ARISTOCRACY, celebrity and its associated wealth is not all that it is cracked up to be, a new book on the Fitzgerald family underlines.
The book, The Decline and Fall of the Dukes of Leinster 1872-1948, by NUIM historian, Terence Dooley, described the history of the family which once owned Carton House.
In perhaps a lesson for us all, it finds that in a 70-year period, the Dukes of Leinster fell from being Ireland’s premier aristocratic family, close friends of the British monarchy, to relative obscurity in an independent Irish Free State..
In 1872 the 3rd duke of Leinster resided in some grandeur in Carton House, but, in 1976. the 7th duke would die poor in a one-room bedsit flat in London.. The story moves from Maynooth onto London, Continental Europe, an asylum in Edinburgh, the USA, andback in Maynooth in the 1940s. The Land War of the 1880s;Home Rule; the breakup of Irish landed estates after 1903; the Great War of 1914–18; the turmoil of 1916–23;the 1920s global economic depression form the backdrop to the story of the famous family. At the book launch in Carton on 5 June, Conor Mallaghan said: “This book has everything. If it was fiction one might question the story line. “A television series jumps from these pages.
Professor Marian Lyons described the book as “sensitive and humane.”
Terence Dooley said Carton was as important to Kildare at its prime as Intel is today.