Dictionary of Irish Latin American Biography

Fitzsimons, Patrick (1802-1872), headmaster and educationist, was born in Co. Down. His family established in 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).

Due 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, Fitzsimons was 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. 

Patrick Fitzsimons, his wife Bidelia and a son died during an outbreak of yellow fever in April 1872.  

Edmundo Murray


- Coghlan, Eduardo A., Los Irlandeses en la Argentina: Su Actuación y Descendencia (Buenos Aires, 1987), p. 341.

- Murray, Thomas, The Story of the Irish in Argentina (New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1919), pp. 209, 312, 341. 

- Ó 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" (, accessed 10 February 2004.

Copyright © Society for Irish Latin American Studies, 2005

Online published: 1 March 2004
Edited: 07 May 2009

Murray, Edmundo, '
Fitzsimons, Patrick (1802-1872)' in "Irish Migration Studies in Latin America" November-December 2005 (


The Society for Irish Latin American Studies, 2005

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