MAYNOOTH came face to face with one of its most famous historic legacies when a member of the Fitgerald family visited family graves in the area at the weekend.
Lord John Fitzgerald, who is in his late fifties and lives in England, is brother to the current and 9th Duke of Leinster and the Marquess of Kildare, Maurice Fitzgerald.
He was accompanied around historic buildings, including a private family grave in the ground of Carton House Hotel on Saturday, 22 August.
Members of the Maynooth Historical Society had arranged for the acknowledgement of the Fitzgerald influence in the town and persuaded a member of the family, Lord John, to come.
The UK native, was said to have been very moved by the occasion, particularly when he attended and laid flowers at the burial place of a sister who died in her infancy.
Declan O'Connor, a member of the Historical Society, said that a hundred people attended the event.
"It exceeded our expectation," he said.
The event was organised as part of the Heritage Week celebrations.
Lord John left Ireland when he was ten and had not been back since.
He was brought to Maynooth Castle and St. Mary's Church where family burial areas are located.
Permission was sought from the Mallaghan family, the owners of Carton House, for the party to visit the grounds but the journey to the grave of his sister, the location of whose burial place he only recently discovered, was a private affair.
Mr. O'Connor described Lord John, who is heir to the Dukedom of Leinster, as a very nice man.
"He said he was was deeply touched, honoured and humbled by it all," said Mr. O'Connor.
The history group understands that other family members may visit the area some time in the near future.
Lord John also visited and laid flowers in St. Mary's Church at the mausoleum where some Fitzgerald family members are buried.
The family once occupied Carton House, including Lord Edward Fitzgerald, a direct descendant of Lord John's, who died during the 1798 rebellion.
The party also visited Maynooth Castle.
During the course of the two hour event, historian, Seamus Cullen, gave a talk on aspects of the Fitzgerald legacy.