|Title||1st Lord of Offaly|
|Tenure||c. 1193 – 1204|
|Locality||Maynooth Castle, County Kildare, Ireland|
|Spouse(s)||Eve de Bermingham|
|Parents||Maurice FitzGerald, Lord of Lanstephan|
Gerald FitzMaurice, jure uxoris 1st Lord of Offaly (c. 1150 – 15 January 1204) was a Cambro-Norman nobleman who took part with his father, Maurice FitzGerald, Lord of Lanstephan, in the Norman Invasion of Ireland (1169–71). Together with his five brothers and one sister Nesta they founded the notable FitzGerald/FitzMaurice Dynasty which was to play an important role in Irish history.
Gerald Fitzmaurice was born in Wales in about 1150, the second eldest son of Maurice FitzGerald, Lord of Lanstephan and an unknown second wife. Gerald had one sister, Nesta, who was named after their celebrated grandmother, Princess Nest ferch Rhys, and five brothers, including the eldest, William FitzMaurice, 1st Baron of Naas.
Gerald's father was the leader of the first landing of Normans who arrived in Ireland in 1169 to assist the exiled Irish King of Leinster Dermot MacMurrough regain his kingdom. 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. Upon the death of their father, on 1 September 1176, Gerald's elder brother William granted him half the cantred of Ophelan with centres at Maynooth and Rathmore. He was confirmed in them by Prince John in 1185.
William Fitzaldhelm deprived him and his brothers of their stronghold of Wicklow, though after a time compelled to give them Ferns in exchange. He had already received from Strongbow Naas and other districts in what became County Kildare, and had erected Maynooth Castle.
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', that he had taken from Maurice. Between 1185 and 1204, Fitzgerald, had established a settlement at Geashill. Originally of motte-and-bailey design, it was a timber castle on an earthen mound, nearby were located the church and tenant dwellings. On his death Gerald was still in possession of those estates. In the 15th century the wooded fortress at Geashill was replaced by a stone tower house. Today, only the west wall of the castle remains.
Marriage and issue
Sometime around 1193, he married as her first husband, Eve de Bermingham (died between June 1223 and December 1226), daughter of Sir Robert de Bermingham. In marriage, he received the barony of Offaly, becoming the first FitzGerald Lord of Offaly. Together Gerald and Eve had one son:
- Maurice FitzGerald, 2nd Lord of Offaly, Justiciar of Ireland (1194- 20 May 1257), married Juliana N.N., by whom he had four sons.
Following Gerald's death on 15 January 1204, Eve would go on to marry two more times. Her second husband was Geoffrey FitzRobert, and her third, whom she married sometime after 1211, was Geoffrey de Marisco, Justiciar of Ireland.
- Ancient Naas; JCKAS 1893, p.186
- Cokayne, George Edward, ed. (1890). Complete peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, extant, extinct or dormant (D to F). 3 (1st ed.). London: George Bell & Sons. p. 358. Retrieved 27 December 2011.
- Charles Mosley, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition, Volume 2, p.2297