J.J. McCarthy (1817-1882)

McCarthy’s obituary in The Irish Builder was a little unkind and disparaging of his lifetime of work. “We would scarcely be justified in saying that Mr. McCarthy was a great ecclesiastical architect, but he was a respectable, and to some extent, a successful one. Great allowances mist be made for the deceased for he had not the advantages in his youth or the influence at his back that other of our native architects commanded.”

“In civil architecture Mr. M’Carthy did not succeed well. During the restoration of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, under the gift of the late Benjamin Lee Guinness, Mr. M‘Carthy took a leading part in the news paper and magazine controversy that that work of restoration gave birth to. He dealt some hard blows respecting the character of the work, the nature of the supervision that obtained, &c., and received some severe thrusts in return.”

Primarily a church architect, McCarthy was responsible for the design of four Irish cathedrals constructed in the 19th Century as well as involved in aspects of others. His son C.J. McCarthy was later City Architect of Dublin.