Aspects of Irish Aristocratic Life: Essays on the Fitzgeralds and Carton House Jacket Image
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Co-editor of Aspects of Irish Aristocratic Life Karol
Mullaney Dignam interviewed on KFM radio, May 2014

The launch of Aspects Irish Aristocratic Life in the NUIM library, 8 May 2014
Co-editor of Aspects of Irish Aristocratic Life Terence Dooley
on the Fitzgerald legacy and Carton House, RTÉ Radio One, May 2014

Aspects of Irish Aristocratic Life: Essays on the Fitzgeralds and Carton House

Publication date:
19th February 2014

Author Biography

PATRICK COSGROVE received his PhD from NUI Maynooth where he subsequently held a postdoctoral research fellowship. He has lectured and published on various facets of the Irish land question and is the author of The Ranch War in Riverstown, Co. Sligo, 1908 (2012) as well as articles in leading academic journals including Irish Historical Studies and the Historical Journal. TERENCE DOOLEY is Associate Professor in the History Department and Director of the Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses and Estates at NUI Maynooth. He is the author of several books on the Irish country house and the Irish land question. Most recently, he co-edited a collection of essays with Christopher Ridgway entitled The Irish Country House: Its Past, Present and Future (2010). KAROL MULLANEY-DIGNAM holds a PhD from NUI Maynooth where she has lectured on several aspects of Irish society, culture and heritage. Formerly an Irish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow, she is the author of Music and dancing at Castletown, Co. Kildare, 1759-1821 (2011) as well as articles in academic journals, edited volumes, and the Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland (2013).


For almost 800 years, from their arrival with the first wave of Anglo-Normans in 1169, the FitzGeralds - Earls of Kildare and, from 1766, Dukes of Leinster - were the pre-eminent noble family living in Ireland, dominating the social, political, economic and cultural landscapes. This collection of essays, by established and emerging scholars, draws together some of the most recent and specialised research on the family, providing original perspectives on various aspects of their aristocratic history. Individual contributions inform on how the family first settled in Kildare and rose to ascendancy and how they maintained political status through court connections in England and beyond. Thematically, the essays cover such topics as the architecture and material culture of the Big House, the creation of the great eighteenth-century aristocratic demesne and landscape at Carton, the final break-up of the family's estates and its subsequent economic decline in the twentieth century.They examine the contributions made by individual members of the family to the social and cultural spheres in Ireland and further afield; their interest in local as well as international concerns; their enthusiasm for the arts, music and dancing; the relationship between employers and servants, dukes and the Catholic Church, younger sons and radicalism, the latter exemplified in the life of one of the more famous members of the family, Lord Edward FitzGerald, a leader of the Society of United Irishmen and the 1798 Rebellion.