The Kingsborough family and Mitchelstown Castle

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Mitchelstown Castle, Co. Cork, was the inheritance of Wollstonecraft’s employer, Caroline King, Lady Kingsborough. During 1777–8 her husband, Robert King, remodelled it in Palladian style and improved the estate with the assistance of Arthur Young, who described it in A tour in Ireland (1780). Robert and Caroline separated in 1789. Robert died as second earl of Kingston in 1799, a year after being acquitted of murdering Henry Fitzgerald, whom he had shot for eloping with his youngest daughter. Caroline then managed Mitchelstown until her death in 1823. In the 1820s Caroline’s extravagant son and heir, George, third earl of Kingston (the notoriously brutal commander of the North Cork militia during the 1798 Rebellion), rebuilt the castle in neo-Gothic style. It was destroyed by the IRA in 1922. The site was later redeveloped by the Dairygold Co-operative Society.

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