Eleanor FitzGerald, Countess of Desmond

Is your surname FitzGerald?

Research the FitzGerald family

Eleanor FitzGerald, Countess of Desmond's Geni Profile

Records for Eleanor FitzGerald

1,842,547 Records

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


About Eleanor FitzGerald, Countess of Desmond

Hon. Eleanor Butler died in 1636. (1) From before 11 January 1567/68, her married name became FitzGerald.(1)

Parents: daughter of Edmund Butler, 1st/11th Baron Dunboyne and Julia MacCarthy.(1)


  1. before 11 January 1567/68 to Gerald FitzJames FitzGerald, 14th Earl of Desmond, son of James FitzJohn FitzGerald, 13th Earl of Desmond and Móre O'Carroll.

Children of Hon. Eleanor Butler and Gerald FitzJames FitzGerald, 14th Earl of Desmond include: Lady Ellice Fitzgerald+(1) Lady Catherine FitzGerald+(2)



[# S6] G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume IV, page 253. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.

  1. [S6] Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume III, page 252.


Eleanor Butler was the daughter of Edmund Butler, Lord Dunboyne (d.1567), an Irish peer, and Cecily MacCarthy. Three weeks after Gerald Fitzgerald, earl of Desmond (c.1533-November 11, 1583) buried his first wife in January of 1565, he began his courtship of Eleanor Butler. After their marriage, they were almost immediately embroiled in hostilities with the first countess’s sons by her first marriage (to James Butler, earl of Ormond). Desmond spent the next seven years in English captivity, which Eleanor voluntarily shared. From October 1570 until his release in March 1573, he was in the custody of Sir Warham St. Leger and their son James (June 6, 1570-October 1, 1601) may have been born in St. Leger House, Southwark. Their other children were Thomas, Catherine, Jane, Ellen, Elizabeth, Margaret, and Ellice. Natalie Mears in "Politics in the Elizabethan Privy Chamber" in Women and Politics in Early Modern England, 1450-1700 edited by James Daybell, credits Eleanor with persuading her husband to agree to English reform in Ireland and resist the rebellion of Fitzmaurice FitzGerald in 1567, and with obtaining the earl's release in 1573. When they returned to Ireland, however, their son James was left behind in England to ensure his father’s good behavior. More than six years passed before he was allowed to visit Ireland. He resided with his mother at Askeaton, Limerick, but only for a month. Then she was obliged to hand him over to the English authorities. He was kept in Ireland, a prisoner, until his father’s death, and then sent back to England and housed in the Tower of London. An account of the involvement of both the earl and countess in Irish rebellions can be found in Richard Berleth’s The Twilight Lords, An Irish Chronicle. It ended with Eleanor, a price on her head, surrendering to the English in 1582. After Desmond’s death, she was resettled near Dublin with her daughters and still resided there, living in poverty, when her son was allowed to return to Ireland in 1600. He died the following year. Eventually, Eleanor was pardoned and pensioned by Queen Elizabeth. She made several visits to London during the latter part of Queen Elizabeth’s reign and the early part of that of King James.

view all 12

Eleanor FitzGerald, Countess of Desmond's Timeline

Corcaigh, Ireland
Age 16
Age 21
Age 21
June 6, 1570
Age 26
Saint Leger House, London, England
September 5, 1637
Age 93