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.
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.
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!