The Decline and Fall of the Dukes of Leinster 1872-1948
Dooley’s richly detailed account of this disaster includes Edward’s dealings with the businessman Henry Mallaby-Deeley. The businessman got Carton and all its income in exchange for Edward’s guaranteed allowance of £1,000 a year. A mess of pottage, in other words, although Mallaby-Deeley turned out to be a conscientious proprietor, guided by Charles Hamilton, who seems to have survived as the FitzGerald agent in Ireland for more than 60 years. Eventually the estate sold to the hotelier Ronald Nall-Cain and 30 years later to Powerscreen Ltd. whose founder Lee Mallaghan has established it as the country house hotel we know today.
WHENEVER the Dukes of Leinster are spoken of these days, it is usually in relation to their splendid country house of Carton.
Yet the names most associated with this mansion are those of the Irish Georgian Society and its founders, the Hon Desmond Guinness and his wife Mariga who were tenants at Carton in 1957. After the generations described by Terence Dooley in these thronged chapters the FitzGerald Dukes of Leinster may not seem to have left much behind them apart from a name, but the family at least bequeathed a precious legacy of awareness and responsibility which has enriched Irish heritage and saved many an Irish property.
As Director of the Centre for the Study of Historic Irish Houses and Estates at NUI Maynooth Professor Dooley is an acknowledged expert on the survival of Irish country houses and Carton is, as they say, mother’s milk to him.
His study of the FitzGeralds of Leinster goes much further back than the dates of his title, to which is added the somewhat lurid sub-heading of ‘Love, war, debt and madness’. This differentiates the book from his more academic publications but it also defines a narrower core and a concentration on an intimate rather than a general history.
As usual Dooley provides as full a background as possible, but the decline of the family is firmly connected here to an unfortunate marriage, an adulterous love-affair and the catastrophic inheritance of property and title by a son born out of wedlock.
|Publisher||Four Courts Press|
|Publication date||1 May 2014|