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The Last Knight: A Tribute to Desmond FitzGerald 29th Knight of Glin

If you’ve been reading WIJW for a while you know that I’m constantly falling in love with extraordinary houses in need of rescue…and this is certainly a big part of why I’m so thrilled to share our friend Robert O’Byrne’s (The Irish Aesthete) latest book entitled The Last Knight: A Tribute to Desmond Fitzgerald, 29th Knight of Glin.

When Desmond Fitzgerald passed away in September 2011, O’Byrne was quite disappointed with the media coverage…it simply did not do justice to him. In answer, our friend O’Byrne produced this lovely tome to celebrate Fitzgerald, his home, and his great passion for Ireland’s rich cultural heritage. In O’Bryne’s words, “…Glin ( Fitzgerald’s ancestoral home)…radiated out those passionate commitments which embraced the whole of Ireland. For the most cosmopolitan man, Ireland was the centre of the world and Glin was the center of Ireland.”

A fierce advocate of preservation, and noted scholar (figuring prominently in the Irish Georgian Society and The Irish Architectural Archive), Fitzgerald was highly instrumental in bringing Irish arts and architecture to the attention of the public, and worked tirelessly to preserve many important properties. One of Fitzgerald’s close friends, antiques dealer extraordinaire Christopher Gibbs, proposed that O’Byrne’s book should be “..a rally cry, an appeal to others to pick up the baton, to follow where Desmond led.” He goes on to say, “none of us can hope to match his energy, his passion, his commitment, and the sheer scope of his scholarship. But we can try to emulate at least some of his attainments. In so doing, we will best pay tribute to a truly splendid Irishman.”

Sign me up! I’m always ready to take part whenever I can help raise awareness for the preservation of architecturally significant buildings.

The Last Knight is a captivating and inspirational book—a perfect firelight read. Do put it on your reading list! Buy it on Amazon here: The Last Knight: A Tribute to Desmond Fitzgerald, 29th Knight of Glin Using our link to Amazon helps keep WIJW going so we can bring you great finds like these!

Oh, and do stay tuned, we’ll be relying heavily on O’Byrne’s great expertise to help in planning an upcoming WIJW tour of Ireland!

♞ ♞ ♞


  1. Dear James,
    Thank you so very much for your kind words about my tribute to the late Knight of Glin, a dear friend, and a terrific scholar and advocate of this country’s cultural heritage.
    And yes, we yearn to see you here in Ireland as soon as possible….
    As ever,

  2. Oonagh says:

    Great subject for a book, what Desmond Fitzgerald did for the conservation of Georgian architecture in Ireland is definitely under appreciated, congrats Robert.
    So pleased to hear you’re going to Ireland, James. You must go to Glin Castle, Desmond Fitzgerald’s home. Some friends of mine were married there by a white witch. We had a wild ceili in the main hall, it was great fun.
    Oonagh x

  3. La Contessa says:

    I do have a wee bit of IRISH in me…….last name KIRKPATRICK!!!
    Lucky you again planning a trip…………..what will you wear in IRELAND??
    Can hardly wait to see the lovely photographs!

  4. James Andrew says:

    My Dear Robert O’Byrne,

    Your latest tome is a delightful and inspirational read!

    I just can’t wait to bring attention to many of Ireland’s marvelous masterpieces.

    If Castle Glin is on our agenda- I will have to replicate the photo on the cover of The Last Knight!



  5. James Andrew says:

    Hello Oonagh,

    I certainly agree and thanks to friends like O’Byrne attention is being brought to Ireland and it’s rich heritage.

    We look forward to romanticizing our journey and hopefully get many more to follow.

    I am hoping that Castle Glin will be on out tour.

    Cheers and Many Thanks


  6. James Andrew says:

    My Darling La Contessa,

    We are getting quite excited about our journey to Ireland.

    Robert O’Byrne is putting together an incredible itinerary – staying at many important homes along the way- so black tie dinners etc.

    Would be grand to wear some lovely Irish tweeds!



  7. Regina says:

    County Galway…THE most beautiful! I will forever remember Tulira Castle, owned and restored years ago by my late Great Friend, Janet Darian, a most gracious and beloved Soul. An avid horsewoman of the hunt and jumping, Connemara Pony’s were her love, when she moved to Santa Barbara Argenta came along. She loved painting the wooden Rocking Horses her husband built for the children of friends. They traded their beautiful Feadship yacht for the Castle…so elegant before yachts were tabloid mush.

    Get thee to the Ring of Kerry, look for Limerick Lace made by Nuns, enjoy Oysters at Paddy Burkes, find a Paddy hat of tweed so beautiful…and take my Memories to the Emerald Isle to root in honor of a Friend so missed and eternally loved.

    Light a candle in a church for Love & Light!

  8. Danny says:

    Oh James!
    I’m sure that the in the company of the cultured and conscientious Robert O’Byrne, you’re bound to have an intriguing tour of Ireland’s most interesting people and places.

    And if you make it to Donegal, visit Glenveagh, decorated at one time by Denning and Fourcade for Henry Mc Ilhenny, (described by Andy Warhol as the only person in Philadelphia with Glamour). For Ireland, he was most definitely glamorous as well as tenacious, he built an outdoor pool (bbrrrrr!) overlooking Lough Beagh….. Also of possible interest- Glebe House, once owned by Rory Cameron, whose story I came across on The Peak of Chic some time back….

    X, Danny

  9. James Andrew says:

    Darling Regina,

    Thanks for sharing your marvelous musings on Ireland and your sublime experiences there!

    All of this will be quite inspiring for own journey!



  10. James Andrew says:

    Danny my Dear,

    I will certainly mention all of your suggestions to Robert O’Byrne and Thank You for sharing these fantastic ideas for our visit to Ireland.

    Googling as we speak!



  11. Danny says:

    Also worth a Google!

    Encounters between American design/influence and Ireland;
    Lismore Castle in Waterford, a Devonshire home with baronial interiors, beautiful gardens, (often with modern art installations), that once played home to Fred Astaire’s sister, Adele when she married Charles Cavandish in the 1930’s… She too had a pool (now filled) built in the garden!

    Tony Duquette for Elisabeth Arden’s Irish stud, (now a children’s charity), Barretstown.

    And though she was fundamentally Irish, there’s also dress designer, and Eleanor Lambert acolyte, Sybil Connolly. She re-edited floral studies by 18th Botanical Artist, Mrs Delany for table wear at Tiffany, under John Loring, did fabric for Brunschwig et Fils, Schumacher etc, but also designed interiors for a Swiss Cottage (orne)in Tipperary.


  12. James Andrew says:

    My Dear Danny,

    This is fantastic!

    Thank You!

    All of this will help in planning out a super chic journey through Ireland.



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