Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Fitzgerald, Gerald (d.1204)

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FITZGERALD, GERALD, Lord of Offaly (d. 1204), was the son of Maurice Fitzgerald (d. 1176) [q. v.], the invader of Ireland. Though the Geraldines had already become a well-known family, Gerald is more often called Fitzmaurice than Fitzgerald. Accompanying his father from Wales to Ireland, he and his brother Alexander showed great valour in the battle against Roderick O'Conor, outside the walls of Dublin in 1171 (Exp. Hib. in Giraldus, Opera, v. 268, Rolls Ser.) After his father's death, William Fitzaldhelm [q. v.] deprived him and his brothers of their stronghold of Wicklow, though after a time compelled to give them Ferns in exchange (ib. p. 337). He had already received from Strongbow, Naas and other districts in Kildare, and had erected Maynooth Castle (Gilbert, Viceroys of Ireland, p. 93). In 1199, though receiving King John's letters of protection, he was ordered to do right to Maurice Fitzphilip for the lands of 'Gessil and Lega' (? Leix), whereof he had already deforced Maurice (Chart. 1 John, m. 6, p. i. ; Oblate 1 John, m. 12; Cal. Doc. Ireland, Nos. 101, 102). But on his death, Gerald was still in possession of those estates (Cal. Doc. Ireland, No. 195). He is often described as 'Baron Offaly,' the middle cantred of which had been among his father's possessions. He died before 15 Jan. 1204 (ib. No. 195), though generally said to have died in 1205 (Book of Howth, p. 118, which describes him erroneously as justice of Ireland). He married Catherine, daughter of Hamon of Valognes, justiciar of Ireland between 1197 and 1199 (Gilbert, Viceroys, pp. 57, 93). He left by her two sons (Lodge, Peerage of Ireland, i. 59). one of whom, his successor, was Maurice Fitzgerald, lord of Offaly (1194?–1257) [q. v.]

Gerald is described by his cousin, Giraldus Cambrensis, as small in stature, but distinguished for prudence and honesty (Exp. Hib. p. 354). He was the ancestor of the earls of Kildare.

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