Justin McCarthy, Viscount Mountcashel

Justin McCarthy, Viscount Mountcashel, PC (Ire) (c. 1643 – 1694), was a Jacobite general in the Williamite War in Ireland and a personal friend of James II. He commanded Irish Army troops during the conflict, enjoying initial success when he seized Bandon in County Cork in 1689. However, he was defeated and captured at the Battle of Newtownbutler on the same year. He then led an Irish Brigade overseas for service in the French Army of Louis XIV. He died in French exile.

Justin McCarthy
Viscount Mountcashel
Bornc. 1643
Died1 July 1694
Spouse(s)Arabella Wentworth
FatherDonough, 1st Earl of Clancarty
MotherEleanor Butler

Birth and originsEdit

Justin was born about 1643,[1] probably at Blarney Castle, County Cork, Ireland. He was the third son of Donough McCarthy and his wife Eleanor Butler. At the time of his birth, Justin's father was the 2nd Viscount Muskerry, but he would be advanced to Earl of Clancarty in 1658. His father belonged to the MacCarthy of Muskerry dynasty, a Gaelic Irish family that descended from the kings of Desmond.[2] Justin's mother was the eldest sister of James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormond.[3] Her family, the Butler dynasty, was Old English and descended from Theobald Walter, who had been appointed Chief Butler of Ireland by King Henry II in 1177.[4] Justin's parents were both Catholic; they had married before 1641.[5]

Family tree
Justin McCarthy with wife, parents, and other selected relatives. His marriage was childless.

d. 1640

bef. 1596 –
1st Earl


d. 1682
1st Duke

d. 1722

c. 1633 – 1665

c. 1643 – 1694

d. 1703
3rd Earl

d. 1676

d. 1698
2nd Earl
4th Earl



XXXDuke of
XXXEarls of
*d.v.p. = predeceased his father (decessit vita patris)
Also see the lists of siblings in the text.

Irish warsEdit

Justin was a child while his father, Lord Muskerry, commanded the Confederates' Munster army and fought the Parliamentarians in the Cromwellian Conquest of Ireland. Muskerry fought to the bitter end and surrendered Ross Castle near Killarney to Englishman Edmund Ludlow on 27 June 1652, disbanding his 5000-strong army.[10][11]

Justin McCarthy as a young man[12]


Justin, aged about eight, his mother and sisters fled to France already some time before the capture of Ross Castle. His mother lived with her sister Mary Butler, Lady Hamilton, in the convent of the Feuillantines in Paris.[13] In 1658 his father was created Earl of Clancarty by Charles II in Brussels, where he was then in exile.[14] By this advancement the title of viscount of Muskerry became a subsidiary title of the family, which was given as courtesy title to the Earl's heir apparent, at that time his brother Charles, who was therefore styled Viscount Muskerry thereafter.


The family had their property confiscated under the Cromwellian regime, but it was restored to them at the Restoration of Charles II. Justin seems to have grown up mainly in France. He became a professional soldier, and showed great skill in his profession, but poor eyesight hampered his career. He entered the French army in 1671, and then transferred to the Duke of Monmouth's regiment, then in French pay, and served against the Dutch.[15]

On 4 March 1665, the Second Anglo-Dutch War broke out. Three months into the war, on 3 June 1665 O.S., his brother Charles, Lord Muskerry, was killed on the flagship, the Royal Charles, in the Battle of Lowestoft, the first major naval engagement of the war and an English victory.[6] His brother had an infant son, also named Charles, who succeeded him as heir apparent and Viscount of Muskerry. However, their father, the 1st Earl, died two months later, on 4 August 1665,[16] and the younger Charles succeeded as the 2nd Earl of Clancarty. The 2nd Earl died about a year later, on 22 September 1666, still an infant.[17][18][a] Thereupon Callaghan, his uncle, succeeded as the 3rd Earl of Clancarty.

Justin McCarthy came to England in 1678 and was befriended by the future James II, who generally chose soldiers, especially Irish soldiers, as his boon companions. Charles II decided to use his services in Ireland, and made him a colonel in Sir Thomas Dongan's regiment. On the outbreak of the Popish Plot, however, the discovery of McCarthy's presence at Whitehall caused uproar: he fled the country, and the Secretary of State, Sir Joseph Williamson, who had issued his commission, was sent to the Tower of London.[19]

Meddling in nephew's marriageEdit

By 1683 McCarthy was at Court again, where his growing influence was shown by the marriage he arranged for his immensely wealthy nephew Donough MacCarthy, 4th Earl of Clancarty. Callaghan, the 3rd Earl, had died in 1676, leaving his young son in the care of his widow, Lady Elizabeth FitzGerald, daughter of George FitzGerald, 16th Earl of Kildare: she has been described as "a fierce Protestant isolated in a Catholic family".[20] She placed her son in the care of John Fell, Bishop of Oxford, for a Protestant education. Justin was determined to have the final word on the young earl's marriage and religion, and persuaded the King to invite him to Court for Christmas. He brought that letter in person to the bishop.[21] Here Donough, at sixteen, was married to Elizabeth Spencer, daughter of Robert Spencer, 2nd Earl of Sunderland, who was two years younger. The marriage, which went unconsummated for many years, was a failure, and Sunderland's biographer remarked that it left a stain on the reputation of all those who ruined the lives of these two young people, without gaining anything in return. Gilbert Burnet, however, wrote that in anything that did not directly concern his religion, MacCarthy was an honourable man.[22]

Under James IIEdit

Under the Catholic King James II, McCarthy was promoted to Major General and became a member of the Privy Council of Ireland.[23] He quarrelled with the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Henry Hyde, 2nd Earl of Clarendon, and probably intrigued to secure his recall.[15]

In 1688 or early in 1689 Tyrconnell appointed him Muster-Master General in the Irish Army and Lord Lieutenant of County Cork.[24]

On 23 May 1689 James II created Justin McCarthy Viscount Mountcashel with the subsidiary title of Baron Castleinch.[25]

In 1689 Lord Mountcashel, as he was now, took Castlemartyr and Bandon for James;[26] at Bandon there was a massacre called "Bloody Monday", but McCarthy persuaded the King to issue a general pardon to his defeated opponents. He met James II at his landing at Kinsale, and was commanded to raise seven regiments. He sat in the Irish House of Lords in the Parliament of 1689.

With 3,000 men he advanced from Dublin towards Enniskillen,[27] which with Derry was one of the two places still resisting James II. He was met by 2,000 Protestant 'Inniskilleners' at the Battle of Newtownbutler on 31 July 1689. Mountcashel's forces were routed; he was wounded, then captured.[28] Allowed out on parole he broke parole and escaped to Dublin; Schomberg remarked that he had thought McCarthy was a man of honour, but on the other hand he expected no better from an Irishman.[29]

He went into exile in France and commanded the first Irish Brigade of Louis XIV.


He married Lady Arabella Wentworth, daughter of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford and his second wife Lady Arabella Holles, who was many years older than himself; they had no children. However, it is said that McCarthy had one child with a lady of the night named Elizabeth Billington. The child's name was Catherine. At his death he tried to leave his property to a cousin, but it passed to his niece, another Catherine, sister of the 4th Earl of Clancarty. Her husband, Paul Davys, had the title Viscount Mount Cashell revived in his own favour.[30]

Death and timelineEdit

His later career was hampered by his near-blindness. He died on 1 July 1694 N.S. at Barèges where he had gone to take the waters for his health and was buried there.[31][32][33]


  1. ^ (Cokayne 1913) states he died on 22 September 1666, whereas (Burke1866) states that he died in 1668.
  1. ^ a b Murphy 1959, p. 49: "I have been unable to determine the precise date of his [Justin's] birth: the year 1643 is an approximation arrived at ..."
  2. ^ O'Hart 1892, p. 122: "CORMAC MACCARTY MOR, Prince of Desmond (see the MacCarty Mór Stem, No. 115,) had a second son, Dermod Mór, of Muscry (now Muskerry) who was the ancestor of MacCarthy, lords of Muscry and earls of Clan Carthy."
  3. ^ Lodge 1789, p. 39, line 33: "Daughter Ellen [Eleanor], married to Donogh, Earl of Clancarthy, and dying in April 1682, AEt. 70, was buried 24 in the Chancel of St. Michan's church."
  4. ^ Debrett 1828, p. 640: "THEOBALD LE BOTELER on whom that office [Chief Butler of Ireland] was conferred by King Henry II., 1177 ..."
  5. ^ Ohlmeyer 2004, p. 107, left column: "... Donough MacCarthy had married by 1641 Eleanor (or Ellen; 1612–1682), the eldest daughter of Thomas Butler, Viscount Thurles, and sister of James, later Duke of Ormond."
  6. ^ a b c Cokayne 1913, p. 215, line 13: "He d. v.p. being slain on board 'the Royal Charles' in a sea-fight against the Dutch, 3, and was bur. 22 June 1665 in Westm. Abbey."
  7. ^ Cokayne 1913, p. 216, line 6: "CALLAGHAN (MACCARTY) EARL OF CLANCARTY etc [I.], uncle and h., being 2nd s. of the 1st Earl."
  8. ^ Cokayne 1913, p. 233, line 2: "He [William] m. 2ndly Helen, widow of sir John FITZGERALD, of Dromana, co. Waterford (who d. 1662), da. of Donough (MACCARTY), 1st EARL of CLANCARTY [I.] by Eleanor ..."
  9. ^ Cokayne 1926, p. 386, line 26: "He [Luke Plunkett] m., before 1666, Margaret, da. of Donough (MACCARTY) EARL OF CLANCARTY [I.], by Eleanor, sister of James (BUTLER) 1ST DUKE OF ORMONDE, and da. of Thomas BUTLER, styled VISCOUNT THURLES."
  10. ^ a b Ohlmeyer 2004, p. 107, right column: "he fought on before finally surrendering at Ross Castle (27 June 1652) and fleeing to the continent."
  11. ^ Firth 1894, p. 320, line 10: "Ross in Kerry; where the Lord Muskerry made his principal rendezvous, and which was the only place of strength the Irish had left, except the woods, bogs and mountains ..."
  12. ^ O'Callaghan 1854, p. 32: Portrait
  13. ^ Clark 1921, p. 8: "... his [Anthony Hamilton's] mother and his aunt, Lady Muskerry, had apartments at the couvent des Feuillantines in Paris ..."
  14. ^ a b Cokayne 1913, p. 215, line 2: "As reward for his services he was by patent dat. at Brussels 27 Nov., 1658, cr. EARL OF CLANCARTY, co. Cork [I.]"
  15. ^ a b Coleman, James (1907). "Justin MacCarthy, Lord Mountcashel". Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society. Second Series. 13: 157.
  16. ^ Cokayne 1913, p. 215, line 6: "He [the 1st Earl] d. in London, 4 Aug. 1665."
  17. ^ a b Cokayne 1913, p. 216, line 4: "... d. an infant, 22 Sep. 1666."
  18. ^ a b Burke 1866, p. 344, right column, line 42: "Charles, 2nd earl, who d. a child, in 1668, and was s. by his uncle CALLAGHAN, 3rd Earl."
  19. ^ Kenyon 1972, p. 103: "... but on November 8 [1678] one of theses officers, Colonel Justin MacCarthy, was found strolling outside the House of Commons, brought in and questioned and sent out of London."
  20. ^ Kenyon 1958, p. 102, line 8: "His mother, a fierce Protestant isolated in a Catholic family ..."
  21. ^ Kenyon 1958, p. 102, line 15: "... on 18 December 1684 Colonel MacCarthy presented himself at Christ Church with a royal letter, countersigned by Sunderland, signifying the king's will and pleasure that the Clancarty should attend the Christmas festivities at White Hall."
  22. ^ Burnet, Gilbert (1906). History of His Own Time. Everyman abridged edition. p. 216.
  23. ^ Wauchope 2004, p. 111, right column, line 21: "... he was in 1686 made a privy counsellor and promoted to major-general."
  24. ^ Webb (1878), p. 304, left column, line 7: "In 1688 or early in 1689 he was appointed by Tyrconnell Muster-Master General and Lord lieutenant of the County of Cork."
  25. ^ Cokayne 1893, p. 390, line 18: "he was cr. 23 May 1689 9...) BARON CASTLEINCH and VISCOUNT MOUNTCASHELL, both in the co. Tipperary, [I.]."
  26. ^ Webb 1878, p. 304, line 11: "He took Castlemartyr and Bandon from the Protestant party ..."
  27. ^ Harris 1747, p. 282: "In July 1689, a numerous and well-appointed Army was led from Munster under the Conduct of Justin Mac-Carthy ... "
  28. ^ a b Webb (1878), p. 304, left column, line 23: "Viscount Mountcashel was miserably defeated at Newtownbutler on 31st July."
  29. ^ Webb (1878), p. 304, left column, line 38: "I took Lieutenant-MacCarthy to be a man of honour', remarked Schomberg on hearing of his escape 'but would not expect that in an Irishman any more.'"
  30. ^ Cokayne 1893, p. 390, line 36: "[Paul Davys was] cr.; 31 Jan. 1705/6 VISCOUNT and BARON MOUNTCASHEL, co. Tipperary, [I.]."
  31. ^ a b Cokayne 1893, p. 390, line 27: "He d. s.p. 21 July 1694 at the baths at Barèges when all his honours became extinct."
  32. ^ Wauchope 2004, p. 112, right column, line 10: "He died there [at Barèges] on 1 July 1694, and was buried there."
  33. ^ Ruvigny 1904, p. 125: "He died s.p. 1st July 1694 at the baths at Barèges ..."
  34. ^ Coffey 1914, p. 213: "Cromwell landed in Dublin on August 15th [1649]."
  35. ^ Seccombe 1893, p. 437, left column, line 16: "He [Donough MacCarty] died in London on 5 Aug. 1665."
  36. ^ Smyth 1839, p. xiii, line 20: "James II. . [Accession] 6 February, 1685"