The defeat at Callan is traditionally viewed as marking the expulsion of the Anglo-Normans (mainly Geraldines) from the south and their confinement to north of the rivers Maine and Laune. North of the rivers suffered attack after attack from the MacCarthys for many years after Callan, but this is the region that would become Kerry. Its ruler was Thomas FitzMaurice (d. 1298), now an infant but heir to Maurice who died at Callan. Thomas’s world was that of poet Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) in Florence and King Edward I of England. Edward (r. 1272-1307) was the “Hammer of the Scots”, for it was he who reduced the Scots and the Welsh. He was the first of the Plantagenets and married Eleanor of Castile. The term Plantagenet can apply to Henry II, first of the Angevins; it comes from the planta genista, or Spanish broom plant, which was worn by Henry II’s father, Geoffrey of Anjou. On account of the loss of English possessions in France, Edward I is considered the first of the Plantagenet kings.
Thomas, son of Maurice of Callan, was named an Appa (Ape, Simiacus) from his having survived an incident with a friendly ape when an infant. The ape, a family pet, is said to have taken the child from his cradle to the top of the Dominican Abbey, or perhaps the Castle, watched by the helpless crowd of onlookers, before returning him safely some short time later. The legend of the ape is to be found in other Anglo-Norman families, and though there is an ape at Springfield Castle, near Dromcollogher, the symbol of the earls of Desmond would be the Boar. Long after the destruction of the Geraldines and arrival of the New English of the Munster Plantation in the 1580s the Boar would be the symbol of a cadet branch of the Geraldines, the FitzGerald Knights of Kerry, of Dingle and later Valentia. Returning to the rule of Thomas an Appa, the sheer extent of histerritories in Kerry and beyond, is impressive, and some of his success in this regard seems due to his marriage, and to his inheritance of Decies and Desmond. The identity of his wife, described as “the King’s cousin”, is not agreed among the consulted authorities, but she is mentioned as such in the king’s charter to Thomas in which the FitzAnthony possessions of his grandparents are confirmed to him. By this royal grant, dated February 6, 1291/2, Thomas acquired “all the lands aforesaid of Decies and Desmond so surrendered by him, together with the custody of the castle of Dungarvan, and all bedelaries, rents, farms, suits of court, services, liberties, and free customs, homages, rents and services of all tenants as well English as belonging to that land”.
Despite the greatness of King Edward I, the power of the English kings on French soil was sliding fast and even Edward failed to recover Normandy. Thomas an Appa’s son, Maurice, became first Earl of Desmond in 1329. There were two brief earldoms, then Gerald, the fourth earl, married a Butler of Ormond. The Ormonds were descended from a daughter of Edward and Eleanor of Castile, and in this way the Geraldines became related to the Plantagenets.