Burial of Gerald Fitzgerald

+4 votes
196 views

This profile bears Category: Chapel of Kilnamanagh, Tralee, Ireland.  It is the only profile in the category.  I can find no record of such a specific chapel or cemetery. His burial is not mention in the biography section.  From what I can tell, it comes from a biography linked to his FindAGrave memorial where again there is only one person in the "cemetery."  It appears to be a "cemetery" created solely for the purpose of providing a place to put his memorial on FindAGrave.

Can we get agreement to replace the category with a statement in the biography section that his body (excluding his head) was purportedly buried in little chapel in Kilnamanagh near Castleisland with a citation to the biography from where it came?

I'd like to delete the category since there appears to be no possibility at all of anyone else being added to the category.

WikiTree profile: Gerald Fitzgerald
in Genealogy Help by Mary Jensen G2G6 Mach 9 (97.4k points)
retagged by Mary Jensen

4 Answers

+5 votes
I'm happy to see that category removed, being the current adoptee. Have added a couple of more appropriate categories.
by Valerie Willis G2G6 Mach 7 (74.8k points)
I would be inclined to possibly create a category for the Second Desmond Rebellion which occurred from 1579-1583.  This was a major Irish revolt against English rule in an effort to preserve Catholicism which was supported by the Pope and Spanish troops.  This revolt ended with his death.
Re category for 2nd Desmond Rebellion; will organise it, there is one in place but not yet used.

On the Second Desmond Rebellion note, I concur. You might want to add that statement/comment as an actual answer so that folks can vote, if they want. The Church and the rebellion were somewhat inseparable, perhaps.

Presently, Catholic recusants are not tracked via a category, either, to my recollection.

Now that is something I feel more competent to create a proper category for since the way I ran into this was working simultaneously on implementing religious category principles and comparing to suggestions for inconsistencies in category name formats.  I'll work on thinking through that tomorrow.
The existing categories for the Desmond rebellions could have a little more info included. Best write a project page critiquing the Catholic background to the war in in support of the existing category, the category pages are supposed to have minimal, basic info and link to a project page.

see the Nine Years War category https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Category:Nine_Years%27_War_%28Ireland%29

and the project page https://www.wikitree.com/index.php?title=Space:Nine_Years_War_in_Ireland_1593_to_1603&public=1

Such a project as you describe would be very interesting to add profiles too, having applications both in Tudor England and in Ireland; Scotland too re the Jacobites, and then there's the War between James & William in Ireland, and Cromwell - its a huge subject.
+2 votes
The Wikipedia page gives no mention of a burial place. Further, Tudor Palace (which some question as a source) gives an extensive biography, makes no mention of a burial place, but does cite these sources:

Sources cited at Tudor Palace site:

Burke, Sir Bernard. Dormant, Abeyant, Forfeited, and Extinct Peerages. London, 1866

Calendar of the Carew Manusripts. 4 vols. London, 1869-73

Cox, Richard. History of Ireland. London, 1689

Haverty, Martin. History of Ireland. Dublin 1860.

Webb, Alfred. A Compendium of Irish Biography (Dublin: M.H. Gill & Son, 1878) pp. 140-144.
by Fann Fann G2G6 Mach 5 (50.6k points)
edited by Fann Fann

"Chapel of Ease:" St. Kilian’s, Kilnamanagh in the Dublin Diocese does exist; they might respond to an archives@dublindiocese.ie inquiry about whether the Earl was buried on site.

When I followed out the FAG cite, it linked to a biography on another site which says the following:

At dawn, 11 Nov 1583, the Moriartys with Daniel O'Kelly, one of the soldiers, took the lead of the band up the glen, and rushed with a loud shout to the cabin where the Earl's party had lain. All escaped except a venerable looking man, a woman, and a boy. O'Kelly, who entered first, aimed a blow with his sword and almost severed the arm of the old man, who cried: "I am the Earl of Desmond: spare my life". O'Kelly immediately cut off his head, which was forwarded to London and impaled on the bridge. His body, after being concealed for some time by the peasantry, was ultimately interred in the little chapel of Kilnamanagh, near Castleisland. The spot where the Earl was killed is still pointed out as Bothar-an-Iarla, and the trunk of an old tree under which his body was thrown, remained in 1850.

This bio does not cite sources for each fact. At the bottom of the bio, it generally cites the following sources:

Burke, Sir Bernard. Dormant, Abeyant, Forfeited, and Extinct Peerages. London, 1866

Calendar of the Carew Manusripts. 4 vols. London, 1869-73

Cox, Richard. History of Ireland. London, 1689

Haverty, Martin. History of Ireland. Dublin 1860.

Webb, Alfred. A Compendium of Irish Biography (Dublin: M.H. Gill & Son, 1878) pp. 140-144.

 

I'm fairly sure this is the basis on which the category was created.

The current St Kilian's was built in 1978 after the ancient Church of St Kevin and the castle at Kilnamanagh were destroyed in 1974 as part of the building of a large housing development.

But none of that changes the point that it could just as well be covered in the biography section and there is no reason for a made up cemetery category as there is no possibility of grouping this profile with others buried at the same site.

+2 votes

Well, I may be wrong that there is no hope of grouping him with others buried in the same cemetery.  I followed some of the sources cited in the Wikipedia articles on the Desmond rebellions and found the following which comes from this article  

A. B. Rowan, The Last Geraldyn Chief of Tralee Castle, (Kerry Magazine May 1854) republished at pp 117-130 of Hickson Mary Agnes, Selections from Old Kerry Records: Historical and Genealogical: with Introductory Memoir, Notes and Appendix, 1872.

On pages 129-130, after providing a transcript of the deposition of an apparent eye witness to the death of Gerald Fitzgerald made the 28 Dec 1583, about six weeks after the actual events, the article says the following about the burial:

The last Earl of Desmond was not buried with his fathers ; he was laid however with those of his name and lineage. In a mountain defile running eastward through the townland of Cordel above Castleisland ”which in former days was an important pass into O'Keefe's country” stands the fortalice of Ardnagragh built to command and defend it ; and lower down the stronger and more important castles of Kilmurry and Lally-Mac-Quodam, all strongholds garrisoned by gentlemen of the Fitzgerald name and race relatives and retainers of the great Earl. In the throat of this defile, lies a little graveyard which seems to have been a peculiar and appropropriated burying place of the Geraldines, for the church and general burial ground of the parish of Kilmurry lies in the lowland immediately below, and the title of Kil-na-n-onaim or the " Church of the Name," verifies the tradition that up to a late period no one who did not bear the name of Fitzgerald had ever been interred there. To this lonely spot, his sorrowing adherents, after as Smith says "eight weeks hiding," conveyed the decapitated body of the great Earl and buried it. We however doubt the length of this delay for which there seems no reason, but rumour has it that within this century a stone coffin was exhumed in this churchyard said to have contained the remains of the once mighty chief of Desmond. This relic of former days no longer exists having been, if report may be credited, broken up by the modern Goth who found it for the lime kiln, an act of gratuitous mischief in a district where limestone is abundant. The Desmond remains may possibly have been kept unburied until his vassals could provide for him this last poor mark of fallen greatness, and in Glaunageentha wood the peasants still show a small recess, by the side of a hollow road near the spot, where tradition affirms his head to have been struck oft", in which it is supposed that the body lay until the " Fitzgeralds of Ardnagragh " came by night and removed it to their own burial place.

The article does not cite any sources for this burial information, but if it is correct, the body was buried in a cemetery with other members of the Fitzgerald Clan.

So I guess I'm less inclined to do away with the Category I found, but I'm not satisfied the name and location of the cemetery are correct.

by Mary Jensen G2G6 Mach 9 (97.4k points)

I have found another description of this church and graveyard.  In Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquities in Ireland, January 1, 1884, pp 291-3 there is a paper read by Arthur Hill on the Cathedral and other Churches at Ardfert.  The paper includes a list of church property in the area in a 1291 tax list.  One entry is for Eccia Kilmanna.  Of Kilmanna, the paper says 

The Ecclesia de Kilmanna, was I believe, a church which must have stood in the old churchyard at Kilnanoniam, in the parish of Kilmurry, near Castle Island, where the headless body of Gerald, the last great palatine Earl of Desmond, was buried by his followers in 1584 after it had been hidden away for eight weeks in the neighboring woods of Glaunagintha, where he fell while the soldiers were seeking it in order to have it hung in chains at Cork according to Ormond's orders. Archdeacon Rowan who knew the neighbourhood at Kilnanoniam well, says in the Kerry Magazine that the meaning of Kilnanoniam is the Church of the Name because none but the FitzGeralds were ever buried there in former times.

So this is another indication there was indeed a cemetery where a number of FitzGeralds were buried which was the churchyard of a former ancient church.

I have located on maps in County Kerry the townland of Kilmurry and the townland of Cordal above Castleisland.  I can't find any reference to this graveyard as still being in existence or any reference to ruins or a church or graveyard or placename anything like the one we are looking for.  However, I have located a pass or defile between two hills, Balinard and Mt Eagle, east of the townlands of Cordal near Castleisland in the current townland of Coum overlooking the current townland of Kilmurry in the lands at lower elevation just below.  It is in in Civil Parish of Ballincuslane, in the Barony of Trughanacmy, in the County of Kerry.  It is a fair distance from Tralee so I don't think the current category name of Chapel of Kilnamanagh, Tralee, Ireland is anywhere near correct.  I think it got confused with the current church of Kilnamanagh.

So now I need to construct a new category name for this cemetery if we are going to use it.  I'm still very doubtful about doing that as it would appear to be an ancient cemetery for which there are no records and no surviving tombstones.

If we want to use a category at all for his death, I would be more inclined to create one for the Second Desmond Rebellion as there are more records and documents related to that and it is at least something where we know his family was also involved.

But getting back to the grouping purpose of categories, I wonder if it is worth putting any more categories on his profile.

I think we can enrich his biography with what I have found, but I sort of think that would be enough.

What do the rest of you think?

+1 vote

Depending upon the tendancy of the England project group, we might follow their guidance.

  1. Does it matter if the Category place is used for information about the Church, vs. naming a mere one person buried; and, do we know whether others might be in WikiTree who were strongly associated with it, just not yet named (or necessarily actually buried there)?
  2. Given what Mary Jensen found: ("The current St Kilian's was built in 1978 after the ancient Church of St Kevin and the castle at Kilnamanagh were destroyed in 1974 as part of the building of a large housing development."), to me, it's all the more important to weigh the benefit of having the history of that Church summarized as it relates to a minor noble. It's actually remarkable that he lost his head, in the first place, but that the entire church was demolished for development reasons.
  3. Going the way of the Bio alone is not the end of the world, but I think that the sequence of events warrants a validity check and preserving what can be confirmed.
by Fann Fann G2G6 Mach 5 (50.6k points)

After my further research, I do not think that the castle at Kilnamanagh which was destroyed in 1974 is the correct location.  It is actually near Dublin on the east coast of Ireland whereas these events clearly occurred near Castleisland which is much nearer the west coast of Ireland.

Based on my further research, it would appear that there is very little information about this ancient chapel and graveyard aside from the stories about this one particular burial.  It was apparently a small remote family chapel to begin with, so I don't see much interest in it aside from the FitzGeralds.  There is an Irish Roots Project we could consult.  I think they would have the most insight as to whether there is likely to be any interest in this aside from this one profile.
I added Irish Roots to the tags.

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