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Justin McCarthy

Eugene J. Doyle (author)
Paperback / softback,
Publication date:
13th July 2012

Author Biography

Eugene J. Doyle is a graduate of the National University of Ireland. He is particularly interested in biography, the Victorian period, and the Irish abroad. His work has been published in, among others, Brian Lalor (ed.), The Encyclopaedia of Ireland (Dublin, 2003) and Irish Historical Studies.


Justin McCarthy (1830-1912) is the forgotten leader of the Irish Home Rule Movement. Overshadowed by Parnell before him and the 1916 leaders shortly after his death, McCarthy's considerable contribution to the national cause has been largely overlooked. Without his conciliatory chairmanship (1890-6), the Irish Party would have subdivided further after the Parnell split; the critical Liberal alliance would have ended; and the House of Commons would not have passed Gladstone's second Home Rule Bill in 1893. Born in Cork but living in London, McCarthy was not a career politician, but rather a respected and financially successful writer, who championed many liberal causes long before becoming actively involved in politics. He was elected a Home Rule Party MP in 1879, and the party's vice-chairman the following year. His subsequent time as chairman, beginning with the 1890 split, spanned a period of intense struggle over the second Home Rule Bill. During these demanding years he sacrificed his health and income for the national cause - 'the religion of my life'.This biography restores its subject to his rightful place in the front rank of Irish leaders - Parnell, McCarthy, Redmond - who led the Irish Party into parliamentary battle in pursuit of Home Rule.