Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

ultimate downfall into the hands of “the Protector.” The outcome of all this to-day has been the indissoluble endearment of Kilkenny to all Irishmen of “the faith."

The history of Kilkenny's famous castle is more acceptable to those who love Ireland in a familiar way. It is famous, some one has already said, as being “one of the few places where Cromwell treated an Irish gentleman politely."

The chronology of this stronghold of the middle ages — still the seat of the Marquis of Ormonde, the founder of whose ancestors, Theobald FitzWalter, was one of the retinue of Henry II. — is as follows:

It was built in 1195 on the site of a former edifice, erected by Strongbow in 1172. Donald O'Brien destroyed it in the following year, but again it took form as the ancestral home of a race of men whose members have all figured more or less prominently in Irish annals since the coming of the Normans.

It is one of the most ancient habitable buildings in the land, and also one of the most picturesque. Its massive gray towers and ivygrown walls stand high upon a natural ram

[graphic][subsumed][merged small]

part and overlook the slow-drifting river. The old stone bridge that spans this river here mayhap was often crossed by Congreve and Swift on their way to school in the city. Above, the castle rises boldly against the wistful blue of Irish skies, while at night it looks like a true palace of enchantment when the moon rises beyond its turrets and towers, and throws indistinct, distorted, and mysterious shadows on the river's surface. One feels a sense of complete repose, - but a repose that is interrupted by the occasional shriek of a locomotive, the drowsy bell of some convent, or the sharp notes of a military bugle.

A later Theobald became the sixth Butler of Ireland, and was made the Earl of Carrick. His son was created Earl of Ormonde, and married Eleanor de Bohun, the granddaughter of Edward I.

The second earl, James, became known as the Noble Earl," from being the great grandson of Edward I., and became Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, and he it was, the second earl of the house of Ormonde, — the direct ancestor of the present marquis, — who, in 1391, acquired the castle from another branch, which had sprung from Theobald FitzWalter.

The Ormondes were a true race of noblemen, as history tells, although their story is too elaborate to chronicle completely here.

The fourth earl, it is said, — by tradition, of course, and in this case quite unsupported, was favoured by the sun's having remained stationary in its course long enough for him to have achieved a victory over a hereditary enemy.

The fifth earl became Lord High Treasurer of England, but was unfortunately beheaded, so his career did not end exactly gloriously. The sixth earl was smitten by the fervour of the Crusades and died in Jerusalem, and one of the daughters of the seventh earl married Sir William Boleyn and became the mother of the unfortunate Queen Anne, and grandmother of Elizabeth.

One of the most famous men of the line was James, the twelfth earl, who, for services to Charles I., was created a marquis and raised to a dukedom by Charles II. Bishop Burnett states that “ He was of graceful appearance, a lively wit, and a cheerful temper; a man of

« PredošláPokračovať »