The Fitzpatrick Family

Fitzpatrick family crest

(Crest No. 322. Plate 31.)

THE Fitzpatrick family is descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the line of his son Heremon. The Fitzpatricks belonged to the Clanna Failge tribe, so called from its founder, Rossa Failge, son of Cathire More, King of Ireland, A. D. 144. The founder of the family was Broasal Breac.

Fitzpatrick family crest

(Crest No. 325. Plate 65.)

The majority of the Leinster clans are descended from Cathire More. However, the clan of MacGilla-Patrick, says Keating, does not draw its origin from that king; for the race of MacGilla-Patrick branched off from the Lagenian stock of Bresal Brec, son of Fiacaidh Fobric, the fourteenth ancestor from Cathire upward. This Bresal had two sons—namely, Lugaidh Lothfinn and Conla. The principality of Leinster was divided between them, and what lies from the Barrow eastward fell to Lugaidh and to his posterity, and the part that lies westward from the Barrow to Slighe Dala (Shlee Dawla) fell to Conla.

The ancient name, MacGiollaphadruig, signifies “Son of the Noble Boy.” The title of the chief was Prince of Ossory, and the possessions of the sept were located in Queen’s County.

MacGilla-Padraig, or MacGilpatrick, Anglicized to Fitzpatrick, is thus designated in the topography of O’Heerin:

“To MacGilpatrick of the fine fortress

The land of Ossory is by law ordained,

From Bladhma southward to the sea;

Brave are his battalions in the battles.”

Donal MacGillpatrick, Prince of Ossory in the twelfth century, carried on various contests with Dermod MacMurrogh, King of Leinster, and his English allies under Strongbow and others, who had invaded and ravished his territory. It is stated in Maurice Regan’s account of these affairs that the Prince of Ossory had a force of five thousand men and fought many fierce battles with the English and their Irish allies.

In early times the MacGillpatricks ruled over the entire of the County of Kilkenny and part of Queens County, but in after-times they were dispossessed of the greater part of their possessions by the Butlers and other English settlers in Kilkenny and were confined to the barony of Upper Ossory, in the Queen’s County. The Fitzpatricks are still found in the Queen’s County but are much more numerous in the Counties of Cavan and Leitrim, to which they were driven at an early period by the English. From the reign of Henry the Eighth to that of George the Second, the Fitzpatricks were created Barons of Castletown, Barons of Gowran, and Earls of Upper Ossory.

A portion of the Queen’s County, containing some nineteen hundred acres, was annexed to the County of Kilkenny, by act of Parliament, at the instance of the Earl of Ormond, in order “to repress the outrages committed by the Fitzpatricks against his tenantry, as when tried in the Queen’s County they were always acquitted, but when brought to Kilkenny never escaped with impunity.” Sir Barnaby Fitzpatrick, Lord of Upper Ossory in the middle of the sixteenth century, and Richard, Lord Lowran Fitzpatrick, born about the middle of the seventeenth century, both distinguished themselves in the service of England.

The name is numerous in Ireland to-day and also in the United States. The late William J. Fitzpatrick, author of the “Sham Squire” and of the excellent biographies of Rt. Rev. Bishop Doyle and Father Thomas N. Burke, was a descendant of this family.