Fitzpatrick (surname)

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The surname Fitzpatrick is an anglicised version of at least two different surnames: Mac Giolla Phádraig;[1] and Ó Maol Phádraig.[2] In a study completd in 1997 it was ranked as the 60th most common surname in Ireland with an estimated 12,700 individuals bearing the name.[3] While both Mac Giolla Phádraig and Ó Maol Phádraig have similar meanings, they are likely unrelated; yet both have arrived in the modern era as Fitzpatrick. Despite the prefix "Fitz-", Fitzpatrick is not a name of Hiberno-Norman descent.[4][5]

History and origins[edit]

Giolla Phádraig (means "the devotee of Patrick"). Gilla Patráic mac Donnchada was a tenth century king of Ossory, a kingdom in between Munster and Leinster in Ireland. According to William Carrigan, this kingdom was founded by Aengus Osrithe who flourished some time about the latter half of the 2nd century of the Christian era. Giolla Phádraig's reign commenced some eight centuries later in 976 AD and he reigned until he was slain in 996 AD.[6] His sons were subsequently styled Mac Giolla Phádraig (meaning, son of Giolla Phádraig).

The Mac Giolla Phádraig dynasty were kings of Osraighe and at one time he was royal ruler over the Kingdom of Ossory (today comprising County Kilkenny and the western half of neighbouring Laois). Following the Norman invasion in the late twelfth century, their power was vastly diminished by the activity of William Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke and later of the ascendancy of the Ormond Butlers and other Hiberno-Norman magnates. Although their patrimony was restricted to Upper Ossory, the Mac Giolla Phádraig were by no means dispossessed of all their property. Following the conquest of Richard II in 1384, the Mac Giolla Phádraig entered into a series of alliances with other Gaelic chieftains, but the face of Irish politics was to change with the arrival of Sir John Talbot in 1414.[7] The power struggle that followed between Talbot and Sir James Butler, 4th Earl of Ormond, had a ripple-effect for the next 30 years,[8] and Mac Giolla Phádraig Osraighe, having to choose one side or the other, chose Talbot.[9] After the resolution of the Talbot-Butler feud the Mac Giolla Phádraig Osraighe entered into an alliance with House of Ormond[10] and the once mortal enemies intermarried.[11] Brían Óg Mac Giolla Phádraig, who married Margaret the daughter of Piers Butler, was the first Irish noble to accept the surrender and regrant terms of Henry VIII, and as a result in 1541, Brian was given the surname of Fitzpatrick by Henry VIII as he was required to forsake and refuse the name of Mac Gilpatricke, for which he was created Baron Upper Ossory in the Irish House of Lords. In the 17th century, the Fitzpatricks lost considerable territory through their staunch support of James II. Nevertheless, the head of the sept received a peerage in 1714 as Baron Gowran which was elevated to Earl of Upper Ossory in 1751. A third title Baron Castletown was granted in 1869. Records from 1878 show that no less than 22,000 acres (89 km2) of the finest land in Ossory was owned by the family.

The 1901 Census of Ireland indicates the top five Counties for the surname Fitzpatrick, by birth, were Co. Cavan, followed by Co. Laois, Co. Dublin, Co. Down and Co. Cork.[12]

Since 2019 Mac Gilpatrick of Ulster – Mac Giolla Phádraig Ulaidh and O'Mulpatrick of Breifne – Ó Maol Phádraig Breifne, both members of the Fitzpatrick Clan Society, have been registered with the Clans of Ireland,

Notable Fitzpatricks[edit]

The name is found throughout the world and several individuals and different families have been prominent. Apart from the Lords and Earls of Upper Ossory, also prominent was Brian Mac Giolla Phádraig (1585–1652), Vicar Apostolic of Ossory, who was murdered by Cromwellian soldiers. He was instrumental in saving the "Book of the O'Byrne", which he had transcribed, from destruction. Cenotaphs built in the 18th century on the Inishmore commemorate another landed branch, closely related to Lords of Upper Ossory.[13] The family of Sir Percy Fitzpatrick made a major contribution to the political formation of South Africa. Patrick Fitzpatrick (1792–1865) was a trusted colleague of Daniel O'Connell. Fitzpatricks have also contributed, with significant influence and success, in high office in Ireland, England, Canada, India, Australia and the United States. Hilltown, Co. Down born Peter Fitzpatrick was a notable Chicago lawyer[14] and, also from Down, Thomas and William Fitzpatrick were renowned architectural sculptors.[15] There are also famous sporting Fitzpatricks, notably Sean Fitzpatrick a member of the All Blacks, a son of a former All Black himself, Brian Fitzpatrick, and Ryan Fitzpatrick who is a Harvard-educated NFL quarterback. Vocalist Vitamin C is a stage name for Colleen Fitzpatrick, not to be confused with the Colleen Fitzpatrick who is considered one of the founders of forensic genealogy.[16] Brad Fitzpatrick is a notable programmer who amongst other things founded the LiveJournal blog site. Major Thomas (Broken-Hand) Fitzpatrick, from Cavan, Indian Agent to the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes brought peace to the Plains Indians of North America in 1851 at Fort Laramie.


This is a list of notable people with the surname Fitzpatrick.

Middle name[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Fitzpatrick-Mac Giolla Phádraig Clan Society,
  2. ^[bare URL]
  3. ^ A Survey of Irish Surnames 1992–97 by Sean J Murphy, p. 28.
  4. ^ Edward MacLysaght, Guide to Irish Surnames (1965)
  5. ^ Fitzpatrick-Mac Giolla Phádraig Clan Society website: The Fitzpatrick – Mac Giolla Phádraig Clan Society
  6. ^ Annals of Ulster 996.2:
  7. ^ Lyte, M., et al. (1927). Calendar of the Charter Rolls Preserved In the Public Record Office Vol. VI, 5 Henry VI – 8 Henry VIII. London: H. M. Stationery Office.
  8. ^ Griffith, M. (1941). The Talbot-Ormond struggle for control of the Anglo-Irish Government, 1414-47. Irish Historical Studies, 2, 376-397.
  9. ^ Pollard, A. (1969). The family of Talbot, Lords Talbot and Earls of Shrewsbury in the Fifteenth Century, [thesis], University of Bristol, Bristol, UK. Department of History, pp 213.
  10. ^ O'Byrne, E. (2001). War, politics and the Irish of Leinster, 1156-1606, [thesis], Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. Department of History, pp 218, pp 249.
  11. ^ Fitzpatrick, M. (2020). Mac Giolla Phádraig Osraí 1384-1534 AD Part I. Journal of the Fitzpatrick Clan Society 2020, 1, 1-17.
  12. ^[bare URL]
  13. ^[bare URL]
  14. ^[bare URL]
  15. ^[bare URL]
  16. ^[bare URL]

External links[edit]