The Fall of the Fitzmaurices

Whilst it is not easy to launch a book during a pandemic, Ancestor Network researcher Kay Caball did just that recently. The event, outdoors and social distant was at the Norman Fitzmaurice Castle in Listowel.

Another title by Kay Caball: ‘Finding your ancestors in Kerry’ published by Flyleaf Press.

The Fall of the Fitzmaurices, tells the story of the demise of the Fitzmaurice family, who had been powerful Lords of Kerry, since the year 1235. By 1818, after over five hundred years as Kerry’s premier family, through a combination of extravagance, irresponsibility, and feckless living, their titles and estates were no more. A potent story of power, wealth, land, money, and sex among the Irish aristocracy in the 18th century.What is interesting from a historical point of view, is that the 1st earl of Kerry (Thomas Fitzmaurice) married Anne Petty only daughter of Sir William Petty – her eldest son inherited the title as 2nd earl of Kerry and his son the 3rd earl squandered the family fortune and land.

He was living a high life in Paris at the time of the Revolution and only barely escaped with his life. Anne Petty’s second son inherited the estates and titles of her brothers, became the Petty Fitzmaurices and her grandson William Petty Fitzmaurice was the Prime Minister of England at the time of the American revolution.

Francis -3rd earl – the one who escaped from Paris, had to leave all his papers behind in Paris and there are 8 boxes of these in the French national archives.

Kay Caball is a genealogist specialising in Kerry ancestors.  She runs the website as well as publishing a blog on local sources and issues. She has written several works on local history and families, including ‘Finding your ancestors in Kerry’ (see right above) and   “The Kerry Girls: Emigration & the Earl Grey Scheme” (Published by History Press, Ireland 2014). This is the story of 117 ‘orphans’ sent from Kerry workhouses to New South Wales in 1849/50. Kay is also active in local Kerry organisations and has been a Member of Tralee Urban District Council 1979-1984; a Member of the Governing Body of the Institute of Technology Tralee 1993-1999, and is a Member of Kerry Archaeological & Historical Society.


Fitzmaurice 1