1810 – He was born at Cultra, Co. Down, Ireland, on the 27th of December.
1838 – He graduated at Belfast Royal Academy and at Trinity College, Dublin, with a senior moderatorship in classics.
1844 – He was called to the bar at the Middle Temple, to which he had moved from Lincoln’s Inn.
1852 – He entered parliament as member for Belfast.
1856 – He became a QC, and married Mary Harriet, eldest daughter of John McNeill.
1858 – He was appointed Solicitor-General and was knighted.
– In May of that year made two of his most brilliant and best-remembered speeches in the House of Commons.
1868 – He invited him to be Lord Chancellor in the brief Conservative administration.
1869 – Cairns became the leader of the Conservative opposition in the House of Lords.
1874 – Upon the Conservatives’ return to power, he again became Lord Chancellor.
1878 – He was created Viscount Garmoyle and Earl Cairns.
1885 – He died on the 2nd of April in his house at Bournemouth.