A guide to the house and its contents
The next pages provide a guide to Glin Castle and its contents.
The ceiling is possibly attributable to the Dublin stuccadores Michael Stapleton or Charles Thorpe. It dates from 1780's.
The arms of Col. John Bateman FitzGerald, 24th Knight of Glin, and his English wife, Margaretta Maria Fraunceis, are impaled in a shield - this is in the section as you entered by the hall door. They were married in 1789. (Another ceiling by either of these hands exists at Ash Hill, Co. Limerick, which belonged to a cousin of the 24th. Knight, Chidley Coote.)
In the classic language of architecture, every detail of the interior decoration is drawn from the world of Greek and Roman mythology.The ceiling conjures up a Golden Age 'regained', where agriculture flourishes and arms and armour have been laid aside.Venus, the Goddess of Love, according to the Ancients, grows cold without the presence of Bacchus, God of Wine, and Ceres, Goddess of the Harvest and Food (put simply - love grows cold unless there is wine and food!). Accordingly, around the room's cornice, we find Bacchic ram masks flanked by love trophies of Cupid's weapons, while the Roman pelta-shield, which is flowered with festive Irish shamrock, is garlanded with Arcadian sphinxes emerging from Roman foliage.
The rectangular Roman ceiling has its central, trompe l'oeil scalloped, dome radiating from a foliated pattera and enclosed by a triumphal ribbon-band of poetic laurels entwining palm-flowers. This is ribbon-tied with bacchic vine-garlands enclosing Etruscan figurative medallions; and these [medallions] symbolise a paradisiacal age, or perfect world, governed by Justice, Peace and Love. Thus, scale-bearing Justice is accompanied by Venus's attendants who bear doves of Peace, while ancient warriors, like Mars Pacificator, rest on their arms.
The corner spandrels continue the theme of Peace and Plenty, with their sacred-urns and flowered Roman foliage festooned with pearls - the fruits of the sea. They also symbolise the Elements of Earth and Water: the golden corn and fruit-filled cornucopias recall the kindly harvest goddess Ceres; and Venus embowed dolphins support the trident wand with which Neptune controls water- an allusion, perhaps, to the river Shannon across the 'lawn'.
2 prints and a watercolour of Forde Abbey, one of the seats of John Fraunceis Gwyn, father of Margaretta Maria - wife of Col. John Bateman FitzGerald, 24th Knight of Glin.
The burgee from the Valkyrie - Lord Dunraven's racing yacht, a challenger for the America's Cup 1893.
Right of the front door
A view of old Glin Castle by Austin Cooper, signed and dated 12th July 1796 'taken from the inn window.
A reproduction of the map by William Jones of the Siege of Glin 7/9th July 1600.
A print of Sir George Carew, Lord President of Munster, who sieged the Castle.
Left of Drawing room door
Beagh Castle, Co. Limerick, on the Shannon near Pallaskenry. One of the tower houses of the Knights of Glin.
An early 19th century landscape by Samuel Frederick Brocas showing Glin House before the battlements were added, with the Shannon beyond.
Askeaton Castle, also by Samuel Frederick Brocas. Askeaton was one of the chief castles of the Earls of Desmond.
Right of Drawingroom door
Margaretta Maria Fraunceis, the English wife of Col. John Bateman FitzGerald, 24th Knight of Glin. This is a copy of a miniature by Abraham Daniel of Bath which is in the Library.
Portrait of Thomas FitzGerald, 23rd Knight of Glin, by Philip Hussey. A mild man who married a Protestant, Mary Bateman, and finally inherited the Glin estates from his brother Richard in 1775. He died in 1781.
A copy of a miniature of John Bateman FitzGerald in his Glin Militia uniform of about 1798.
On the radiator
A genealogical vellum scroll with the arms of the FitzGerald family.
Central section of left-hand wall
Six paintings of horses by Lady Rachel FitzGerald, daughter of the 4th Earl of Dunraven. 'Galtee More' was the famous horse, bred in Co. Limerick by John Gubbins, which won the Triple Crown of the Derby, the St. Leger, and the Two Thousand Guineas. 'Scheidam' was owned by Desmond FitzJohn Lloyd FitzGerald, 27th Knight of Glin. He won the Kildare National Hunt Steeple Chase at Punchestown in 1899.The others are of horses belonging to the Earl of Dunraven.
Portrait of Robert, 1st Lord Kingston (died 1676) a great-grandson of the last White Knight of Mitchelstown, by the Scottish artist John Michael Wright.
Far left-hand side by staircase arch
Portrait of Vesey FitzGerald by Sir Martin Archer Shee, the Irish painter who became President of the Royal Academy in London.
FitzGerald lost the 1828 Clare Election to Daniel O'Connell who went on to take his seat as the first Catholic member of the English House of Commons. FitzGerald was created Lord FitzGerald and Vesey, and is shown here in his robes of Chancellor of the Irish Exchequer. He died in 1843.
Over the chimney piece
Portrait of John Bateman FitzGerald in the uniform of the Royal Glin Artillery - a picture he commissioned in 1782 from Joseph Wilson when he attended the Dungannon Convention of Volunteers. He died in 1803.
The presentation sword by Read of Dublin given to Col. John Bateman FitzGerald in 1800 for his exertions keeping the peace in West Limerick during the 1798 Rebellion. It bears the arms of him and that of his wife. Col. John had an ambivalent attitude towards Irish politics at this time – at one time he flirted with revolution but in the end settled for King and Country. It is said that his kinsman, Lord Edward FitzGerald, visited Glin in the fateful year of 1798.
Right-hand wall by staircase arch
Portrait of Nesta FitzGerald in her court presentation dress by the Norwegian artist Christian Meyer Ross.This was painted in 1882, while on honeymoon in Rome, after her marriage to Arthur Blennerhassett of Ballyseedy, Co. Kerry. She was the sister of the 27th Knight and died in 1945.
Centre wall on the right-hand side
Six more horse studies by Lady Rachel FitzGerald.
In the centre
A portrait of Richard FitzGerald, 22nd Knight of Glin, by Herman van der Mijn. It shows him being brought the challenge to a duel by his servant. He was a famous duellist, keen on the horses – an aggressive character who died in 1775 without male heirs. He was succeeded by his brother Thomas.
Wall by Diningroom door.
A portrait of Edmund FitzGerald, 21st. Knight of Glin, by Philip Hussey. Edmund became a Protestant in 1741 and in the same year married Anne Cuffe, niece of the 1st Lord Desart. He was a Freemason and had a string of racehorses despite being of a scholarly temperament. Although he was Richard's elder brother, he was much bullied by him. Richard conformed a year earlier and tried to wrest the estate from Edmund. Probably because of this dispute and other disputes with Richard and with his mother, Mary, Edmund spent at least ten years in a debtor's prison in Dublin. He died in 1773.
Furniture and other objects
Above the door:
A set of four bayonet holders decorated with the FitzGerald arms which probably date from about 1796 when Col. John Bateman FitzGerald raised a Yeomanry corps, known as the Glin Cavalry, in preparation for the French invasion.
About the room:
The wooden lantern dates from the 1920's and was copied by the English architect, Detmar Blow, from a Venetian Renaissance example in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. It belonged to a set made for the long gallery at Adare Manor, Co. Limerick, home of the Dunraven family. Under the portrait of Richard FitzGerald is a very fine Irish mid-18th century baroque mahogany side table with the arms of the FitzMaurice family of Kerry. Under the portrait of Nesta Blennerhassett nee FitzGerald is another side table of about 1760 with the arms of the Creagh family of Co. Clare. Under the portrait of Lord Kingston is a mid-18th century side table with rocaille decoration.
Two pairs of fine Irish mahogany sidechairs, dating from about 1750, stand on either side of the two centrally placed carved Irish side tables. The set of ten hall chairs with the two crests of the Glin FitzGerald - the wild boar and the twin towered castle - are among the original furnishings made for the house in the period from the late 1780's to the early 1790's. These chairs survived the sale of the contents in 1803
The folly lodge, visible from the front door, was a copy of this little twin towered castle.
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