Joseph Mary Plunkett 1887- 1916
Executed For Participation In 1916 Easter Rising AT G.P.O. Dublin
He was just twenty nine when he faced a firing squad at Kilmainhain Jail on the 4th May 1916 and he was granted permission to marry his sweetheart, Grace Gifford, on the eve of his pending execution.
Joseph Mary Plunkett was a man of many great talents. The eldest son of George Noble Plunkett, Joseph was put through a good education and attended Belvedere College, Dublin and later at Stoneyhurst, England.
His health was always a matter of concern and in his latter years he became a semi – invalid which hindered some aspects of his motivations but not his passion to free his native land.
After completing his studies his European travels took him to France, Italy, Sicily and later North Africa. Moving from his homeland was to benefit his health from the warmer climates.
He became linguistic in many foreign languages and this complimented his natural musical and artistic talents.
A noted poet, in 1911 he founded ‘The Irish Review’ a writers publication dealing with current affairs and he also contributed to the ‘Irish Freedom’ a publication of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. Plunkett often refered to a persons nationality as a spiritual pathway to his maker and he espoused that a free and united Ireland would consolidate a better Christian way of life for Irish people.
His pathway to the Easter Rising began when he joined the Volunteers in 1913 and became a key executive on the council. In 1915 he went to Germany where Roger Casement was striving to recruit arms and troops for Ireland by forming a German brigade.
He followed up his German visit by travelling to America to inform Clann na Gael of the plans in motion for the Rising and hopefully recruit some funding for the armed struggle. On his return home he devoted a lot of time to the Military Council along with James Connolly and together they laid down many strategic plans.
When the 1916 Rising came, the signature of Joseph Mary Plunkett was amongst the seven historic signatories of the Proclamation.
After the surrender he was dispatched to Kilmainham Jail and he would never see the streets of his native land again as a free and spirited man.
Joseph Mary Plunkett is commemorated in many songs and verse as a Famous Son Of Ireland.
On the eve of his execution he was permitted by the English authorities to marry Grace Gifford in the prison compound.
The late Jim McCann, noted Dublin balladeer is renowned for his rendition of the famous ballad 'Grace'.
Joseph Mary Plunkett came under the tutelage of Thomas MacDonagh in 1910 at St. Edna’s College, at the age of twenty three and both men shared a common appreciation for poetry, arts and the theatre.