Event: The Geraldines and Medieval Ireland—The Making of a Myth, TCD, 13 – 14 Sept 2013

The Geraldines and Medieval Ireland—The Making of a Myth
Advance Notice of the Inaugural ‘Medieval Ireland’ Symposium
Trinity College Dublin, 13th–14th September 2013.
To mark the 500th anniversary of the death in September 1513 of Gerald Fitzgerald (Gearóid Mór), the ‘Great’ Earl of Kildare, the first in a new series of biennial symposia takes as its subject:

The Geraldines and Medieval Ireland—The Making of a Myth

The Geraldines (or Fitzgeralds—descendants of Gerald of Windsor, constable of Pembroke, fl.1100) were perhaps the most important of the dynasties established in Ireland at the time of the Anglo-Norman invasion of the late 1160s. The family gave Ireland two of its most famous noble houses, the earls of Desmond and Kildare, as well as a host of later historical personalities. From the earliest moments of their involvement in Ireland the Geraldines became shrouded in myths, often of their own creation, and these were consciously cultivated by the family in the later Middle Ages to enhance its prestige and power. This fund of mythology was later appropriated for political and polemical uses by writers across the post-medieval centuries from the Elizabethan age to the early decades of the Irish Free State, most famously in the nationalist verse of Thomas Davis (d.1845):

Ye Geraldines! Ye Geraldines! – How royally ye reigned
O’er Desmond broad and rich Kildare, and English arts disdained.

The symposium examines the ‘myth of the Geraldines’ in these two senses: first the literary and historical evidence from the Middle Ages and its reception from the sixteenth century onwards; and second the myths and misconceptions that have encrusted around aspects of the family’s history in the professional historical scholarship up to the present day.
The keynote address (which takes place appropriately in the Thomas Davis Lecture Theatre, TCD) by Professor Steven Ellis of NUI Galway will examine the career of the Great Earl of Kildare, once dubbed by a twentieth-century historian the ‘all-but king of Ireland’. Collectively the papers will offer a fresh assessment of the significance of the Geraldines in medieval Irish history from the twelfth century to the early sixteenth.


Professor Seán Duffy (sduffy@tcd.ie); Dr Peter Crooks (pcrooks@tcd.ie)

Programme of Events
Thomas Davis Lecture Theatre, Trinity College Dublin

Friday 13 September 2013
Ciaran Brady ‘The myth of the Geraldines’
Seán Duffy ‘The origins of the Geraldines’

Huw Pryce ‘Giraldus and the Geraldines’
Colin Veach ‘The Geraldines and the conquest of Ireland’

17.30 Reception

19.00 Public Lecture in the Thomas Davis Lecture Theatre, TCD
Steven Ellis ‘The Great earl of Kildare and the “Geraldine Ascendancy” ’

Saturday 14 September 2013

Brendan Smith ‘The Geraldines and the expansion of Anglo-Norman Ireland’
Paul MacCotter ‘The dynastic ramification of the Geraldines’

Robin Frame ‘The “rebellious” first earl of Desmond?’
Katharine Simms ‘The Geraldines and Gaelic culture’

Linzi Simpson ‘The built heritage of the Geraldines’
Sparky Booker ‘The Irish in the Geraldine lordships’

Peter Crooks ‘The Geraldines in the late-medieval English world’
David Edwards ‘The Geraldine rebellions of the Tudor era’

Speakers’ Affiliations
Sparky Booker (TCD) • Ciaran Brady (TCD) • Peter Crooks (TCD) • Seán Duffy (TCD) • David Edwards (University College Cork) • Steven Ellis (NUI Galway) • Robin Frame (University of Durham) • Paul MacCotter (University College Cork) • Huw Pryce (University of Wales, Bangor) • Katharine Simms (TCD) • Linzi Simpson (Archaeologist) • Brendan Smith (University of Bristol) • Colin Veach (University of Hull)


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