Bringing the Imokilly Fitzgeralds back ‘home’ to Kerry.

Dingle Peninsula

The spectacular coastal scenery of the Dingle Peninsula, in County Kerry.

Last month (22nd July to 24th July) I took a trip to Ballyferriter in on the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry to deliver a paper at a conference. The title of the conference was ‘The Fitzgeralds and the Earls of Desmond.’  The conference was opened on Friday evening by Sir Adrian Fitzgerald, Knight of Kerry. The first paper by Gerald O’Carroll considered the historiography of the Earls of Desmond. This was followed by Donal O’Cathain’s paper on the Gaelic sources about Gerald, the poet third Earl of Desmond (1335-1398). Sadly, the medieval Gaelic Irish sources are too often overlooked because too many scholars of medieval Ireland do not read Irish.

rahinnane-castle

Rahinnane Castle is built inside a ringwork or earthwork castle built y the twelfth century Anglo-Norman invaders. The ringwork itself may have been developed from an earlier Irish rath or fortified farmstead.

My own paper was delivered first thing on Saturday morning. A discussion on the descendants of Sir Maurice FitzRichard Fitzgerald, 2nd Knight of Kerry, in Imokilly might seem  heavy going for Saturday morning but I suspect that it came as a shock because few if any of the audience realized the profound influence the Kerry Ftizgeralds had on that little corner of south-east Cork. Joe Lennon then followed with a discussion of the Irish Fiants of the Tudor sovereigns as a source, particularly for the pardons given out after the Second Desmond Rebellion. He also revealed new information on the murder of the last Earl of Desmond at the end of the rebellion.

Joan Maguire then introduced the conference to the exciting Dingle/Corca Dhuibhne Interactive History Timeline. This can be downloaded here: http://www.dinglehistory.com/

This was followed by the launch of a poster for schools and interested groups: ‘The Geraldines and the History of Munster.’ The title is a little misleading because the poster refers to European historical events as well.

Gallarus Castle

Gallarus Castle is a later medieval tower house, probably missing its top floor. It is located just yards from the famous, and much older, Gallarus Oratory.

Saturday afternoon was spent touring three of the tower houses once held by the Knights of Kerry on the Dingle Peninsula. These were Gallarus, Rahinnane and Minard Castles. That evening a concert of traditional Irish music was laid on at the Blasket Centre. The music was played by a French family who love Irish music – it was hard to believe they were not Irish musicians!

All in all, it was a lovely weekend spent enjoyed good papers, interesting company, gorgeous scenery, fabulous food and lovely music. Oh, and the weather was great too, capped by the most spectacular sunset on Saturday night!

Minard Castle

Minard Castle perched on its knoll overlooking its storm beach and Dingle Bay. In the far distance to the right, across the bay, can be seen the mountains of the Iveragh Peninsula – where the Ring of Kerry touring route is located.

 

 

 

 

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A funeral, culture, history and football…a busy weekend in September.

Thomas (left) and David Kent under escort to Fermoy Military Barracks in 1916. Thomas was executed in Cork on 9th May, but David was taken to Dublin and tried there. He was sentenced to five years of penal servitude.

Thomas (left) and David (right) Kent crossing Fermoy Bridge under miltiary and police escort to Fermoy Military Barracks in 1916. Thomas was executed in Cork on 9th May, but David was taken to Dublin and tried there. He was sentenced to five years of penal servitude. Thomas will finally be buried in the family grave in Castlelyons on 18th September 2015.

Tomorrow, Friday 18 September, sees the State Funeral of the ‘forgotten man’ of 1916. Thomas Kent of Bawnard, Castlelyons, County Cork, was executed a few days after his violent arrest, following a court marital in Victoria Barracks, Cork.This happened in the wake of the 1916 Easter Rising when the authorities were nervous that there might be further disturbances. Ninety-nine years after his execution, Kent’s remains were exhumed from the yard of Cork Prison, the former military prison, where he had been buried in accordance with British law. The government offered his family a State Funeral to honour him, but also, one suspects, to make up for decades of official refusal to exhume his remains. The funeral, in a way, will mark the beginning of the official commemoration of the 1916 Rebellion.

Midleton Endowed School was founded by Elizabeth Villiers Countess of Orkney in 1696. However the main building (on the right) wasn't completed until 1717 under the direction of Thomas Brodrick of Midleton. The wing on the left was added in the 19th century.

Midleton Endowed School was founded by Elizabeth Villiers Countess of Orkney in 1696. However the main building (on the right) wasn’t completed until 1717 under the direction of Thomas Brodrick of Midleton. The wing on the left was added in the 19th century.

Later that evening, Ireland celebrates Culture Night. In Midleton, we will have traditional music in the Library from 6.30pm,  followed at 7.15pm by an illustrated lecture on the Architects and Architecture of Midleton 1717-1908 presented by myself.The aim of the lecture is to encourage people to LOOK at the buildings around them, and to dismiss erroneous attributions or claims made for some buildings.

The Australian Gunner Ambrose Haley died of wounds received on the Western Front and was buried by his relatives in the family plot in Holy Rosary Cemetery, Midleton.

The Australian Gunner Ambrose Haley died of wounds received on the Western Front and was buried by his relatives in the family plot in Holy Rosary Cemetery, Midleton. (Australian National War Memorial)

The weekend sees a busy schedule. In my last post I wondered if anyone had got around to cloning a human being. This could prove useful! Firstly, Midleton sees the official opening of MY Place, the converted former fire station, now splendidly transformed into a community and yought facility (from 12.00 noon on Saturday 19 September). Then, on Sunday 20 September, the same venue hosts a World War I exhibition and lectures by the Western Front Association (Cork Branch).

With Cork, Youghal was the most important town in the county in 1600. It was the center of commerce in the eastern part of County Cork.

Youghal, as we know it, was founded by the Fitzgeralds. This weekend celebrates their influence in Munster and especially East Corka and West Waterford, especially the foundation of the Dromana estate 800 years ago.

However, the same days see the annual Youghal Celebrates History Conference at the Mall Arts Center in Youghal and at Dromana House in County Waterford. This year’s theme is the FitzGeralds of Desmond which links into 800 years of Dromana. Now you know why I wondered in my last post if someone had figured out how to cone a human being.

Sunday's prize - capturing the Sam Maguire Trophy is the goal of Kerry and Dublin on Sunday.

Sunday’s prize – capturing the Sam Maguire Trophy is the goal of Kerry and Dublin on Sunday.

And just to top it all off – Sunday also sees the All-Ireland Football Final between Kerry and Dublin, a contest that promises much excitement. Hopefully Kerry will do Munster proud again!

Links:

http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/castlelyons-village-prepares-for-thomas-kent-funeral-354029.html

http://culturenightcorkcounty.ie/events/324/midleton-library/

https://www.facebook.com/MY-Place-Midleton-219145221590464/timeline/

http://youghalcelebrateshistory.com/

http://www.rte.ie/sport/gaa/2015/0916/728318-column/