Fitzgibbon, Gerald (1793–1882), lawyer and political writer, was born at Glin, Co. Limerick, on either 1 January or 31 December 1793 (the sources differ), fourth son of Garret or Gerald FitzGibbon, a farmer and weaver who left the catholic for the established church, and his wife Mary (née Widenham). An elder son was James FitzGibbon (1780–1863), who had a distinguished career as a soldier and public servant in Canada. After employment at Jameson's distillery in Dublin (1814–17), Gerald FitzGibbon entered TCD (12 October 1818), graduated BA (1825) and was called to the Irish bar (January 1830). Whilst a student he supported himself by teaching (1817–30).
As a lawyer he practised on the Connacht circuit (from 1836), rising to become a QC (1841), a bencher of King's Inns (1858), third serjeant (1859–60) and receiver-master in chancery (1860–78). ‘His plodding, painstaking industry, his penetrating acumen, his thorough knowledge of the law, and skill in technicalities, were eagerly sought in every trial of importance’ (Burke). He achieved some fame as counsel for John Gray (qv), one of eight Repealers, among them Daniel O'Connell (qv), prosecuted for conspiracy (Jan.–Feb. 1844), during which FitzGibbon was challenged to a duel by the attorney-general, Thomas Berry Cusack Smith (qv), who, however, withdrew and apologised. It was as a commercial lawyer that FitzGibbon excelled. He was elected MRIA (1841). Towards the end of his life he made a reputation as a conservative pamphleteer, beginning with Ireland in 1868: the battle-field for English party strife (1868), which contained some reminiscences and was followed by The land difficulty of Ireland with an effort to solve it (1869), Roman catholic priests and national schools (1871; 2nd ed., 1872) and, on the same subject, A banded ministry and the upas tree (1873). He died 27 September 1882 at Larkfield, Clondalkin, Co. Dublin.
With his wife Ellen, daughter of John Patterson of Belfast, he had, beside a daughter, two sons, Gerald (qv) and Henry (d. 1912), president of the RCSI.