The Earls of Desmond, The Rise and Fall of a Munster Lordship

9780954790233: The Earls of Desmond, The Rise and Fall of a Munster Lordship
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This is a much needed narrative of all the earls of Desmond, from the arrival of the first FitzGeralds in Ireland at the time of the Anglo-Norman invasion, through their promotion to the peerage as earls of Desmond in 1329, to their subjugation in  the 1580s under Queen Elizabeth. There is a rich bibliography containing the very latest research, yet the narrative is written in a manner intended to engage the general reader. Detailed genealogies illustrate their proliferation through Munster and the founding of cadet branches, and there are some rare images containing coats of arms and castle plans.  

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From the Author:

Before addressing the story of the Munster FitzGeralds in this book entitled The Earls of Desmond, I had written The History of Tralee, Its Charter and Governance, which brought my researches back to medieval times and the founding of Tralee by the FitzGeralds, later earls of Desmond. It meant a move back from the eighteenth century which up to then had been the focus of my researches. In fact, ever before that, while researching my book about Judge Day, Mr Justice Day (1746-1841): the Diaries and the Addresses to Grand Juries, I had been drawn to medieval times when tracing the Judge's mother's descent from the FitzGeralds, knights of Kerry, an off-shoot of the earls of Desmond. That book appeared in 2004. Two great watersheds divide the history of Ireland in modern history: the overthrow of Gaelic Ireland at the Battle Kinsale in 1601, and the fall of Jacobite Ireland in 1691 at the Sieges of Limerick following the defeat at the Boyne by the forces of William of Orange. The FitzGeralds earls of Desmond have departed the stage of history by the time of the Boyne and Limerick, but they are very much part of the story of Ireland's overthrow under Elizabeth. I was interested in the rule of the medieval FitzGeralds and also in the events following the decapitation of the last reigning earl, Gerald (d. 1583). A pretender earl raised the FitzGerald standard after Gerald and became a leader of the struggle in Munster before Kinsale.

From the Back Cover:

"They preserved all the state and magnificent social habits of the old Anglo-Norman barons, and guarded with jealous pride the honours bestowed on them by their kinsmen the Plantagenet kings." So wrote historian Mary Agnes Hickson about the earls of Desmond, the southern branch of the FitzGeralds. This erudite yet readable study by Gerald O'Carroll draws together a wealth of antiquarian sources and recent scholarship to chart their journey from Anglo-Norman invaders to "more Irish than the Irish themselves", focusing on their complex dealings with the MacCarthy and O'Brien septs and with foreign regimes. Raised to the earldom of Desmond, with Kerry as their liberty jurisdiction, the FitzGeralds extended their rule to cover most of Munster. But they supported the losing house of York in the Wars of the Roses, and then foreign conspiracy led them to ruin. For a brief period their alienation from the Government seemed reversible but the religious revolution of the Tudors monarchs and FitzGerald intrigues in Europe contributed to Spanish and Papal intervention in Ireland. Their final struggle was heroic but doomed. Yet they might have survived under a unified leadership, and the famous Geraldine spirit might have foiled the reconquest of Irelandin the seventeenth century.
       "At last the complicated history of the Earls of Desmond has been unravelled into a readable format. Superbly researched and written, Gerald O'Carroll's work is a resource of excellence for students of medieval Ireland, young and old." (Michael Quinlan, Lough Gur)              
 Gerald O'Carroll is the author of a number of books, including Mr. Justice Day (1746-1841), the Diaries and Addresses to Grand Juries (2004), and The History of Tralee, Its Charter and Governance (2009).

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O'Carroll, Gerald
Published by Polymaths Press (2013)
ISBN 10: 0954790235 ISBN 13: 9780954790233
Used Paperback Quantity Available: 1
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