Very little in terms of effigies, coats of arms and monuments survived after the extinction of the earldom of Desmond, such was the scale of destruction caused in the suppression of the Desmond rebellions. We know that the churches were in ruins, and churches held many of the monuments. No portrait has survived either
The last reigning Earl, whose name was Gerald, seems to have inherited his family’s fraught relationship with towns and cities. How otherwise do we explain the attack on Youghal in 1579 and on Tralee in the next year? These attacks took place during the second Desmond rebellion.
An earlier Earl, James by name, attempted to forge foreign alliances, with the French and then the Emperor. A bill of attainder was the response:
“… for treason, in receiving and comforting the Lord Kendall (Comte de Candalle), of France, with other Frenchmen, his associates, within his lordship and manors in Ireland, and for privily sending messages to Francis, the French King, then being at war with Henry VIII”.
Perhaps a portrait image of one of the earls will turn up one day – perhaps in some French museum.