Author: Vera Stanley


ISBN: 1418434434

Category: Fiction

Page: 144

View: 112

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Maurice FitzGerald, a Norman baron from Pembroke in Wales, invaded Ireland in 1169, accompanied by his six sons, several half brothers, nephews and kith and kin. He died in 1176 but founded the Geraldine dynasty that played an important role in Irish history for next 800 years. His descendants became Earls of Kildare and Desmond, and fought for and against the Crown, becoming major figures in the governance of Ireland. Power and wealth brought its own risks. King Henry VIII had the Earl of Kildare and five of his uncles hung, drawn and quartered after he was told there never would be peace in Ireland "until the blodde of the Garrolds be extinct". Queen Elizabeth I put the head of the rebel Earl of Desmond on a pole on London Bridge as a warning to her disobedient subjects. Undeterred, successive generations of Fitzgeralds "came out", fighting for Charles I against Oliver Cromwell, for James II against William III, as Wild Geese' for Bonnie Prince Charlie at Culloden, and for the United Irishmen against King George III. The imposition of the Penal Laws on Catholic Ireland almost finished them off but many lingered on as half horse' gentry, drinking, dueling and running off with heiresses but the family tradition was to die landless and bankrupt. In the modern world, no less than the medieval, the Fitzgeralds have sought to make their mark, as soldiers, administrators and politicians. They died gallantly in skirmishes in the wastes of Afghanistan and India for the Honourable East India Company, fought in the Continental Army for US Independence, died for the Confederacy and for the Union Army in the Civil War. Hundreds gave their lives in the First and Second World Wars, Korea and Vietnam but on these occasions, perhaps for only the second time in 500 years, they all chose to fight and die on the same side. Barons, Rebels & Romantics is a story of courage, honour and adversity and a must read for all Geraldines interested in their family's history and the events that shaped it.