Thomas Fitzpatrick was born in the townland of Gargory in the parish of Lower Drumgooland near Castlewellan, Co Down on 29 October 1844.
Soon after qualifying as a teacher, he became headmaster of the National School at Laurencetown, Co Down. From 1876-1880 he was principal of Parsonstown (Birr) Model School in Co Offaly where he met and married Mary Dowling, a Waterford school teacher.
Between 1880 and 1884, he was a member of the teaching staff of St Malachy’s College, Belfast. It was during this period that he obtained an LLD degree from Trinity College, Dublin. Thereafter, he held professorships at Blackrock College, Dublin and the Jesuit school in Galway.
Apart from an ongoing interest in Irish education, Fitzpatrick produced two historical novels that were published in 1888 and 1899. His first serious historical work, a detailed examination of the controversial 1641 Depositions, appeared under the title of ‘The Bloody Bridge’ in 1903. In subsequent years, leading Irish journals carried articles by Fitzpatrick on the same topic.
Following his death in Dublin in 1912, his book ‘Waterford during the Civil War’ was published.
Much of Fitzpatrick’s historical research remains unpublished and is held in manuscript form by the Archives Department of University College Dublin.