Earl of Kildare

From An Illustrated History of Ireland by Margaret Anne Cusack

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In August, 1489, Kildare was appointed Deputy to Prince Henry, who was made Viceroy. In 1498 he was authorized to convene a Parliament, which should not sit longer than half a year. This was the first Parliament held under Poyning's Act. Sundry regulations were made "for the increasing of English manners and conditions within the land, and for diminishing of Irish usage." In 1503 the Earl's son, Gerald, was appointed Treasurer for Ireland by the King, who expressed the highest approval of his father's administration. He married the daughter of Lord Zouch of Codnor during his visit to England, and then returned with his father to Ireland. Both father and son were treated with the utmost consideration at court, and the latter took an important part in the funeral ceremonies for the King's eldest son, Arthur. The Earl continued in office during the reign of Henry VII. An interesting letter, which he wrote in reply to an epistle from the Gherardini of Tuscany, is still extant. In this document he requests them to communicate anything they can of the origin of their house, their numbers, and their ancestors. He informs them that it will give him the greatest pleasure to send them hawks, falcons, horses, or hounds, or anything that he can procure which they may desire. He concludes: "God be with you; love us in return.

"GERALD, Chief in Ireland of the family of Gherardini, Earl of Kildare, Viceroy of the most serene Kings of England in Ireland."

Eight years after this letter was written, Ariosto writes thus of a brave old man, whose fame had passed long before to distant lands:

"Or guarda gl' Ibernisi: appresso il piano
Sono due squadre: e il Conte di Childera
Mena la pinna; e il Conte di Desmonda,
Da fieri monti ha tratta la seconda."

Round Tower at Donaghmore, County Meath

Round Tower at Donaghmore, County Meath

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