One week after the launch of The Fall of the Fitzmaurices, I have got around to give my readers some details of the book that I started researching five years ago. This research took me from Kerry (Lixnaw and Kenmare) to Dublin, London and Paris, not to mention calling on a number of other Kerry local historians whom I contacted over this time. While I might be credited as the writer of the book, it is collaboration of many heads, whose help, advice and criticism were invaluable.
So what is the book about? It tells the story of the demise of one of the most powerful families in County Kerry up to the late 18th century. It is also the story of the transition of the 90,000 acres of Kerry land from resident Irish landowners to new non-resident English investors. The Fitzmaurices arrived in Ireland with the Normans and
established a base in north Kerry in the mid 13th century. Thomas Fitzmaurice was titled the first Lord of Kerry, the title is equivalent to a Gaelic Chieftain. For over 500 years having survived the Desmond Rebellions, Queen Elizabeth 1, Cromwell, and the Jacobite war they then lost both their wealth and fortune in the space of one hundred years.
It is the story of the Fitzmaurice family over three generations, from Thomas 1st Earl of Kerry and his wife Lady Anne Petty to Francis the spendthrift 3rd Earl. A potent story of power, wealth, land, money, and sex among the Irish aristocracy in the 18th century.
With an introduction by Charlie Lansdowne, current 30th Baron of Kerry, 9th Marquess of Lansdowne and images of letters, deeds, and household bills of the 3rd Earl and his Countess. Published by the North Kerry Literary Trust, The Fall of the Fitzmaurices: The Demise of Kerry’s First Family is now on sale in local bookshops and online here.