Joseph Mary Plunkett

(21/11/1885 - 04/05/1916)

In summer 1915, Joseph Mary Plunkett.resided at Larkfield, a rambling rural property recently purchased by his mother in Sundrive Road(now Sundrive shopping center), Co. Dublin, and used by the Volunteers as a weapons store, explosives factory, training base, and quarters for enlistees returning from overseas.

Joseph Mary Plunkett (1887–1916) was a prominent Irish nationalist, poet, journalist, and revolutionary who played a crucial role in the planning and execution of the 1916 Easter Rising. He was born on November 21, 1887, in a well-to-do family in Dublin. His father, George Noble Plunkett, held the title of papal count, and his upbringing was affluent.

Plunkett’s life was marked by chronic illness, particularly tuberculosis, which led him to seek warmer climates in the Mediterranean and North Africa during his youth. Despite his health challenges, he received education at prestigious institutions like the Catholic University School, Belvedere College, and Stonyhurst College in England, where he gained military knowledge.

Joseph Plunkett’s interests extended beyond his health and studies. He was an active supporter of Irish heritage, the Irish language, and Esperanto, and he joined the Gaelic League, forming a lasting friendship with Thomas MacDonagh. Plunkett’s passion for Irish nationalism was influential in his family, including his brothers George and John, and even his father, who allowed his property in Kimmage to be used as a training camp for young men wishing to avoid conscription in Britain during World War I.

In 1915, Joseph Plunkett joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) and played a significant role in negotiating with Germany for support in the upcoming uprising. He secured a promise of a German arms shipment to coincide with the Easter Rising.

During the Easter Rising, Plunkett was an original member of the IRB Military Committee, which was responsible for planning the rebellion. However, due to a decline in his health and an operation shortly before the Rising began, his active involvement was limited.

Plunkett’s influence extended to the literary world as well. He was a poet with a deeply spiritual and mystical style, heavily influenced by William Blake, Francis Thompson, and others. His posthumous collection of poetry, “The Poems of Joseph Mary Plunkett,” reflected his inner conflict and intense devotion to religious and nationalist ideals.

In a poignant turn of events, Joseph Mary Plunkett married Grace Gifford in Kilmainham Gaol just seven hours before his execution by firing squad on May 4, 1916. Grace was a Protestant convert to Catholicism and his sister Muriel had previously married Plunkett’s close friend Thomas MacDonagh, who was also executed for his role in the Easter Rising.

Several members of Joseph Plunkett’s family were involved in the Easter Rising and the broader republican movement, with his father and two brothers actively participating in the rebellion. George Oliver Plunkett became a prominent IRA member, and John Plunkett was known for his technical skills related to explosives and radio transmission.

Joseph Mary Plunkett’s short but eventful life left a significant impact on Irish history and culture, and he remains a prominent figure in Ireland’s struggle for independence.

Person Photo
Connection with area: Poet, journalist, and revolutionary who lived in Larkfield "Kimmage Garrison" on Sundrive Road.