Fitzgerald of Adraval

David Fitzgerald of Adraval died in 1818 and was interred in the family vault at Kilnananima, near Cordal, Castleisland where tradition holds that Gerald, the Earl of Desmond, was laid to rest almost two hundred and fifty years earlier.




Fitzgerald tomb at Kilnananima


David Fitzgerald married Catherine Twiss.1  Their eldest son William, a barrister, was of Adrival (sic), Co Kerry and Blackfort, Co Tipperary.  He may also have been of Millbrook House.2   In 1832, it was observed that ‘Counsellor Fitzgerald’ kept a school-house ‘in the midst of Kerry and in the midst of popery’.3


Second son David, ‘Honest Davy’, attorney, was of Adraval and Grouse Hall, a lodge in the vicinity.4  In 1827, David of Grouse-hall sued Lord Brandon for slander claiming the nobleman had called him ‘two thousand pounds worse than a beggar’.


Grouse Hall at Knockrower West on the Ordnance Survey map


David Fitzgerald died from typhus fever at Grouse Hall on Saturday 23 November 1833 and was buried in the family burial place at ‘Keelnanamah church’ (Kilnananima).  Mr Fitzgerald was described as ‘a professed member of the established Protestant church.’


He was clearly not regarded as such in the locality for ‘the multitude at the funeral on Tuesday [26] would not allow the rector of that parish to read the funeral service.  There was much boisterous shouting and uproar and some of the protestant gentlemen who attempted to interfere were insulted and hustled about’.5


Old building near the site of Grouse Hall 


By the last will of David Fitzgerald of Grouse Hall, he devised lands to his three sons, David (deceased at time of notice in 1860), William and Thomas in trust to Robert David Fitzgerald.6


In a letter to a local newspaper, it was remarked that David Fitzgerald was a great friend of Daniel O’Connell.  Correspondent Maurice Murphy added:


Mr David Fitzgerald’s son, Mr Robert Fitzgerald, was a very kind landlord.  He was often heard to say, when they were tenants at will: My poor tenants, if they had the land for half they would be poor still.  He sold early to his tenants.7


This is borne out in notices respecting the sale of the Fitzgerald estate in the 1850s and 60s.8


Murphy, writing in 1909, added, ‘Most of his sons went to Canada where they are wealthy ranchers and mine owners today’.9


O’Connell, friend of David Fitzgerald


Robert David Fitzgerald senior and junior went to Australia.  In 1860, an address was made in Tralee to Robert David Fitzgerald, former treasurer of the Hibernian Bible Society, on his departure to New South Wales.10


Dates suggest that Fitzgerald senior and his wife, Mary Anne, née Bell, went to join their son, who had arrived in Sydney in 1856 and joined the Department of Lands as a surveyor.  Their daughters Eliza Bell and Katherine Olivia went too.11


Robert David Fitzgerald senior died in 1872.  The death of his wife, Mary Anne, at Balmain, occurred on 12 July 1863.12  Their son, Robert David Fitzgerald (1830-1892), married Emily Blackwell, daughter of Edward Hunt, at Balmain, Sydney, in 1860 and had six children.13

Robert built a large house in his adopted country which he named Adraville.14  Robert and Emily’s son, also Robert David Fitzgerald, married Ida Le Gay, née Brereton, whose son, Robert David, was Australian poet ‘Bob’ Fitzgerald (1902-1987).15


Forty Years’ Poems by Robert ‘Bob’ Fitzgerald


Bob Fitzgerald composed a poem entitled ‘Transaction’ in which he described a visit to Ireland with his wife ‘to find the little town in Kerry from which his ancestors came and tracing down the house they once owned there.’16


The house had once been called Adraville, as applied to his Australian residence, and was sold to ‘Pat Donovan of the Square’.17


John T Kirtley’s Mountainside Press which published Fitzgerald’s Heemskerck Shoals in 1949


The original family residence of Adraval in Kerry cannot be traced.  In 1832, the Twiss family was in residence:


Wednesday last, Mrs Frances Twiss, of Ardravale, near Castleisland, accompanied by her sister-in-law Mrs Edward Twiss, were returning on a car from Killarney when within about a mile of that town the car was overturned.  Mrs F Twiss escaped with little injury but the other lady (being enceinte) was so severely hurt as to cause her death in Killarney on Sunday last.18


The property was later associated with the Bateman family.19  ‘Adrival’ was auctioned in the Landed Estates Court in 1860 at the insolvency of John Bateman, owner, ‘there is an oak wood and plantation of fir, birch and larch’.20


The last mention of Adraval appeared in 1880, when a woman named Horan was ejected.  Its fate after this is not known.21




1 It may have been Mrs Catherine Fitzgerald's death recorded in the Tipperary Free Press, 24 January 1827: 'In Tralee, Mrs Fitzgerald, relict of the late David R Fitzgerald Esq of Adrival'.   

2 Nothing remains of Millbrook.  In 1841, William W Fitzgerald Esq, William D Fitzgerald Esq and William Fitzgerald Esq were recorded there. 

3 The Baptist Magazine (1832), p166.  William Fitzgerald Esq of Adrivale, born 1785, married Anne Minnett (1784-1819) of Blackfort.  Anne’s ancestry is traced from Rev Paul Duclos, whose family immigrated to Ireland from Mentz.  He married Frances Massiott of Shandon, his eldest daughter Anne Duclos married in 1717 Robert Minnett Esq of Ballycahill (Annabeg) and of Blackfort.  Anne died in 1735 aged 39 and was buried at Knygh Castle, Co Tipperary (her husband Robert Minnett died in 1773).  Their son, Rev Robert Minnett of Blackfort (died 1783), rector of Tulla, Co Clare married his cousin Eleanor, second daughter of William Devereux Esq of Deerpark, Co Clare and had issue Anne.  Anne Minnett, heiress, married in 1806 barrister William Fitzgerald Esq of Adrivale. 

Anne and William had issue ten children including Anne Minnett Fitzgerald (1812-1896), Robert Minnett Fitzgerald (1815-1888 – in the Landed Estates Court (1862) Robert Minnett Fitzgerald Esq was petitioned by Anne Minnett Fitzgerald re: lands at Middle Carker otherwise Knockrower.  Robert married Elizabeth Dungan on 29 August 1849 in Nenagh, Co Tipperary.  In 1895, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, widow, was resident at Knockrower when she contributed to the Fuh-Kien Memorial Fund.  Their son was Walter Devereux Fitzgerald), Georgina Blennerhasset Fitzgerald (1816-1908) and eldest son David W Fitzgerald Esq (1813-1894), who married Cherry Christina, daughter of Rowan Purdon Esq MD in Blennerville Church, Kerry in February 1843.  David was ordained in 1846 in which year he was described as eldest son of William Fitzgerald Esq of Millbrook, Castleisland and nephew of Robert David Fitzgerald Esq.  In 1847, David accepted an appointment in St Paul’s Church, Charlottetown, Canada where he was elected rector in 1857 (see Dictionary of Canadian Biography).  The following are inscriptions from The People's Cemetery, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island: In Memoriam Rev D Fitzgerald, Rector of St Paul’s Church, Charlottetown, died Feb 23 1894 age 78 and Cherry Christiana his beloved wife died October 14 1893 age 87 – In Loving Memory of Rowan R Fitzgerald, Justice of the Supreme Court of this Island Born in Limerick, Ireland February 14th 1847 Died March 22nd 1921 – Also his wife Agnes M Tremaine who died July 23rd 1926 aged 78 years – In Memory of Kathleen Frances Fitzgerald Daughter of Hon R & Agnes M Fitzgerald Born Oct 4 1881 Died May 31 1898 – Frances Elizabeth Tremaine Born Feb 14 1842 Died Dec 20 1933.

William Fitzgerald Esq of Adrivale married secondly (1820) Hannah (cousin of Anne Minnett), daughter of Robert Atkins Esq of Firville and had issue William Washington (1821-1915), Margaret-Ormsby (died 1915, author of The O’Shaughnessy Papers in The Anglo-American Magazine (1852)) and Mary (b1830). William died at Ontario, Canada.  See Atkins of Firville in Burke’s records.

4 Valerie Bary, Houses of Kerry: ‘In 1812, Ardrivale House (sic) was the seat of David Fitzgerald ('Honest Davy'), second son of David Fitzgerald Esq senior and Catherine Twiss’.

Grouse Hall, sometimes Grouse Lodge, located at Knockrower West townland, which adjoins Adraval townland to the south.  It appears in the Tithe Applotment books at ‘Raynagnave’, in the townland of Knockrour (Knockrower West) and parish of Ballincuslane.  Grouse Hall was invariably described as ‘near Castleisland’ or ‘Tralee’.  New properties occupy the site.  A document in the collection states the property was in the name of Cahill in the 1970s and burned down.  Grouse Hall was also known as ‘Cuggera’ in 1820.  This may allude to nearby Cangullia (Caungillah/Caungullah/Caungilla/Mount Pigeon), a property associated with the Fitzgerald and Twiss families, no longer extant.

In the Landed Estates Court (1860), the estate of David Fitzgerald of Grouse Hall County of Kerry Esq deceased alluded to a mortgage in 1826 of the lands of Knockeenahone, East and West, and of a moiety of the lands of Middle Knockrour, also the lands of West Knockrour, and that part thereof called Raynagnave, executed by David Fitzgerald to James Cronin as a trustee for Morgan M’Sweeny … another mortgage of 1828 is documented for the lands of Middle Carker otherwise Knockrour, and of the lands of Knockeenahone and East Knockeenahone, executed by David Fitzgerald to Henry Oliver with consent of Edward Collis.  The same document refers to a judgment obtained in the Court of King’s Bench in Ireland in Easter Term 1825 by Solomon (Soloman) Pomerett (Pommerett), Mount-pleasant, Dublin against David Fitzgerald of Tralee in the County of Kerry Esq for £1,009. 

In the Incumbered Estates Commission (1857) William Fitzgerald, Thomas Fitzgerald and Francis Fitzgerald, owners, petitioned by Robert David Fitzgerald respecting lands at West Knockrour held ‘under lease dated 14th November 1790 from Maurice Connell to Catherine Fitzgerald … lands of Knockeenahone held under lease dated 1st June 1785 from William Creagh to David Fitzgerald … lands of East Knockeenahone held under lease dated 5th November 1798 from Michael Creagh to Catherine Fitzgerald’.

5 Kerry Evening Post, 27 November 1833.  The rector at that time was Rev Arthur Herbert.  Further reference, The Church of Ireland in Co Kerry a record of church and clergy in the nineteenth century (2011).

6 The following pertains to his daughters: The death of 19-year-old Margaretta, second daughter of David Fitzgerald Esq of Grouse Hall, at George-street Limerick, residence of her uncle, William Fitzgerald Esq, was recorded on 8 February 1838.  In October 1840, Rev Edward Brien of Midleton, Cork, married Kate, daughter of David Fitzgerald Esq of Grouse Hall at Cahirconlish Church.  The marriage at Dromkeen Church, Co Limerick, of Charles Robert Brien Esq, staff-surgeon, Royal Navy, to Agnes, youngest daughter of David Fitzgerald Esq of Grouse Hall took place on 9 July 1862.

The following may assist with genealogy: At Castleisland, David Fitzgerald Esq, Ballycushlane, to Miss Frances Foster, daughter of William Foster Esq (1836).  Arabella, relict of the late David Fitzgerald Esq, solicitor, died at Ballyard, Tralee on 10th August 1849.  Arabella nêe Collis and David had a son, Thomas Fitzgerald Esq, Civil Engineer of 3 Beresford-place, Dublin.

7 Killarney Echo and South Kerry Chronicle, 20 February 1909.  

 8 In the matter of Robert David Fitzgerald, petitioner and William Fitzgerald, Thomas Fitzgerald, Francis Fitzgerald, James Fitzgerald and Robert Minnett Fitzgerald, respondents (1855); Estate of Robert Fitzgerald, owner and R D Fitzgerald, petitioner, lands at Knockrone sold to Mr Tweedy for £5,475 (1859).  Final notice to claimants and incumbrancers in the Estate of David Fitzgerald of Grouse Hall, County Kerry Esq deceased and by his last will devised to Robert David Fitzgerald in trust for Testator’s three sons David Fitzgerald (since deceased) William Fitzgerald and Thomas Fitzgerald (1860). 

9 Another correspondent added that 'Mr Fitzgerald was a famous attorney of Dublin and Kerry, the grandfather of Dr Fitzgerald and Mrs Gubbins, near Limerick Junction'.  It may assist genealogy recalling the death of 19-year-old Margaretta, second daughter of David Fitzgerald Esq of Grouse Hall, at George-street Limerick, residence of her uncle, William Fitzgerald Esq, on 8 February 1838. 

10 In 1821, Robert D Fitzgerald Esq of Adravalle (sic), numbered among the County Kerry Petit Jury panel.  It may have been Robert senior who built a residence in Strand Street, Tralee which he named Adraval.  In March 1831, it was reported that ‘the handsome house now in course of building by Robert Fitzgerald Esq and nearly completed with the exception of the roof was blown down by the hurricane.  This accident was not in any measure occasioned by the flood as no part of the inundation reached so high as Strand-street’.  Notices to let Strand Street, Tralee, appeared in 1856 and 1857.  It was advertised for sale in April 1858; the furniture was auctioned the following month.

11 Eliza Bell married Rev T A Gordon and died at Balmain on 7 July 1864.  Katherine Olivia Fitzgerald married Rev Samuel Fox in Croydon, New South Wales, in 1861.  In 1887, it was observed that Rev Samuel and Mrs Fox had arrived at Ardfert Rectory.   Rev Samuel Fox, rector of St James, Croydon, New South Wales and earlier of Wagga Wagga, died in 1902; his wife predeceased him by five years.

12 Further reference and genealogy, Leichhardt Historical Journal 18 (1994).

13 The Australian Dictionary of Biography contains an entry for Tralee-born Robert David Fitzgerald (1830-1892) surveyor and naturalist.  See also Leichhardt Historical Journal 18 (1994) for genealogy.  Fitzgerald contributed twenty articles on birds of Kerry to the Kerry Magazine 1855-56.  There is an image of Robert in Leichhardt Historical Journal 18 (1994).

14 Built at 9 Fawcett Street. 

15 ‘Bob’ married Marjorie Claire Harris in 1931 and was survived in 1987 by his widow, son and three daughters.

16 Forty Years' Poems (1965) by Robert David Fitzgerald.             

17 Leichhardt Historical Journal 18 (1994), p82.  Your Strand Street house, like the rest, will suffer/And needs a lick of paint and repair. You could do worse than take the offer/ Of Donovan of the Square – from ‘Transaction’, see note above.  The poem, of eight stanzas, reveals that De Courcy Denny was the tenant of Strand Street during the ‘transaction’.

18 Belfast News-letter, 25 May 1832.  The Fitzgerald family appear to have taken up residency at Millbrook House.

19 On 26 October 1848, the death, in her 79th year, of Arabella Jane, daughter of Sir Barry Denny of Tralee Castle and relict of Rowland Bateman Esq of Oakpark, Adravale and Brosna Manor, was recorded.

20 Adraval House was not named on the early Ordnance Survey map.  The O’Donohoe papers record ‘no local memory of the property’.  Lewis in 1837 stated ‘the only gentlemen’s seats are Derreen, a lodge belonging to J Bateman Esq and Mount Eagle, the sporting residence of C G Fairfield Esq’.  In 1840, William Fitzgerald Esq applied to Tralee to vote, his residence at that time was Millbrook.

21 A group of armed men from Tipperary with blackened faces reinstated her and her family at Adrevale (sic).  ‘Sir Maurice O’Connell is the landlord of the property’.

Further reference, Philip of the Hundred Cows, A Folktale from Cordal (2015).