Talbot, Sir Robert (b. 1608; d. in or after 1671), 2nd baronet, lawyer, and politician, was the son of Sir William Talbot (qv) (d. 1634) of Carton, Co. Kildare, and Alison, daughter of John Netterville of Castleton, Co. Meath. He was the eldest of eight sons and had eight sisters, of whom Frances married her cousin Richard Talbot of Malahide and Mary married Sir John Dungan of Castletown, Co. Kildare. Talbot's brothers included Garrett, John, and Thomas, a Franciscan, who was chaplain to Queen Henrietta Maria and who subscribed to the catholic remonstrance of 1661. Another brother, Peter (qv), was almoner to Queen Catherine of Braganza until 1662, catholic archbishop of Dublin, 1669–80, and a fierce opponent of the duke of Ormond (qv) and the catholic remonstrance. Gilbert, a confederate officer in the 1640s and a subscriber to the catholic remonstrance, married Dorothy Boyle, widow of Adam Loftus, and sister of Roger Boyle (qv), earl of Orrery. Talbot's youngest brother, Richard (qv), a soldier and politician, and a close friend of James Stuart (qv), duke of York, was the most politically prominent Irish catholic of his generation; he was created earl (1685) and then duke of Tyrconnell (1689), and served as Irish lord deputy in 1687–9.
Robert Talbot married Grace, daughter of George Calvert (qv), 1st Baron Baltimore, founder of the Maryland colony, and Anne Mynne. They resided at Castlesallagh, Co. Wicklow, and Sir Robert represented the county in the Irish parliament of 1634, from which he was later expelled for showing disrespect to the lord deputy and the house. He was not elected to the Irish parliament of 1640 but later became a prominent Old English leader of the catholic confederacy, sitting as a member of the Kildare council of war in late 1641 and commanding a regiment of horse raised in Co. Meath. As a representative of the Leinster army he joined a delegation which presented a remonstrance of grievances and reasons for taking up arms to the king's agents at Trim, in March 1643. He served as a member of the supreme council from 1647. As a delegate on the committee of treaty he was involved in negotiating the peace treaties with the then marquess of Ormond and actively promoted support for them within the confederacy. The papal nuncio, GianBattista Rinuccini (qv), and the clerical faction imprisoned him after the first Ormond peace was rejected in 1646 and he was subsequently involved in a failed plot to incarcerate them in Carlow castle. He was later accused of treachery for surrendering the castle at Athone to the enemy in July 1651, and the earl of Orrery alleged that Sir Robert had acquiesced in the transplantation to Connacht; neither claim was ever substantiated.
Talbot's political and legal roles in Ireland remained significant after the restoration. He subscribed to the catholic remonstrance of 1661 and acted as legal counsel to the duke of York, particularly in respect of the restoration land settlement in Ireland. He was also among those delegated as agents to represent the catholic interest in the Irish settlement and, together with Colonel Garrett Moore (qv), successfully petitioned the king for the right to be heard on this issue. Although he was not mentioned in the king's declaration, provision was made for his restoration in the Act of Settlement (1662) and Act of Explanation (1665). He was in fact one of those who had compiled the list of ‘nominees’ for the Act of Explanation (1665), and he later received a commission on every acre of land restored to an Irish catholic by the court of claims. During the review of the Irish settlement after 1671, Ormond and Sir Heneage Finch, the English attorney-general, claimed that Sir Robert and other prominent members of the catholic interest had agreed to restrict the number of restorations under the act to protect their own interests.
The exact date of Talbot's death is unknown, but he is last heard of about 1671. In the absence of a male heir, he was succeeded by his nephew William, son of Garrett Talbot and Margaret Gaydon, who assumed his political and legal roles and was appointed master of the rolls for Ireland by James II in April 1689.