Magazine article The Spectator

The Knights of Glin: Seven Centuries of Change

Magazine article The Spectator

The Knights of Glin: Seven Centuries of Change

Article excerpt

In this splendid, monumental slab of a book, Desmond Fitzgerald, the 29th Knight of Glin, has made the chronicle of his family epitomise the whole turbulent history of Ireland since the arrival of the Normans. The survey includes chapters by academic genealogists and other historians, with less formal contributions from the Knight himself and his wife, Madam Olda Fitzgerald. The illustrations are comprehensive: ancient maps and landscapes and portraits ancient and modern. There are a characteristically misty watercolour by Louis le Brocquy and photographs of architectural embellishments, fine furniture and paradisal gardens.

The Knights of Glin, like some other Irish aristocrats, have had to do some fancy footwork to retain their heritage in accordance with the realpolitik of their times. By a squeeze of the imagination, it may be possible to regard their switch from Catholicism to Protestantism in deference to the English crown as a sort of serial ecumenicism. After all, Christianity is Christianity. …

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