Meinhard Schomberg, 1st Duke of Leinster

Duke of Leinster

The Duke of Leinster (referring to Leinster, but unlike the province pronounced "Lin-ster") is Ireland's premier peer.

Earls of Kildare

Initially Earls of Kildare, the FitzGeralds came to Ireland in 1169, becoming as was said more Irish than the Irish themselves, a phrase which noted how various new waves of arrivals in Ireland adopted Irish culture, religious practices and the language of the native Irish, becoming exactly what the phrase implies. The earldom was created in 1316. Two senior FitzGeralds, Garret Mór FitzGerald and his son, Garret Óg FitzGerald served as Lords Deputy of Ireland (the representative of the Lord of Ireland (the King of England) in Ireland).

Dukes from 1766

The subsidiary titles of the Duke of Leinster are: Marquess of Kildare (1761), Earl of Kildare (1316), Earl of Offaly (1761), Viscount Leinster, of Taplow in the County of Buckingham (1747), Baron Offaly (1620) and Baron Kildare, of Kildare in the County of Kildare (1870). The Viscounty of Leinster is in the Peerage of Great Britain, the Barony of Kildare in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, and all other titles in the Peerage of Ireland. The courtesy title of the eldest son and heir of the Duke of Leinster is Marquess of Kildare.

The family was originally based in a large castle in Maynooth in County Kildare. In later centuries the family owned estates in Waterford with country residence being a Georgian house called Carton House which had replaced the castle in County Kildare. In Dublin, the Earl built a large townhouse residence on the southside of Dublin called Kildare House. When the Earl was awarded a dukedom and became Duke of Leinster, the house was renamed Leinster House. One of its occupants was Lord Edward FitzGerald, who became an icon for Irish nationalism through his involvement with the Irish Rebellion of 1798, which ultimately cost him his life.

Leinster House was sold by the Leinsters in 1815. After nearly a century as the headquarters of the Royal Dublin Society, which held its famed Spring Show and Horse Show in its grounds, Oireachtas Éireann, the two chamber parliament of the new Irish Free State, rented Leinster House in 1922 to be its temporary parliament house. In 1924 it bought the building for parliamentary use. It has remained the parliament house of the Irish Free State (now the Republic of Ireland).

The Dukes of Leinster had by the early 20th century lost all their property and wealth. Their Carton House seat was sold (though one of Ireland's most historic buildings with perfectly preserved 18th century grounds, it was controversially turned into a hotel and golf course in the late 1990s by the current owner in an act condemned by environmentalists), as later on was their other residence in Waterford. The family now live in a smaller property in Ramsden, Oxfordshire.

A controversial claim by the supposed descendants of the 5th Duke (largely debunked by Michael Estorick in 1981) was made and failed, with the Lord Chancellor accepting the claim made by the 9th Duke of Leinster.

Dukes of Leinster, First Creation (1691)

Dukes of Leinster, Second Creation (1766)

Heir Presumptive: Lord John FitzGerald (b. 1952) (The Duke's brother)

Coat of arms

The coat of arms of the Dukes of Leinster derives from the legend that John FitzGerald, 1st Earl of Kildare, as a baby in Woodstock Castle, was trapped in a fire when a monkey rescued him. The FitzGeralds then adopted a monkey as their crest (and later supporters) and occasionally use the additional motto Non immemor beneficii (Not forgetful of a helping hand).

  • Arms: Argent a saltire gules.
  • Crest: A monkey statant proper environed about the middle with a plain collar and chained or.
  • Supporters: Two monkeys, environed and chained as in the crest.
  • Motto: Crom a boo (Now it would be spelt "Crom Abu". In English, "Up Croom", or "Croom to victory"; Croom was one of their castles).

Further reading

  • Estorick, Michael. Heirs & Graces: the Claim to the Dukedom of Leinster. Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1981.
  • Fitzgerald, Alan John, Barons,Rebels & Romantics: the Fitzgeralds First Thousand Years. 1stBooks Library, 2004

See also

External links

References

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