Joseph Plunkett

Born: 1887

Died: May 4, 1916


    Joseph Plunkett was the son of a count. He was a good scholar and a friend to Thomas MacDonagh. In fact, he and MacDonagh (with two others) established The Irish Review, a newspaper expressing their political views. In 1911, Plunkett joined the Irish Volunteers and in 1914, he and MacDonagh started an Irish theatre to produce Irish plays which would also reflect their goals. Plunkett was named Director of Operations for the Irish Republican Brotherhood and he traveled to Germany in 1915 to secure the weapons needed for the Easter Rising. Plunkett had been sick with tuberculosis and had undergone a medical procedure to treat it shortly before the Rising. He was so weak that he had to lean on Collins, his aide-de-camp, in order to stand and participate. The night before his execution he married his long-time girlfriend, Grace.


"The most flamboyant was Joseph Plunkett, who came of a very well-known Irish Catholic family; delicate in health, he had spent much of his boyhood seeking the sun in Sicily, Malta and Algeria, and grew up deeply attracted to poetry, philosophy and, incongruously, soldiering. In 1910 he had met Thomas MacDonagh, who had already had a play about war with England, When the Dawn is Come, produced at the Abbey Theatre. Plunkett and MacDonagh were soon collaborating on more work for the Abbey, as well as the production of a politico-literary magazine. And since 1908 MacDonagh had been helping Patrick Pearse, the third revolutionary on the council, with his nationalist and bilingual school, St. Edna’s" (Peter & Fiona Somerset Fry, A History of Ireland).


"The seventh signatory to the Proclamation was Joseph Plunkett, and he was responsible for the planning of the Rising, his plan being loosely based on the 1803 insurrection. … He was the author of a book of poems, The Circle and the Sword" (Rex Taylor, Michael Collins).



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