On this week’s special episode, the Duchess of Rutland speaks to Catherine Fitzgerald of Glin Castle in Ireland. In the show, Catherine regales some of the wonderful and amusing legends associated with her family, we catch a glimpse of the ghosts of Glin, and Catherine opens about the unexpected nature of her custodianship.
"Glin Castle is part of an architectural golden period in Ireland. It was built when most of Georgian Dublin was built. There was a surge in building, decoration, and the arts. Glin is part of a moment of optimism." — Catherine
"I was never brought up to take Glin Castle on. My father thought he would leave it to a preservation trust but they weren't able to take it on. So, it was really my passion, my love for it, that drove my decision to take Glin Castle off the market." - Catherine
"As a custodian, I'm not looking to control the future I'm just thinking about day to day and how I can take care of it."- Catherine
"What I'm trying to do with Glin is to make it self sustainable and self supporting. I want to create an estate that can go into the future and is secure." - Catherine
"[To be a custodian] is a type of artistic endeavour. As well as a sense of responsibility. And a sense of love for the beauty of the place in a world where there is so much destruction." - Catherine
About the Guest and Stately Home:
Catherine Fitzgerald is an Irish landscape designer and gardener who is also a member of the FitzGerald ‘dynasty’: An historic, aristocratic Anglo-Hiberno family based in Ireland. She is the daughter of Desmond FitzGerald, 29th and last Knight of Glin. Catherine married her current husband, actor Dominic West, in 2010 and the couple now live on the estate. Today, Catherine runs Glin Castle as an events venue.
Glin Castle is a Georgian country house and national heritage site located along the River Shannon in Glin, County Limerick, Ireland. The castle has belonged to the FitzMaurice/FitzGerald family for over 700 years and was the seat of the Knights of Glin. In the 14th century the Lord of Desmond elevated an illegitimate son to the hereditary knighthood of Glin. He built Glin Castle, which became the permanent seat of the Knights of Glin. The Knights are associated with a number of well known legends and myths and the family has remained politically and culturally a hugely significant family in Irish society. When John Bateman FitzGerald, 23rd Knight of Gli, married Margaretta Maria Fraunceis Gwyn in the 1780s he used her dowry to build a new home in the current Georgian style. Neo-classical elements were added to the building later and the new house would eventually boast delicate plasterwork ceilings, Corinthian columns, and an elegant flying staircase lit by a beautiful Venetian window.
About the Host:
Emma Rutland, The Duchess of Rutland, did not always stride the halls of stately homes. Born Emma Watkins, the Duchess grew up the daughter of a Quaker farmer, in the Welsh marsh countryside. She trained as an opera singer in the Guildhall School of Music, and worked as a successful interior designer before meeting her future husband David Manners, the 11th Duke of Rutland, at a dinner party. Their marriage in 1992 would transform Emma Watkins into the 11th Duchess of Rutland, thrusting her into the world of aristocracy, and handing her the responsibility of one of the nation's great treasures: Belvoir Castle. While simultaneously running the day to day operations of the castle, and raising five children, The Duchess became fascinated with the history and importance of the other stately homes of the UK. Join The Duchess as she embarks on a wonderful journey through time, to learn more about the incredible homes that have defined Great Britain and, most importantly, meet the other extraordinary women who work tirelessly behind their doors to preserve their history and magic for future generations.
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