Thomas FitzGerald, 5th Earl of Desmond

Thomas FitzGerald, 5th Earl of Desmond (c. 13861420), was the only son of John FitzGerald, 4th Earl of Desmond. Upon John's death in 1399, Thomas succeeded to the earldom of Desmond, which lay in Munster, in the southwest of Ireland.

Thomas FitzGerald
Earl of Desmond
Blason fam fr Geraldin2.svg
PredecessorJohn FitzGerald
SuccessorJames FitzGerald
Bornc. 1386
Died10 August 1420
Spouse(s)Catherine MacCormac
Maurice FitzGerald
John Claragh
ParentsJohn FitzGerald
Mary Bourke or Joan of Fermoy
Norman Ireland, showing the Earldom of Desmond in the southwest

In 1418, Thomas was dispossessed of his lands and deprived of his earldom by his paternal uncle, James FitzGerald, 6th Earl of Desmond, after Thomas had concluded a marriage far below his station to Catherine MacCormac of Abbeyfeale;[1] Catherine was the daughter one of Thomas's dependants, William MacCormac, known as "the Monk of Feale."[2] A marriage between a man of Norman blood and a woman of Gaelic ancestry was in violation of the Statutes of Kilkenny.[3]

This ill-fated romance was the subject[1] of the air "Desmond's Song"[4] by the Irish poet Thomas Moore.

After the loss of his earldom, Thomas withdrew to France, where he "died at Rouen, 10th August 1420, and was buried at Paris 'with great and mighty show, where the two kings of England and France were present.'"[1]

Marriage and issueEdit

Thomas FitzGerald and Catherine MacCormac (a.k.a. Katherine McCormick)[2] of Abbyfeale had two sons:[5]

  1. Maurice, ancestor of the FitzGeralds of Adare and Broghill,
  2. John Claragh, who died in 1452.[6]


Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
John FitzGerald
Earl of Desmond
1st creation
Succeeded by
James FitzGerald