Browne, Nicholas (1660?–1720), 2nd Viscount Kenmare , soldier and MP, was son and heir of Valentine Browne, 1st viscount, and his wife Jane, daughter and heiress of Sir Nicholas Plunkett (qv) of Dublin and Balrath, Co. Meath, chairman of the general assembly of the confederate catholics in Kilkenny in the 1640s. Browne served as MP for Kerry in the Irish parliament of James II (qv) and as a colonel in James's army. He served under the Franco-Jacobite commander Boisseleau (qv) during the early part of the war and later garrisoned Cork with Lords Kilmallock (qv) and Clare (qv) in March 1690. King James II refused the request of the French ambassador Comte d'Avaux (qv) that Browne's regiment, which he deemed to be very good, be allowed to pass into the French service with Lord Mountcashell (qv).
On 23 March 1684 Browne married his cousin Helen, first surviving daughter and co-heiress of Thomas Browne of Hospital, Co. Limerick, by whom he acquired a considerable estate which became forfeited for his life in 1691. They had five children, including Valentine, 3rd viscount Kenmare (qv); Jane, eldest of the Browne girls, who was brought up in England as a protestant and later married John Asgill (qv); and Margaret, a nun at Ghent. Helen, who received from Queen Mary an annuity of £400 from the forfeited Kenmare estates, died (16 July 1700) at St James's, Westminster, as Dame Helen Browne, Viscountess Kenmare. The forfeited estate was vested in the Chichester House trustees, but the claim of Valentine, Nicholas's heir, then a child, was allowed. The trustees could only dispose of a life interest in it, which was bought for a little over £3,000 by Nicholas Browne's notorious son-in-law, John Asgill. He later ruined himself and almost succeeded in ruining the Brownes.
While in exile in Ghent and Brussels Nicholas continued to correspond with his son regarding his estate, his hopes for a speedy restoration, and his son's marriage. Many of his former tenants shared his hope. According to a memorial addressed to the lord lieutenant in 1699 by John Blennerhasset and George Rogers (whose illegal sixty-one-year-old leasehold of the Browne estate was quashed in 1703), a catholic priest, Father Connellan, told his parishioners at mass ‘that now they may with cheerfulness repair to their mass-house for that their old master Lord Kenmare, meaning Sir Nicholas Browne, would soon have his estate again’ (Dinneen, p. xvii).
Sir Nicholas's correspondence in the Kenmare papers also makes reference to many of the bugbears of the Jacobite poet Aodhagán Ó Rathaille (qv): John Asgill, Timothy Cronin (Tadhg Ó Croinín), hearth-tax collector to Lord Kenmare, Murtough Griffin, administrator to Lady Browne, and Richard Hedges. Like many forfeited and exiled Jacobites Nicholas found himself in embarrassed financial circumstances. On his death in 1720 he was interred in the parish church of St Nicholas in Brussels. His corpse was carried in a private coach without public ceremony for fear of insulting creditors. The Kenmare papers include an account of his funeral expenses, compounded by his extravagance in his latter years, direction for the erection of a stone over his grave, and a description of the funeral oration.