Fiona Plunkett

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Fiona Plunkett
Born Fiona Plunkett
Dublin, Ireland
Died 1977 (81 years old)
Dublin, Ireland
Residence Dubin, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Education Mount Anville Secondary School[1]

Fiona Plunkett was an Irish republican involved in the organisation of the Easter 1916 Rising and a leading member of Cumann na mBan.

Early and personal life

Birth Cert

Fiona Plunkett was the daughter of George Noble Plunkett and Josephine Cranny and grew up on 26 Upper Fitzwilliam Street.[2] She was the youngest of four daughters: Philomena, Mary, and Geraldine Plunkett. She also had three brothers, Jack, George and Joseph Plunkett (the latter two being signatories and participants in the Easter Rising proclamation).[1]

Her religious status was determined by her father’s, who was a Roman Catholic.[1] This would also influence where she was to later attend school to receive her education. Her father was the curator of the National Museum of Ireland,[3] however he was forced to step down and exiled to Oxford following both his and his children's actions during the 1916 Rising. He later became a politician, being a member of the then newly formed Sinn Féin party. Her father’s political stance had likely[according to whom?] influenced her political actions in 1922 Ireland. Although her family was heavily involved with politics, Plunkett only established her political career at the age of 26 during the Irish Civil War.[4] Plunkett was engaged three times but never married, and died at the age of 81, in 1977 in a Dublin hospital of natural causes.[4]


26 Fitzwilliam Street Upper Dublin

Opportunity for the Plunkett daughters was not as high as that of their brothers. Plunkett would sit in her brothers' lessons, in an attempt to receive an education.[5] In her later years she attended the Sacred Heart Convent School situated at Lower Leeson Street, Dublin, Ireland - however she only spent a few terms there.[5] Later on in her academic life, she attended a catholic girls school, Mount Anville Secondary School.[4] Plunkett had access to a large collection of books owned by her father, which allowed her to read on various topics.[6]

Political views

Plunkett's political beliefs were largely influenced by other members of her family, particularly her father and three brothers. She had Irish republican ideals, and these beliefs would influence her actions throughout much of her life. As a young girl, she was part of the group of women that provided food relief to the workers effected by the 1913 Dublin Lock-out.[7]

In 1916, she was a member of the Irish Republican Women's Paramilitary, Cumann na mBan,[8] and indirectly participated in the 1916 Easter Rising as an organiser.[9] Joseph would later be executed for his role in the Rising while Oliver and Jack were both imprisoned in England for one year.[10]

In 1917 Cumann na mBan was beginning a regrouping period, memberships increased as did the membership of Sinn Féin. In this period, new branches of Cumann na mBan were being created and old ones were reformed. Nine executives were chosen to represent Cumann na mBan; Plunkett herself, Nancy O' Rahilly and her daughter, Margaret Pearse, Aine Ceannt, Kathleen Clarke, Nancy Wyse-Power, Madge Daly and Mary McSwiney.[11] Plunkett was a member of the group of women left behind after the Easter Rising, that included mothers, sisters, wives and daughters. As a group they perceived themselves as being sidelined,[according to whom?] with Plunkett resisting the move to amalgamate many of the groups into Sinn Féin in the period following the Rising.[12] She remained particularly close to her sister-in-law Grace Gifford.

In 1926, Plunkett herself would be tried and imprisoned for her involvement in the raid of the home of Edward Levi. This raid was part of an ongoing campaign against Dublin moneylenders at the time.[13] Three IRA members, allegedly armed, had demanded that Levi hand over all of his account books. Plunkett, Domhall O'Donohue and Mick Price were charged for assisting in the formation of an illegal military force and possession of arms, ammunition and treasonable documents.[14]

In 1942, she stood onto a platform during a 1916 Commemoration at Arbor Hill church, condemning the Irish government's treatment of political prisoners (her brother Jack being one such prisoner at the time, on hunger strike in Arbor Hill Prison, next to the church) under Éamon de Valera's authority. Following her departure from the event, other demonstrators are known to have continued in her place. All references to the "Plunkett Incident" would be censored in the Irish Press in the following days.[15]

In her later years, Plunkett remained an active Republican. In 1971 her letter to the editor of The Irish Times criticised the truce in Northern Ireland at the time, urging the Irish people to stand up against "British Domination". She would go on to say that any celebrations for attained peace while Britain remains in Ireland is but a "hollow mockery" of the Irish people.[16] In 1976, she was prosecuted for her participation in a banned commemoration of the 1916 Rising at the GPO.[17][18]

Death and legacy

Plunkett died on 14 July 1977 at the age of 81.[4] She was buried in Glasnevin cemetery, in a family grave at the Republican plot.[4] Plunketts's legacy and life is recounted in the book "All in Blood: a memoir" written by her older sister Geraldine Dillon who tells the story of living with the Plunkett family.[19]

External links

  • RTE interview with Fiona Plunkett from 1966


  1. ^ a b c "National Archives". National Archives. National Archives. Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  2. ^ "Fiona Plunkett Bio". Geni. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Unknown (14 Jul 1977). "Miss Fiona Plunkett Dies In Dublin". Irish Times. 
  5. ^ a b Clare, Anne (2011). Unlikely Rebels: The Gifford Girls and the Fight for Irish Freedom. Mercier Press Ltd. p. 111. ISBN 1856357120. 
  6. ^ Clare, Anne (2011). Unlikely Rebels: The Gifford Girls and the Fight for Irish Freedom. Mercier Press. p. 111. ISBN 1856357120. 
  7. ^ McCoole, Sinead (2014). Easter Widows. Random House. ISBN 1448171032. Retrieved 27 November 2014. 
  8. ^ Matthews, Ann. "Cumann Na Mban" (PDF). E. Prints Maynooth. Maynooth University & St. Patricks College. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  9. ^ Sawyer, Roger (2002). We Are But Women: Women in Ireland's History. London: Routledge. pp. 87–88. ISBN 1134931255. Retrieved 27 November 2014. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Matthews, Ann (1995). Cumann na mBan 1913-26: Redressing the Balance. (National University of Ireland, St. Patricks Coleege, Maynooth)
  12. ^ Ward, Margaret (1996). "The League of Women Delegates & Sinn Féin". History Ireland. 4 (3). Retrieved 27 November 2014. 
  13. ^ Ó Gráda, Cormac (2006). Jewish Ireland in the Age of Joyce: A Socioeconomic History. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. p. 68. ISBN 0691127190. Retrieved 27 November 2014. 
  14. ^ McCord, Rhona. "The 1926 IRA campaign against Moneylenders". The Irish Story. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  15. ^ Unknown, Unknown. "FightingMarks North Ireland's Nationalist Day: Police Baltic to EnforceBan on Rebellion Memorials; I. R. A. Protests in Eire". Irish Times. Retrieved 25 November 2014 – via ProQuest. 
  16. ^ BEAN UI DHONNCHADHA, SIGHLE. "CELEBRATING THE TRUCE". Retrieved 25 November 2014 – via ProQuest. 
  17. ^ Anonymous, Anonymous. "Marking the 1916 anniversary". Irish Times. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  18. ^ Ó Beacháin, Donnacha (2010). Destiny of the Soldiers – Fianna Fáil, Irish Republicanism and the IRA, 1926–1973: The History of Ireland’s Largest and Most Successful Political Party. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan Ltd. ISBN 0717151662. Retrieved 27 November 2014. 
  19. ^ Dillon, Geraldine Plunkett (1891-1986). All in Blood: a memoir. Dublin.
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