One of Ireland's most historic properties Glin Castle has been in the FitzGerald family, hereditary Knights of Glin, for over 700 years.Sherry Fitz / Christie's

One of the most historic properties in all of Ireland (and that’s saying something) is currently on the market for the first time in 700 years.

Glin Castle, which sits on the banks of the Shannon Estuary in Co. Limerick, has been the home of the FitzGerald family, the hereditary Knights of Glin, for centuries.

Image: Christie's / Sherry Fitz

Image: Christie's / Sherry Fitz

The Knight of Glin is an ancient Irish noble title. It was handed down by chieftains and recognized by successive British and Irish governments.

Desmond FitzGerald, the 29th Knight of Glin, was the last person to hold the title. He had inherited it in 1949, when he was just 12-years-old.

Desmond FitzGerald, the last Knight of Glin

Desmond FitzGerald, the last Knight of Glin

He passed away from cancer on September 14, 2011 at the age of 74, and because he had three daughters but no sons, the ancient title died with him.

The last Knight of Glin had previously said that he was not perturbed by the prospect of the title leaving this world with him, however.

"The Knight of Glin is a romantic title. It's not much use except for the romance of the story."

Glin Castle itself is a testament to the romance of that story.

The FitzGerald family – Desmond, his wife Olda and their three daughters Catherine, Nesta and Honor – lovingly maintained the stunning property for years. Desmond, a leading figure in Irish architecture, art and antiques, ensured that the castle was impeccably kept and adorned, and the family opened Glin to the outside as a way of ensuring its upkeep, hosting weddings and events and running a hotel business there.

Dominic West, Catherine FitzGerald and their daughter on their wedding day in Glin.

Dominic West, Catherine FitzGerald and their daughter on their wedding day in Glin.

But earlier this year, Olda made the tough decision that it was time for her to move on, telling the New York Times, “It’s agonizing. The children and grandchildren love it. But it’s too big for a little old lady.”

Glin Castle is now on the market for $7.2 million (€6,500,000) through real estate agents Sherry FitzGerald, represented by Roseanne De Vere Hunt.

The 380-acre acre property includes a main building, west wing, guest lodge and gate lodge, a working dairy farm, 23 acres of landscaped grounds, and captivating views of the River Shannon. It is less than an hour’s drive from Shannon Airport and Limerick City.

The listing’s description of the castle’s interior captures its understated opulence:

“The castle has superb interiors with decorative plasterwork and notable collections of Irish furniture and paintings.

Image: Christie's / Sherry Fitz

Image: Christie's / Sherry Fitz

“The front hall with a screen of Corinthian columns and a neo-Classical ceiling leads to the great ‘flying staircase' and a gracefully decorated Venetian window looking out on the gardens.

Image: Christie's / Sherry Fitz

Image: Christie's / Sherry Fitz

“All the other reception rooms lead off this enfilade and the drawing room, with its bowed front window, has charmingly naïve plaster decoration.

Image: Christie's / Sherry Fitz

Image: Christie's / Sherry Fitz

“In the library a broken pedimented mahogany bookcase artfully conceals a door leading back to the staircase hall.”

Image: Christie's / Sherry Fitz

Image: Christie's / Sherry Fitz

It also notes the family’s rare and fascinating back story: “The romantic and fairytale title of the Knight of Glin dates back to the early 13th Century. The title is an anomaly, akin to Irish chieftainships, and illustrates the Gaelicization of a powerful Norman family. In spite of the usual series of massacres, attainders, and confiscations, the Knights of the Glen, or Valley, somehow managed to retain their lands at Glin for over seven centuries.”

Image: Christie's / Sherry Fitz

Image: Christie's / Sherry Fitz

Would you want to live in Glin Castle? If the property were yours, would you open it to the public as a hotel or historic attraction, or would you keep it all to yourself? Share your thoughts in the comment section, below.

Image: Christie's / Sherry Fitz

Image: Christie's / Sherry Fitz


For more information, view the listing on the Sherry Fitz website. It is also listed on Christie’s International.