Once home to the most powerful family in Ireland

Carton House is located near Maynooth in county Kildare. It was built in 1739 for the Fitzgerald family and designed by the famous architect Richard Cassels whose other works include Leinster House, Powerscourt House, and Russborough House. The Fitzgerald family can trace their history back to the original Norman invasion of Ireland. They eventually became the Lords of Maynooth and the Earls of Kildare. They were the most powerful family in Ireland up until Silken Thomas Fitzgerald and his five uncles were executed for starting an uprising in 1537 against the English. They finally regained their land and titles but did not regain their position at the English Court until the 18th century. Carton House remained in the control of the FitzGerald’s until the early 1920s when the 7th Duke sold his birthright to a moneylender in order to pay off gambling debts of £67,500. The 7th Duke was 3rd in line to succeed and so did not think he would ever inherit it however one of his brothers died in the war and the other died of a brain tumor… and so Carton was lost to the FitzGeralds. In 1923, a local unit of the IRA went to Carton with the intention of burning it down but was stopped when a member of the FitzGerald family brought a large painting of Lord Edward FitzGerald to the door and pointed out that they would be burning the house of a revered Irish patriot. The 1,100-acre estate has been the property of the Mallaghan family since 1977 as is now one of the country’s finest hotels.