Maurice FitzGerald, 2nd Baron Offaly

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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FitzGerald, Maurice, 2nd Baron Offaly, son of preceding, must have been very young at his father's death, as it was not until 1216 that he was put in possession of Maynooth and the other paternal estates, by a mandatory letter of Henry III. In 1215 he introduced into Ireland the order of the Franciscans, and in 1216 the Dominicans. He was appointed Lord-Justice both in 1229 and 1245. In 1232 he built the Franciscan Abbey of Youghal. In 1234, at a conference on the Curragh between Richard, Earl Marshal, the Baron of Offaly, and others, the former was murdered; whereupon FitzGerald proceeded to London, and took an oath before Henry III. that he was innocent of all participation in the deed. In 1234 the King issued a writ directing FitzGerald to proclaim free trade between Ireland and England.

In 1236 he founded the Dominican Abbey at Sligo as the abode of a community of monks to say prayers for the Earl Marshal's soul, and the same year built the Castle of Armagh, and in 1242 that of Sligo. In 1235 he marched at the head of a large force into Connaught, and reduced the province to submission. In 1245 he and Felim O'Conor of Connaught were admonished for tardiness in joining the King in an expedition into Wales. After this, among other rights, the Irish Barons claimed exemption from attending the sovereign beyond the realm. In 1246 FitzGerald subdued Tyrconnel, and in 1248 marched into Tyrone, and forced O'Neill to give hostages; but in 1257 he was defeated by Godfrey O'Donnell at the Rosses, near Sligo. Soon after this he retired to the Franciscan monastery at Youghal, assumed the habit of the order, and died the same year. He had married a daughter of John de Cogan.

Sources

202. Kildare, The Earls of, and their Ancestors: from 1057 to 1773, with Supplement: Marquis of Kildare. 2 vols. Dublin, 1858-'62.

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