Maurice FitzGerald, 2nd Lord of Offaly

Maurice FitzGerald I
Lord of Offaly
Justiciar of Ireland
Spouse(s) Joanna de Geneville


Gerald FitzMaurice FitzGerald
Maurice FitzGerald, 3rd Lord of Offaly
David FitzMaurice FitzGerald
Thomas FitzMaurice FitzGerald
Father Gerald FitzMaurice, 1st Lord of Offaly
Mother Eve de Bermingham
Born 1194
Died 20 May 1257 (aged 63)
Youghal Monastery, Ireland

Maurice FitzGerald I, 2nd Lord of Offaly (1194 – 20 May 1257) was a Norman-Irish peer, soldier, and Justiciar of Ireland from 1232 to 1245. He mustered many armies against the Irish, and due to his harsh methods as Justiciar, he received criticism from King Henry III of England. He was succeeded as Lord of Offaly by his son, Maurice FitzGerald, 3rd Lord of Offaly.


He was born in Ireland in 1194, the son of Gerald FitzMaurice, 1st Lord of Offaly and Eve de Bermingham (died between June 1223/December 1226). He succeeded to the title of Lord of Offaly on 15 January 1204, and was invested as a knight in July 1217, at the age of 23. In 1224 he founded South Abbey, Youghal, the proto-friary of the Irish Province of the Observant Franciscans,[1] dedicated to St. Nicholas. Maurice was summoned to London to accompany King Henry III of England to Poitou and Gascony in October 1229. He was appointed Justiciar of Ireland in September 1232 and held the post until 1245. His reputation was marred by rumours that he had contrived the death of Richard Marshal, 3rd Earl of Pembroke in 1234.[2] FitzGerald met Marshal at the Battle of the Curragh on 1 April, where Marshal was wounded and died shortly after. It was rumoured that Marshal had been betrayed.[3] In February 1235, the King criticised him for his proceedings in office, and described him as "little pleasant, nay, beyond measure harsh in executing the King's mandates".[2] The same year, he took part in the subjugation of Connacht. In the years 1241 and 1242, and later in 1246, 1247, and 1248 he mustered armies against the Irish. In the Annals of the Four Masters, 1247, it was recorded that Melaghlin O' Donnell, the Lord of Tyrconnell was slain by Maurice FitzGerald.

In 1245, Maurice was dismissed from his post as Justiciar as a result of tardiness in sending the King assistance in the latter's military campaigns in Wales. His successor was John FitzGeoffrey. That same year he laid the foundations for Sligo Castle. In 1250, he held both the office of Member of the Council of Ireland, and Commissioner of the Treasury. He also founded the Franciscan Friary at Youghal and the Dominican Friary at Sligo; hence his nickname of an Brathair, which is Irish for The Friar.[4] He was at the English royal court in January 1252, and received an urgent summons from King Henry in January 1254.

Marriage and issue

He married Juliana de Cogan, daughter of Sir William de Cogan and by her, they had four sons:


In 1257, Maurice and his Norman army engaged the forces led by Gofraidh Ó Domhnaill, King of Tír Chonaill at the Battle of Credan, in the north of what is now County Sligo. The two men fought each other in single combat and both were gravely wounded. Maurice died of his injuries at Youghal Monastery, wearing the habit of the Franciscans, on 20 May 1257, aged 63 years. In the Annals of the Four Masters, 1257 his death is described thus: "Maurice FitzGerald for some time Lord Justice of Ireland and the destroyer of the Irish, died." (In Irish this reads as: "Muiris macGerailt lustis Ereann re h-edh diosccaoilteach Gaoidheal d'écc".)

He was succeeded as Lord of Offaly by his son, Maurice FitzGerald, 3rd Lord of Offaly, rather than the rightful successor, his grandson, Maurice, son of his eldest son, Gerald.


  1. Lewis, Samuel (1837). A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland. London: Lewis.
  2. 1 2 Cokayne, G. E. The Complete Peerage.
  3. Power, D. J. (2004). "Marshal, Richard, sixth earl of Pembroke (d. 1234)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/18124. Retrieved 1 April 2010. (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  4. "Maurice fitz Gerald, 2nd Baron of Offaly". The Peerage.


Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Gerald FitzMaurice
Lord of Offaly
Succeeded by
Maurice FitzGerald
Political offices
Preceded by
Hubert de Burgh
Justiciar of Ireland
Succeeded by
John FitzGeoffrey
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