Maurice Desmond, 1st Earl

Desmond, Maurice, 1st Earl, son of preceding, called "Maurice the Great," appears to have taken the rightful place of his elder brother, who died young. He was Lord-Justice of Ireland, had livery of Decies and Desmond in 1312, of Kerry in 1315, and was created Earl of Desmond, 22nd August 1329. He married at Greencastle, 16th August 1312, Margaret, fifth daughter of Richard de Burgh (the Red Earl of Ulster), who died 1331; and secondly Aveline, or Ellinor, daughter of Nicholas FitzMaurice, 3rd Lord of Kerry and Lixnaw. He took an active part in the war against Bruce in Scotland. In contest with the O'Nolans and O'Murroughs in 1330 he first introduced the practice of coigne and livery, or quartering soldiers on the inhabitants of the district they were sent to protect.

About this time the Anglo-Normans began to adopt Irish customs and names, and throw off English authority. Their estrangement was hastened by an Act of the English Parliament under Edward III., confining offices in Ireland to those who had estates in England, which irritated the Anglo-Norman party, and Desmond and others called a counter parliament at Kilkenny. Ufford, the Lord-Justice, marched against them, seized Desmond's estates, and threw him into prison. After Ufford's death, Desmond made his peace, attended Edward III. to the French war with twenty men-at-arms and fifty hobellars, and had his estates restored to him. "In consequence of his having been insultingly termed 'rhymer' by Baron Arnold le Poer, at a public assembly, this Maurice embarked in a fierce intestine strife, the nobles of Ireland banding themselves on the opposite sides. Such ravages were committed that the towns were obliged to provide garrisons for their own protection, and royal writs were issued from England, ordering the Le Poers and Geraldines to desist from levying forces for the purpose of attacking each other; but to little purpose."[147] The 1st Earl died in Dublin, 25th January 1355, and was buried at Tralee.


147. Geraldine Documents: Edited by Rev. James Graves: in Journal of the Archaeological Association of Ireland, October, 1869.