Thursday 22 March 2018


John Fraunceis FitzGerald In the Limerick election of 1830, a lampoon mentions 'that lecherous treacherous Knight of Glin' who 'in gambling and drinking and wenching delights'. A few years previously, Michael Stackpoole, the headmaster of the local school, described in his poem In Praise of Glin how 'he spends his wealth among the poor dispensing happiness from door to door'. In a strange way, both descriptions accurately depicted aspects of the mercurial character of John Fraunceis FitzGerald.

John Fraunceis was know as Ridire na mBan (Knight of the Women) due to his unquenchable sexual desire, his pursuit of beautiful women and keeping of mistresses. There is only one record in oral tradition that he exercised his right to ius primae noctis. A Frawley family who were tenants on the estate were evicted because they refused the Knight's demands to exercise his right to sleep with their daughter.

One of the best remembered of his many mistresses was Mary Wright, who came from nearby Askeaton but lived at Tarbert before moving to Glin. Pressed by the Knight's despairing wife Bridgetta, who was tiring of the Knight's infidelity, Fr Daniel O'Sullivan tried to restrain his new parishioner. He sanctioned Mary Wright by naming her from the altar during Mass at Glin, hoping she would repent and end her illicit relationship. When this failed, Fr O'Sullivan excommunicated her and called her a prostitute.

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