Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Glin Castle

THE KNIGHTS OF GLIN WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY LIMERICK, WITH 5,697 ACRES


OTHER, a Baron of England, of Saxon descent, living during the reign of EDWARD THE CONFESSOR, was father of

WALTER FITZOTHER, who, at the general survey of the kingdom, 1078, was castellan of Windsor, and was appointed by WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR Warden of the Forests in Berkshire; and having wedded Gladys, daughter of Ryall ap Conyn, had issue,
GERALD FITZWALTER, of whom presently;
Robert, Baron of Easton or Estaines, Essex;
William, ancestor of the Barons Windsor and Earls of Plymouth.
The eldest son,

GERALD DE WINDSOR (c1075-1135), Castellan of Windsor, married Nest, daughter of Rhys, Prince of South Wales, and had issue,
MAURICE FITZGERALD, of whom hereafter;
William, ancestor of the Earls of Kerry;
David, Bishop of St David's.
Gerald was succeeded by his eldest surviving son,

MAURICE FITZGERALD (c1105-76), Lord of Lanstephan, who proceeded to Ireland in 1168, being sent with ten knights, twenty esquires, and 100 archers, before his countryman, Richard Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke, to assist Dermot MacMurrough, King of Leinster.

He was buried in the abbey of Greyfriars, at Wexford, leaving issue,
Gerald, ancestor of the Dukes of Leinster;
Alexander;
William, Lord of Naas;
Maurice, Lord of Kiltrany;
THOMAS, of whom we treat;
Robert;
Nest.
The fourth son,

THOMAS FITZMAURICE FITZGERALD (1175-1213), espoused Ellinor, daughter of Jordan de Marisco, and sister to Hervé de Monte Marisco, Constable of Ireland, and of Geoffrey de Marisco, Lord Justice of Ireland in the reign of KING JOHN.

He was succeeded by his son,

JOHN FITZGERALD, 1st BARON DESMOND, who married firstly, Margery, daughter and heir of Sir Thomas FitzAnthony, Lord of Decies and Desmond, by whom he acquired those demesnes which were confirmed to him by PRINCE EDWARD in 1260, as amply as they had been held by Sir Thomas during the reign of HENRY III.

By the heiress of Decies and Desmond, John FitzGerald had a son and heir,

MAURICE FITZGERALD, Lord of Decies and Desmond, ancestor of the FITZGERALDS, EARLS OF DESMOND, who ranked among the most powerful nobles of Ireland for more than two centuries, until Gerald, 16th Earl, entering into rebellion, waged war for nearly ten years against the whole power of the English government, and eventually lost his life in attempting to seize upon a prey of cattle, when his head was transmitted by the Earl of Ormond to ELIZABETH I, who caused it to be fixed on London Bridge.

An attainder followed (1582), by which his prodigious estates, comprising 574,628 acres, became forfeited.

The son of this unfortunate nobleman, James FitzGerald, having been educated at the court of ELIZABETH I, embraced the Protestant faith, and Her Majesty, hoping by his influence to bring the followers of his deceased father to their allegiance, recognized him as EARL OF DESMOND, and despatched him to Ireland; but so soon as it was known that he had attended church at Balinalloch, the crowds who collected to see and follow him immediately withdrew; he was obliged, therefore, to return to London, where he died in 1601.

The last male heir of the House of Gerald who assumed the style of Earl of Desmond was an officer in the King of Spain's and the Emperor's armies, who died in Germany, in 1632.

From Maurice FitzGerald, founder of the Desmond line of the House of Gerald, derived OSBORN FITZGERALD, who removed from Ireland to Wales about the middle of the 13th century.

JOHN FITZGERALD wedded secondly, Honora, daughter of Hugh O'Connor, of Kerry, and had further issue,
GILBERT FITZJOHN, ancestor of THE WHITE KNIGHT;
SIR JOHN FITZJOHN, of whom presently;
MAURICE FITZJOHN, ancestor of THE KNIGHT OF KERRY;
THOMAS FITZJOHN, ancestor of the FITZGERALDS OF THE ISLAND OF KERRY.
JOHN FITZGERALD, 1ST BARON DESMOND, by virtue of his royal seigniory as a Count Palatine, created three of his sons, by the second marriage, knights, and their descendants have been so styled in Acts of Parliament, patents under the Great Seal, and all legal proceedings up to the present time; and having founded the monastery of Tralee, was buried there in 1261.

His second son,

SIR JOHN FITZJOHN, Knight, to whom his father gave the castles of Glyncorbury and Beagh, County Limerick, 1st KNIGHT OF GLIN, had issue,
JOHN FITZJOHN, his successor;
GERALD FITZJOHN.
SIR JOHN was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN FITZJOHN, 2nd Knight, from whom descended,

THOMAS FITZGERALD, who was attainted with his father, and executed in the eleventh year of ELIZABETH I, leaving a daughter, Ellen, who wedded Sir Edmond FitzHarris, Knight; and a son, his successor,

EDMOND FITZGERALD, Knight of Glin, pardoned and restored to his estates in the thirtieth year of ELIZABETH I.

He espoused Honora, daughter of Owen McCarthy Reagh, and was succeeded by his son,

THOMAS FITZGERALD, Knight of Glin, who had livery of his lands in 1628.

He surrendered those estates, and had them re-granted in 1635.

He wedded Joan, daughter of James, Lord Dunboyne, widow of Edmond FitzGibbon, The White Knight, and was succeeded by his son,

GERALD FITZGERALD, 17th Knight of Glin, who made a deed of settlement of his estates in 1672.

He married Joan O'Brien, and dying before 1700, left issue,
THOMAS, his successor;
John;
Mary; Honora; Helen; Jane; Ellen.
The eldest son,

THOMAS FITZGERALD, 18th Knight of Glin, seized of an estate in tail under the deed of settlement, in 1672, wedded Mary, daughter of Edmond FitzGerald, and had three sons, successively inheritors; of whom the eldest,

EDMOND FITZGERALD, 20th Knight of Glin, dsp and was succeeded by his brother,

RICHARD FITZGERALD, 21st Knight of Glin, who was succeeded by his brother,

THOMAS FITZGERALD, 22nd Knight of Glin, who married, in 1755, Mary, daughter of John Bateman, of Oak Park, County Kerry, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
Elizabeth; Frances; Ellen; Catherine; Jane.
Thomas FitzGerald died before 1801, and was succeeded by his eldest son,

JOHN BATEMAN FITZGERALD, 23rd Knight of Glin, who wedded Margaretta Maria, daughter of John Fraunceis Gwynn, of Ford Abbey, Devon, and was succeeded by his only son,

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL JOHN FRAUNCEIS FITZGERALD JP DL (1791-1854), 24th Knight of Glin, of Glin Castle, County Limerick, High Sheriff of County Limerick, 1830, who espoused, in 1812, Bridgetta, fifth daughter of the Rev Joseph Eyre, of Westerham, Kent, and had issue,
JOHN FRAUNCEIS EYRE;
Edmond Urmston McLeod;
Geraldine Anne; Margaretta Sophia.
The eldest son,

JOHN FRAUNCEIS EYRE FITZGERALD, 25th Knight of Glin (1813-66), wedded, in 1835, Clara Anne, only daughter of Gerald Blennerhasset, of Riddlestown, County Limerick, and had issue,
DESMOND JOHN EDMUND;
Gerald B;
William Urmston;
John F E;
Thomas Otho;
George W M;
Geraldine Elizabeth Blennerhasset; Florence Sophia; Margaretta.
The 25th Knight was succeeded by his eldest son,

DESMOND JOHN EDMUND FITZGERALD JP DL (1840-95), 26th Knight of Glin, of Glin Castle, County Limerick, High Sheriff of County Limerick, 1871, who wedded, in 1861, Isabella Lloyd, second daughter of the Rev Michael Lloyd Apjohn, of Linfield, County Limerick, and had issue,
DESMOND FITZJOHN LLOYD;
Urmston FitzOtho;
Louis de Rottenburgh;
Clara Nesta Richarda.
The eldest son,

DESMOND FITZJOHN LLOYD FITZGERALD JP DL (1862-1936), 27th Knight of Glin, of Glin Castle, High Sheriff of County Limerick, 1904, Captain, 3rd Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, South Irish Horse, married, in 1897, the Lady Rachel Wyndham-Quin, second daughter of the 4th Earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl, and had issue,
DESMOND WYNDHAM OTHO.
The only son,

DESMOND WYNDHAM OTHO FITZGERALD (1901-49), 28th KNIGHT OF GLIN, married Veronica Villiers, a cousin of Winston Churchill, and had issue, three children.

He died from tuberculosis in 1949.

His son and heir, the 29th and last Knight,

DESMOND JOHN VILLIERS FITZGERALD (1937-2011, 29th KNIGHT OF GLIN, was educated at the University of British Columbia and Harvard University.
The Knight worked at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, in the furniture department; and later returned to Ireland, and became active in conservation issues, becoming involved with the Irish Georgian Society. He was appointed its president in 1991. He has also represented the Christies art auctioneers in Ireland. He died at Dublin in 2011.
As the last Knight had no sons, and the title cannot be passed to a daughter, the title became extinct.


GLIN CASTLE, Glin, County Limerick, is described by Mark Bence-Jones as
a romantic, white, castellated house overlooking the estuary of the River Shannon from among the trees of its demesne.
It was built ca 1789 by Colonel John FitzGerald, 24th Knight of Glin.

This is an eight-bay, three-storey, country house, comprising full-height curved bows to end bays of the front elevation, full-height three-sided bows with crenellated porch to garden (south) elevation.

Sixteen-bay, two-storey wing to the west, built in the late seventeenth century/early eighteenth century, having full-height canted bay and three-stage square-plan tower to garden elevation.


THIS house remains of considerable social and historic significance to the village of Glin.

Colonel John FitzGerald, who is thought to have added the hall, staircase and two reception rooms, financed much of the main house, which was built in phases.

The artist responsible for the decorative plasterwork to the interior, though unknown, is thought to be the work of a Cork master.

The symbols on the frieze in the hall underline the military background of Colonel FitzGerald, with military trophies, shields sprouting shamrocks and the Irish harp, all incorporated into the ceiling.

The staircase, which is almost unique in Ireland, as it has two lower ramps and a single flying run of steps from the half-landing to the first floor landing.

It may echo Adam's staircase at Mellerstain in Berwickshire.

The style of the joinery on the stairs and front door suggests that the craftsmen who worked here had worked with such prominent architects as Davis Duckart and Christopher Colles in the 1760s and 1770s.

The west wing is the earliest part of the house and was originally thatched.

Despite 19th century alterations, it retains some vernacular characteristics, such as its long, low asymmetric form.

Added to this association with important historical characters, Glin Castle represents more than four centuries of construction and alteration, with different architectural features representing each phase.

In 1993, the FitzGeralds decided to turn the castle into a hotel to help pay for the upkeep.

The hotel closed in 2008.

In 2011, Desmond, 29th Knight, died without a male heir.

In 2015, the castle was put on auction at Christie's by Lady FitzGerald.

The castle did not sell in auction.

In an effort to keep the castle in the family, it was purchased by Catherine FitzGerald, daughter of the last Knight of Glin, and her husband Dominic West.

First published in April, 2013. 

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