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The Irish Rose

Fitzpatrick Name History


Fitzpatrick Coat of Arms

The surname Fitzpatrick is the translation of Mac Giolla Phádraig from the original Irish to English. It is one of only two attested surnames of native Gaelic-Irish origin with the Norman French Fitz prefix. The other is FitzDermot (originally Mac Gilla Mo-Cholmóg). All others are of Hiberno-Norman descent.

The King of Ossory

Giolla Phádraig (the devoted of Patrick) was King of Ossory, a kingdom in Leinster in Ireland. According to Carrigan, this kingdom was founded by Aengus Osrith 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. His sons were styled Mac Giolla Phádraig (son of Giolla Phádraig). During the time of the Norman invasion, some Irish were given anglicised equivalents; FitzPatrick was the equivalent for Mac Giolla Phádraig.

By far the most important branch of the sept is the family whose Chief was known as Lord of Upper Ossory. At one time he was almost royal ruler over Laois and neighboring Kilkenny. Following the Norman invasion in the late 12th century, their power was vastly diminished by the ascendancy of the Ormond Butlers and other Hiberno-Norman magnates. Although their patrimony was restricted to Upper Ossory, the Fitzpatricks were by no means dispossessed of all their property. They were one of the original great Irish families to submit to Henry VIII, and as a result, in 1541, Brian, the first to assume the surname Fitzpatrick in place of Mac Gìolla Phádraig, 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.

Other prominent Fitzpatricks

The clan name is found throughout the world and several individuals and 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. The family of Sir Percy Fitzpatrick made a major contribution to the political formation of South Africa. 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. 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.

There is a concentration of Fitzpatricks in County Laois, and the border counties of Ireland, such as Cavan, Fermanagh, Armagh, Meath and especially County Down. The Fitzpatrick motto - "Fortis sub Forte Fatiscet" - can be interpreted as "The strong will yield to the strong." A second motto, "Ceart ládir abú" translates to "Right and Mighty Forever." Variant spellings of the Irish surname Fitzpatrick: Fitzpatricks, Kilpatrick, MacGilpatrick, McGilpatrick, Mcllpatrick and many more.

You can find gifts and products with the authentic Fitzpatrick coat of arms on our Irish Coat of Arms page. For detailed Fitzpatrick name history information, our Framed Irish Family Name History (#1760) describes the family origins and surname.

Visit a Fitzpatrick Pub in Ireland

In Doolin, County Clare, Fitzpatrick's Pub is a wonderful spot for dinner and a pint. If you can't visit in person, our personalized Fitzpatrick pub gifts are the next best thing!

Notable people named Fitzpatrick

  • Alfred Fitzpatrick, founder of the Frontier College
  • Brian Mac Giolla Phádraig (1585-c.1652), scholar, poet and priest who was executed by the Cromwellians in 1652
  • Benjamin Fitzpatrick (1802-1869), American politician
  • Brad Fitzpatrick (born 1980), computer programmer
  • Brian Fitzpatrick (Canadian politician) (born 1945), Canadian politician
  • Brian Fitzpatrick (Scottish politician) (born 1961), Scottish politician
  • Sir Charles Fitzpatrick (1853-1942), Canadian politician
  • Colleen Fitzpatrick (born 1969), aka Vitamic C, American singer
  • Colleen Fitzpatrick (born 1955), forensic genealogist
  • Denny Fitzpatrick, basketball player
  • Francis Fitzpatrick (1859-1933), soldier
  • James A. Fitzpatrick (1894-1980), American movie producer and narrator
  • Sir James Percy Fitzpatrick - 24 July 1862 - 24 January 1931, South African politician and author (Jock of the Bushveld)
  • Jim Fitzpatrick (artist), artist
  • Jim Fitzpatrick (politician) (born 1952), British politician
  • Joe FitzPatrick (born 1967), Scottish politician
  • John FitzPatrick, 1st Earl of Upper Ossory, Irish royalty
  • John Fitzpatrick (unionist) (1871-1946), Irish-American union leader
  • J. R. Fitzpatrick, Canadian NASCAR Driver
  • Ken Fitzpatrick (born 1963), Canadian breaststroke swimmer
  • Marc Fitzpatrick (born 1986), Scottish footballer
  • Mike Fitzpatrick (born 1963), American politician
  • Richie Fitzpatrick (1880-1905), American gangster
  • Rory Fitzpatrick (born 1975), NHL defenseman
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick (born 1982), NFL Quarterback
  • Sheila Fitzpatrick, American historian
  • Sean Fitzpatrick (born 1963), New Zealand rugby union player
  • Thomas Benjamin Fitzpatrick (1896-1974), 26th Governor of American Samoa
  • Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Cavan politician) (born 1918), Irish Fine Gael politician and Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann
  • Thomas J. Fitzpatrick (Dublin politician) (born 1926), Irish Fianna Fáil politician
  • Tony Fitzpatrick (born 1958), American artist
  • William Fitzpatrick (born 1949), violinist, conductor
  • William P. Fitzpatrick, politician in Rhode Island

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