George Robert FitzGerald

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

« Edward FitzGerald | Index | John FitzEdmund FitzGerald »

FitzGerald, George Robert, "Fighting FitzGerald," a noted duellist and lawless desperado, was born at Turlough, County of Roscommon, about 1748. He was of good family, nephew of the Earl of Bristol, Bishop of Derry; was educated at Eton; was received at the court of Versailles; commanded a body of the Volunteers, and in 1784 was presented with the freedom of the city of Londonderry. He brought one young wife to an early grave, mourned for her in an extravagant manner, and before long married a second.

An account of his wild freaks and lawless excesses would fill a small volume. Most of his life was spent on his paternal estate in the County of Mayo. There he hunted by torchlight, terrified his friends by keeping bears and other ferocious animals as pets, erected a fort and set the law at defiance, and even held his father to ransom for a sum of £3,000. In 1782 he published a volume of 463 pages — An Appeal to the Public, relative to legal proceedings in which he had been engaged. On 12th June 1786 he was executed at Castlebar, with two accomplices, for the murder of an obnoxious attorney. Considering his station and connexions, the Irish Government showed remarkable firmness in permitting the law to take its course. His wife adhered to him to the last. His daughter, brought up by a relative, died in 1794, it is said of anguish on reading of her father's fate in an old copy of the Gentleman's Magazine, hidden away on the top shelf of a bookcase. An interesting series of articles on his life will be found in the University Magazine for 1840.

Sources

53. Burke, Sir Bernard: Landed Gentry. 2 vols. London, 1871.

131. FitzGerald, George Robert, Life and Times. Dublin, 1852.

146. Gentleman's Magazine. London, 1731-1868.
Gilbert, John T., see Nos. 110, 335.

« Edward FitzGerald | Index | John FitzEdmund FitzGerald »