Duke of Leinster

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Dukedom of Leinster
Coronet of a British Duke.svg
Coat of Arms of the Duke of Leinster.svg
Argent a saltire gules.
Creation date 26 November 1766[1]
Monarch George III
Peerage Peerage of Ireland
First holder James FitzGerald, 1st Marquess of Kildare
Present holder Maurice FitzGerald, 9th Duke
Heir presumptive Edward FitzGerald
(nephew of the present holder)
Remainder to the 1st Duke's heirs male of the body lawfully begotten
Subsidiary titles Marquess of Kildare
Earl of Kildare
Earl of Offaly
Viscount Leinster
Baron Offaly
Baron Kildare
Former seat(s) Maynooth Castle
Kilkea Castle
Leinster House
Carton House

Duke of Leinster is a title in the Peerage of Ireland and the premier dukedom in that peerage. 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.

Earls of Kildare from 1316[edit]

This branch of the Welsh-Norman FitzGerald dynasty, which came to Ireland in 1169, were initially created Earls of Kildare. The earldom was created in 1316 for John FitzGerald. 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). The tenth Earl, Thomas FitzGerald, known as Silken Thomas, was attainted and his honours were forfeit in 1537. In 1554, Thomas's half-brother and only male heir, Gerald FitzGerald, was created Earl of Kildare in the Peerage of Ireland. He was subsequently restored to the original Patent in 1569, as 11th earl. The second (1554-created) earldom became extinct in 1599, although the original earldom survived.

Dukes of Leinster from 1766[edit]

The 1st Duke of Leinster.
The 2nd Duke of Leinster

The family was originally based in Maynooth Castle in Maynooth in County Kildare. In later centuries the family owned estates in Waterford with their 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 state.

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),[citation needed] 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.[3]

Dukes of Leinster, first creation (1691)[edit]

Earls of Kildare (1316)[edit]

Ireland in 1450, with the Earldom of Kildare shown just southwest of the Pale
Other titles: Lord of Offaly (c. 1193–?)
Other titles (11th–13th Earls): Earl of Kildare and Baron of Offaly (1554)
Other titles (20th Earl): Viscount Leinster, of Taplow in the County of Buckingham (GB 1747)

Marquesses of Kildare (1761)[edit]

Other titles: Earl of Kildare (1316), Earl of Offaly (1761), Viscount Leinster, of Taplow in the County of Buckingham (GB 1747) and Lord of Offaly (c. 1193–?)

Dukes of Leinster, second creation (1766)[edit]

Other titles: Marquesse of Kildare (1761), Earl of Kildare (1316), Earl of Offaly (1761), Viscount Leinster, of Taplow in the County of Buckingham (GB 1747) and Lord of Offaly (c. 1193–?)
Other titles (4th Duke onwards): Baron Kildare (UK 1870)

The heir presumptive is the present holder's nephew Edward FitzGerald (born 1988), only son of Lord John FitzGerald (1952–2015)

Line of succession[edit]

  1. Edward FitzGerald (born 1988) (only son of Lord John)
  2. Peter Charles FitzGerald (born 1925) (grandson of Lord Charles FitzGerald, fifth son of the 4th Duke)
  3. Stephen Peter FitzGerald (born 1953) (only son of Peter FitzGerald)

Coat of arms[edit]

Arms of the Duke of Leinster

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 pet 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).[5] The motto "Crom A Boo" comes from the medieval Croom Castle and "Abu", meaning "up" in Irish; Crom Abu was the FitzGeralds' medieval warcry. Crom (Croom) and Shanet (Shanid) were two castles about 16 miles apart in Co Limerick, one being the seat of the Geraldines of Kildare, and the other that of the Geraldines of Desmond, whose distinctive war cries were accordingly “Crom-a-boo” and “Shanet-a-boo.” In 1495 an act of Parliament was passed (10 Hen. VII. C. 20) “to abolish the words Crom-a-boo and Butler-a-boo.” The word “Abu” or “Aboo,” an exclamation of defiance, was the usual termination of the war cries in Ireland, as in a' buaidh, "to victory!"[6]

  • Escutcheon: 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."

Further reading[edit]

  • 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[edit]