The only daughter of Charles Boyle, Viscount Dungarvan, and his wife, the former Susannah Hoare, she was born Henrietta Boyle. Her father died in 1759 and her mother later married Thomas Brudenell-Bruce; her younger half-siblings included Charles Brudenell-Bruce, 1st Marquess of Ailesbury. She married John O'Neill in 1777, when he was an Irish MP.
Henrietta O'Neill was a friend of the English novelist and poet Charlotte Smith. She was also an amateur actor. Her best known poems are "Ode to the Poppy" and "Written on Seeing her Two Sons at Play".
Her two children were:
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