Divided loyalties in the Plunkett family

Published in 20th-century / Contemporary History, Issue 2 (Mar/Apr 2007), Letters, Letters, Volume 15

A chara,

—Geraldine Plunkett Dillon’s memoir All in the blood, edited byHonor Ó Brolcháin and reviewed by Eoin Dillon in the Jan./Feb. 2007issue, is an important work. The book and subsequent publicityemphasised the republican aspects, but the Plunketts were not allradical nationalists. The family had divided loyalties, as detailed inmy Wigs and guns, Irish barristers in the Great War (Four Courts Pressand Irish Legal History Society). As mentioned in Geraldine’s memoir,her grandfather Patrick remarried years after his first wife died.Patrick Plunkett’s second family included Oliver, who joined theBritish colonial legal service, and Gerald, an Oxford graduate andbarrister, who was the half-uncle of Count Plunkett’s son, Joseph Mary,executed in 1916. Gerald was killed in Gallipoli in 1915 while servingwith the Royal Naval Division. My RTÉ radio talk, ‘A wreath for twoPlunketts’, published in Sunday Miscellany, a selection edited byCliodhna Ní Anluain, honours two talented young Irishmen and closerelatives of the same age, Joseph and Gerald. They took diverse pathsto premature death in violent conflict.

—Is mise etc.,
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