Earl of Fingall

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Baron Killeen and Earl of Fingall were titles in the Peerage of Ireland. Baron Fingall was a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. The seat of the title-holders was, from establishment until 1953, Killeen Castle in County Meath, Ireland, and there was an ongoing close relationship with the related Plunkett family of Dunsany, and with the Viscounts Gormanston, who intermarried. Around 1426, Christopher Plunkett was created Baron Killeen: his seven sons founded five separate branches of the Plunket family, including the Plunkets of Dunsany, Rathmore and Dunsoghly. The tenth baron, Luke Plunkett, was created Earl of Fingall on 29 September 1628. His first wife[1] was Elizabeth O'Donnell of Tyrconnell, daughter[2] of Rory O'Donnell, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell,[3] brother of Red Hugh O'Donnell. The eighth earl was created Baron Fingall on 20 June 1831. All three titles became extinct on the death of the twelfth earl in 1984,[4] and are not to be confused with the Prescriptive Barony or Lordship of Fingal originally granted in 1208 by King John of England. See also Fingal.

The Earls' Fingall Estate Papers[edit]

The Earls' of Fingall’s Fingall Estate Papers (i.e. real property) consist of a large archive of manuscripts and ephemera (17th–20th century), documents incl. deeds, indentures, leases, wills, marriage settlements, incl. many on vellum. The Papers were purchased by the Fingal County Council and lodged in its Fingal Local Studies and Archives Department following an auction by Whyte’s Auctioneers on 6 February 1999 (item 373). However, the lands concerned did not actually extend into Fingal, and the Earls’ Fingall Estate Papers contain no evidence of any ownership in Fingal. Practically all the properties and leases relate to County Meath (or Westmeath), understandably since the Plunketts were originally, as indicated above, Barons of Killeen in County Meath. They essentially have nothing to do with the territory of Fingal, and hence the lands per se never justified the denomination of Fingall as an Earldom and later peerage Barony (both now extinct) for the Plunketts of Killeen in Meath (as the prescriptive barony of Fingal rested with the Viscounts Gormanston by descent from Walter de Lacy who obtained it in 1208). Rather, the evidence indicates that Lord Killeen negotiated and purchased[5] the Earldom for £2,700 during a sojourn in London in 1628.[6]

Barons Killeen (c.1426)[edit]

Earl of Fingall (1628)[edit]


  1. ^ Carty, Mary Rose. History of Killeen Castle, published by Carty/Lynch, Dunsany, County Meath, Ireland, April 1991 (ISBN 0-9517382-0-8) – page 18 refers to Elizabeth O'Donnell as 1st wife of the Earl of Fingall (Fingal). She was a daughter of Rory O'Donnell, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell
  2. ^ Meehan, C. P. The Fate and Fortunes of the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnel (1870). Meehan observes of the Countess of Tyrconnell (Bridget) that “by the earl of Tyrconnel she had one son, Hugh, who succeeded to his father’s title, and two daughters, Eliza and Mary” (footnote, page 246)
  3. ^  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1895). "O'Donnell, Rory". Dictionary of National Biography 41. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 446. 
  4. ^ Burke-Plunkett, Elizabeth (Lady Fingall). Seventy Years Young, Memoires of Elizabeth, Countess of Fingal. First published by Collins of London in 1937; 1991 edition published by The Lilliput Press, Dublin 7, Ireland [ISBN 0-946640-74-2]. This Elizabeth, was a Burke from Moycullen in County Galway, who married the 11th Earl of Fingall, and should not be confused with Elizabeth O'Donnell, previously mentioned
  5. ^ The Early Stuarts and the Irish Peerage, by Charles R. Mayes, in The English Historical Review 1958 LXXIII (287):227–251, published by Oxford University Press, 1958.
  6. ^ The Old English in Ireland, 1625–1642, by Professor Aidan Clarke, Ithaca and London, 1966. Page 62, reference 8