Richard Butler, Viscount Mountgarret

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Butler, Richard, Viscount Mountgarret, descended from the 8th Earl of Ormond, was born in 1578. His first wife was Margaret, eldest daughter of Hugh O'Neill; and, taking part with his father-in-law, he particularly distinguished himself by the defence of the castles of Ballyragget and Cullahill. Nevertheless, his estates were confirmed to him both by James I. and Charles I. At the commencement of hostilities in 1641 he appeared inclined to espouse the Government side, and was appointed Governor of Kilkenny. Fearing, however, that the rights and liberties of his Catholic brethren would be still further interfered with, he wrote an explanatory letter to the Earl of Ormond, and took possession of Kilkenny in the name of the Confederates. He endeavoured to protect the lives and property of the Protestants, without relaxing his efforts for the side he had espoused. Early in the war he secured all the towns and forts in Kilkenny, in Waterford, and Tipperary, and marched into Munster and took Knockordan and Mallow, and other strongholds. Unfortunately for the Confederates, Cork objected to his jurisdiction, and insisted upon the appointment of a general of its own. Thus were lost the advantages of undivided and vigorous control of the Confederate armies. On 13th April 1642, he was defeated at the battle of Kilrush, near Athy, by the Earl of Ormond. Soon after, he was chosen President of the Supreme Council of Kilkenny. In 1643 he was at the battle of Ross, and at the capture, by his son Edmund, of the Castle of Borris, in the Queen's County; also at the siege of Ballynakill, a fortress that had held out bravely for eighteen months. Viscount Mountgarret was outlawed by Cromwell, and excepted from pardon for life or estate. He died in 1651, and was interred in St. Canice's, Kilkenny. His son was eventually restored to his estates and honours by Charles II. This branch of the Butlers is now represented by the 13th Viscount Mountgarret.

Sources

54. Burke, Sir Bernard: Peerage and Baronetage.

196. Irishmen, Lives of Illustrious and Distinguished, Rev. James Wills, D.D. 6 vols. or 12 parts. Dublin, 1840-'7.

216. Lodge's Peerage of Ireland, Revised and Enlarged by Mervyn Archdall. 7 vols. Dublin, 1789.

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