Co. Kildare and The Da Vinci Code

by mariocorrigan on May 18, 2006

Co. Kildare and The Da Vinci Code
In a conversation with Rory de Bruir in Kildare I learned that Co. Kildare has a connection with the book by Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code. While reading the book in London Rory realised that he was in fact in close proximity to one of the sites mentioned in the text – the Temple Church –
The text makes mention of the Knights effigies which are located in the Church, at one time the Headquarters of the Knights Templars. The most famous effigy is that of the Crusader Knight, William Marshall or le Marshall, one of the most famous knights of his age. This William Marshall had married Isabel or Isabella de Clare, daughter of Strongbow in 1189 and was created Earl of Pembroke. He also inherited the Lordship of Leinster and the manor of Kildare. He is credited with building the castle of Kildare although it is more than likely a castle had been built there by Strongbow. This castle was developed over time and at one stage had four towers, the last of which is still standing. Marshall received a new grant of Leinster around 1208, having arrived in Ireland in 1207. He died in 1219 but Kildare Town remained in the direct hands of the Marshalls until 1245.
After the death of the last of the male heirs the lordship of Leinster was divided up among the five Marshall heiresses in 1247. A daughter of one of these was Agnes de Ferrars who married William de Vesci and her son William became Justiciar of Ireland (1290-1294). He surrendered the lands to the Crown in 1297 and was regranted them for life but he died that same year whereupon the land reverted to the crown. The land was soon after to pass into the hands of the Fitzgeralds, the 1st Earl of Kildare being created in 1316.
I believe that it is quite probable that Marshall or even Strongbow had granted the lands at Tully (where the ruin of the Church is situated at the Irish National Stud) to the Knights Hospitallers – another Crusader military Order. As Tully had been confirmed in their possession in 1212 by the pope then it is probable that it was one of theses two men. Marshall himself had fought with the Templars (although he was not a member of the Order) in the Holy Land and would have been acquainted with the Hospitallers and the value of having such a military Order close to his seat of power in Kildare.
Who Knows, maybe William Marshall brought more than Norman blood to the manor of Kildare?
Mario Corrigan – Local Studies

Did you know that Co. Kildare has a connection with the book by Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code?

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