The History

Joseph Plunkett (1887-1916)

Born in Dublin in November 1887 he was a sickly child but a keen scholar. The son of a papal count Plunkett was initially educated in England. He returned to Ireland and graduated from UCD in 1909. After his graduation Plunkett spent two years traveling in Europe due to ill health, returning to Dublin in 1911. Thomas MacDonagh worked with Plunkett as co-editor on the Irish Review and director of the Irish Theatre. He joined the Irish Volunteers in 1913.

Plunkett's farm, Larkfield in Kimmage, was used as one of the clearing stations for the cargo of arms landed at Howth in 1914. It was also used as a training camp for young men who had been invited by the Plunkett family to Ireland from Britain to avoid conscription during World War I. He was brought into the IRB in 1914. Plunkett traveled to Germany to meet Roger Casement in 1915. During the planning of the Rising, Plunkett was appointed Director of Military Operations, with overall responsibility for military strategy. Joseph Plunkett suffered from ill health and had had an operation for glandular tuberculosis only days before the Rebellion, struggling out of his sick bed to partake in it. He was assisted by a young and unknown IRB volunteer who acted as his ADC, Michael Collins.

Joseph Plunkett was a member of the Military Council of the Provisional Government and of the Provisional Committee of the Irish Volunteers. He married his sweetheart, the artist Grace Gifford, in Kilmainham Gaol just hours before his execution on 4 May 1916.

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