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Joseph Plunkett

Joseph Plunkett
Seosamh Pluincéid
Born (1887-11-21)21 November 1887
Dublin, Ireland
Died 4 May 1916(1916-05-04) (aged 28)
Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin, Ireland
Place of burial Arbour Hill Prison, Dublin
Allegiance Irish Volunteers
Irish Republican Brotherhood
Years of service 1913–1916
Rank Commandant-General
Unit Dublin Brigade, Irish Volunteers
Commands held General Post Office, Dublin
Battles/wars Easter Rising

Joseph Mary Plunkett (Irish: Seosamh Máire Pluincéid, 21 November 1887 – 4 May 1916) was an Irish nationalist, poet, journalist, and a leader of the 1916 Easter Rising.


  • Background 1
  • IRB involvement 2
  • Easter Rising 3
  • Marriage and execution 4
  • Aftermath 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8


Plunkett was born at 26 Upper Fitzwilliam Street in one of papal count.[3] Despite being born into a life of privilege, young Joe Plunkett did not have an easy childhood.

Plunkett contracted Kimmage, south Dublin, to be used as a training camp for young men who wished to escape conscription in England during World War I. Men there were instead trained to fight for Ireland.

IRB involvement

Sometime in 1915 Joseph Plunkett joined the prisoners of war in Germany to form a brigade to fight instead for Ireland. Some nationalists in Ireland saw this as a fruitless endeavour, and preferred to seek weapons. Plunkett successfully got a promise of a German arms shipment to coincide with the rising.

Easter Rising

Plunkett was one of the original members of the IRB Military Committee that was responsible for planning the Easter Rising, and it was largely his plan that was followed. Shortly before the rising was to begin, Plunkett was hospitalised following a turn for the worse in his health. He had an operation on his neck glands days before Easter and had to struggle out of bed to take part in what was to follow. Still bandaged, he took his place in the General Post Office with several other of the rising's leaders such as Patrick Pearse and Tom Clarke, though his health prevented him from being terribly active. His energetic aide de camp was Michael Collins.

Marriage and execution

Following the surrender Plunkett was held in Kilmainham Gaol, and faced a court martial. Seven hours before his execution by firing squad at the age of 28, he was married in the prison chapel to his sweetheart Grace Gifford, a Protestant convert to Catholicism, whose sister, Muriel, had years before also converted and married his best friend Thomas MacDonagh, who was also executed for his role in the Easter Rising.


His brothers Easter Rising and later became important IRA men. His father's cousin, Horace Plunkett, was a Protestant and unionist who sought to reconcile unionists and nationalists. Horace Plunkett's home was burned down by the Anti-Treaty IRA during the Civil War.

The main railway station in Waterford City is named after him as is Joseph Plunkett Tower in Ballymun. Plunkett barracks in the Curragh Camp, County Kildare is also named after him.


  1. ^ O'Neill, Marie (2000). Grace Gifford Plunkett and Irish freedom: tragic bride of 1916. Dublin: Irish Academic Press. p. 18.  
  2. ^ "'"Review Of 'All in the Blood. A&A Farmar Book Publishers. Retrieved 4 November 2010. 
  3. ^ "[Count Plunkett] George Noble Plunkett". Ricorso. Retrieved 5 November 2010. 
  4. ^ "A Short History of the Esperanto Movement in Ireland"

Further reading

  • Augusteijn, Joost (ed.), The Irish Revolution 1913-1923 (Basingstoke 2002)
  • Boyce, George D., Nationalism in Ireland (London 1982)
  • Kee, Robert, The Green Flag: A History of Irish Nationalism (London 1972)
  • Kelly, Matthew, The Fenian Ideal and Irish Nationalism 1882-1916 (Woodbridge 2006)
  • Mansergh, Nicholas, The Unresolved Question: The Anglo-Irish Settlement and its Undoing (New Haven and London 1991)
  • Martin, F.X. (ed.), Leaders and Men of the Easter Rising: Dublin 1916 (London 1967)
  • Novick, Ben, Concerning Revolution: Irish Nationalist Propaganda during the First World War (Dublin 2001)
  • Plunkett Dillon, Geraldine (edited Honor O Brolchain): All in the Blood (A. & A. Farmar)
  • Townshend, Charles, Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion (London 2005)

External links

  • Works by or about Joseph Plunkett at Internet Archive
  • Works by Joseph Plunkett at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
  • Joseph Plunkett's Gravesite
  • Grace – By Seán and Frank O' Meara
  • The Poems of Joseph Mary Plunkett (1916)
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