Episode 7: Glin Castle
For centuries Glin Castle, nestled at the stunning mouth of the Shannon, has been home to the black knights of Glin, one of the oldest Anglo-Norman families in the country. Featuring the last ever interview with Desmond Fitzgerald, the 29th Knight of Glin, this episode tells a 700 year long tale, revealing how the Black Knights championed Gaelic culture through revolution and patronage. This is a story of battles, beheadings and executions of being hunted like vermin across Ireland for treason and of fostering the Irish language at a time when no one cared for it. The 24th Knight, John FraunceisFitzGerald (1791-1854) was a fluent Irish language speaker and scholar who did much to promote the Irish language long before it became fashionable in the days of the Gaelic revival. However, he was also a known womaniser who went by the nickname, RidirenamBan (Knight of the Women). But he was not insensitive to injustices against women and after the body of the young woman Ellen Hanley was found near Glin Castle in 1819 he did his best to bring her alleged murderer to justice (the incident inspired the famous melodramatic play ‘The Colleen Bawn‘). Manchán meets the last Knight of Glin – Desmond Fitzgerald in the final interview that was filmed with him before he passed away on the 15th Sept 2011. He discovers that the 29th Knight of Glin was one of the Irish Georgian Societies titans and one of the greatest champions of Irish Art. And his death now marks the end of an era for the knights of Glin as, with no son to inherit the 700-year-old title, the unbroken line of knights who lived at Glin Castle has ended. Níbheidh a leithedíarísann.