francis bacon countess desmond, fynes morrison countess desmond, george carew countess desmond, john harington countess desmond, tudor life span, usher countess desmond, walter raleigh countess desmond
“And would like us much better as old-as, as old
As that Countess of DESMOND, of whom I’ve been told
That she lived to much more than a hundred and ten,
And was killed by a fall from a cherry-tree then!
What a frisky old girl!”
The portrait on the right is of the Old Countess of Desmond, who lived to the age of 120 years. Or 135. Or 140. Or maybe 162.
The Countess survived through the Tudor period and, although the record is unclear on the years of both her birth and death, she became famous for her longevity. And for that fatal fall from a cherry tree.
Her name was Katherine (Kathrin) FitzGerald, of the Irish house of Desmond, which was established by the 12th century Cambro-Norman conquerors of that country. Over the generations her people fatally entwined themselves with the Gaelic nobility, especially in the province of Munster, and were driven close to destruction during the Tudor re-conquest of Ireland in the 16th century.
Why does the Countess matter? Continue reading