Gerald Fitzgerald 11th Earl of Kildare was born in 1525. A time of great upheaval and volatility for an Anglo-Irish Aristocrat and especially, for a Roman Catholic. He was the son of Gerald Fitzgerald 9th Earl of Kildare and Elizabeth Grey Countess of Kildare. Gerald was born at a very auspicious time in European history. The light of intellectual liberalism had signaled the end of the dark ages for medieval Europe heralding a time of Scientific and artistic enlightenment and age of discovery - The Renaissance. Gerald would become the ultimate Renaissance man embracing the arts gaining a reputation as an Astrologist, Scientist and Alchemist and It was because of this interest in the emerging sciences that Gerald also gained a reputation as a Sorcerer, practitioner of the black arts and the soubriquet “The Wizard Earl”
Late at night, while walking down a street in Dublin's Stoneybatter you might hear a clanging on the cobble stones behind you but, fear not for 'tis only the ghost of Billy in the Bowl, a dubious character from 18th century Dublin.
On October 17th 1171, King Henry II became the first English King to set foot on Irish soil. By the time he left the island six months later Ireland's relationship with England had been changed forever.
Indeed Henry's visit still haunts Ireland today...