as middle-class elements increasingly seized the initiative, he remained aloof from the committee, especially after 1807, and, as a peer, was identified with support for a government veto on episcopal appointments. He died 3 October 1812 at Castlerosse, Co. Kerry.
He married first (7 July 1777) Charlotte (1755–82), daughter of Henry, 11th Viscount Dillon; she died leaving an only daughter. On 24 August 1785 he married Mary Aylmer of Lyons, Co. Kildare; they had four sons and a daughter, the eldest of whom, Valentine Browne (1788–1853), styled Lord Castlerosse 1801–12, became 2nd earl in 1812 and was lord lieutenant of Kerry from 1831; he was succeeded as 3rd earl by his brother Thomas Browne (1789–1871).