headmaster and educationist, was born in Co. Down. His family
Ennis, Co. Clare. In 1843
Patrick Fitzsimons founded, together with Cuthbert Collingwood Power, the Springfield College
in Ennis, where he was the headmaster for about
twenty years. The school was a success from 1846, on account of
the support from the local bishop. In c.1845, Fitzsimons
married Bidelia Kelly.
They had five children, John (d.1871), Cuthbert, Edward
(d.1886), James (1849-1944), William (b.1851), Jane (d.1863) and Emily (d.1862).
to debts owed to several creditors, Power, Fitzsimons and family
left Ireland sailing in the Raymond, and arrived in Buenos
Aires on 1 October 1862. Patrick Fitzsimons settled in Lobos, where he opened the Irish
School. He then was involved in the opening of
two other schools, one in Flores and the other in Paraná.
Although Fitzsimons' credentials included a diploma from the
University of Oxford, it has been recently argued that he never
left Ireland before going to South America. Nevertheless, when the
National School was established in Corrientes on 2 August 1869,
appointed its headmaster by the Argentine president Domingo F.
Sarmiento. In a short time, Fitzsimons added an
elementary section and a model school for elementary teachers
based in the national education system he had known in Ireland,
as well as a normal school for teacher education. Furthermore,
Fitzsimons organised night courses for workers and a special
school for soldiers in the army. His sons James and William
taught and held diverse responsibilities in the schools. By the
early decades of the twentieth century, Los Tres Fitzsimons
were recognised as leading figures in the city of Corrientes.
In 1891 James Fitzsimons - a pioneer football player and boxer - was
appointed director of the Commerce School in Buenos Aires. Other son, Edward Fitzsimons, was the British
vice-consul in Corrientes by 1884.
Fitzsimons, his wife Bidelia
and a son died during an outbreak of yellow fever in April
- Coghlan, Eduardo A.,
Los Irlandeses en la Argentina:
Su Actuación y Descendencia (Buenos Aires, 1987),
- Murray, Thomas,
The Story of the Irish in Argentina
(New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1919), pp. 209, 312,
Murchadha, Ciarán, Springfield People:
new Material on the History of Springfield College in:
"The Other Clare" (Ennis) Vol. 18 (April 1994), pp. 63-68.
Roger, María José, The
Children of the Diaspora: Irish Schools and Educators
in Argentina, 1850-1950 in: "Irish Migration
Studies in South America" (www.irishargentine.org),
accessed 10 February 2004.