Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Eleanor, Countess of Desmond - Anne Chambers ~ A fine history

Such an excellent book about the Civil Wars that tore England part with a fine history of the life of Eleanor Countess of Desmond. Eleanor Butler married "Garret Fitzgerald" the 15th Earl of Desmond and was almost immediately thrust into practically unimaginable circumstances. Circumstances that included, her rejection by the Fitzgeralds and her eventual estrangement with her own brother, and almost life long battles with the English crown.

Eleanor Butler was strong, aristocratic, educated and politically more savvy than her husband and she outlived most of her adversaries. She made a second marriage with Sir Donough O'Connor Sligo which had its good years, when possible during Ireland's war with England. She fared better with O'Connor than she had in her years with Desmond although the times did not allow many Irish nobility much comfort.

A true heroine of the most traumatic time for Ireland, Eleanor was resilient beyond belief and was a loyal wife and a resourceful and pragmatic mother. Anne Chambers has written a well researched and thoughtful history of Eleanor and her life and the times she lived in.

The period came alive for me in this book and I heartily recommend it for all serious Irish scholars and lovers of the history of this period. My own family suffered the same losses at this time and I learned a great deal in reading it.

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