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“It Was Better For Him To Die”

Fiona Plunkett recalls how she and her sister Geraldine searched for their parents who had been arrested after the Rising. They eventually discovered their mother was a prisoner in Mountjoy Gaol and their father, Count Plunkett was being held in Richmond Barracks along with his three sons, Joseph, George and Jack. Her father told her that although he could not talk to Joseph in the barracks they did see each other.

He looked out his cell window and Joe looked out his cell window and they were close to each other. So they looked at each other for half an hour.

Joseph Plunkett married his sweetheart Grace Gifford in Kilmainham Gaol hours before his execution. Although the expectation was that Joseph would be executed, a newspaper story offered her a glimmer of hope when mistakenly reporting that he had been sentenced to three years penal servitude. Fiona believed he would not have been able to survive that long in prison. Joseph Plunkett was executed on 4 May 1916. He was twenty-nine years old.

Fiona Plunkett was a member of the Central Branch, Cumann na mBan.

Fiona Plunkett was interviewed for the the RTÉ Television project 'Portraits 1916' on 30 January 1966.


Abbey Theatre, An Garda Siochana, Association of Professional Genealogists Ireland, Band of An Garda Siochana, Buswells Hotel, Capuchin Friary, Century Ireland, Cobblestone, Conradh na Gaeilge, Dubray Books Grafton Street, Dublin Fire Brigade Pipe Band, Dublin Institute of Technology, Eason’s O’Connell Street, Gallery of Photography. Garda Historical Society, Generator Hostel, Glasnevin Trust, Grafton Barbers, Hodges Figgis Dawson Street, Irish Film Archive, Irish Veteran & Vintage Car Club. John Shevlin Millinery, Little Museum of Dublin, Louis Copeland & Sons, Manning's Bakery, Massey Funeral Directors, Maynooth University, Merrion Square Artists Association, National College of Art and Design, National Library of Ireland, National Museum at Collins Barracks, National Transport Museum of Ireland, NUI Galway, Poetry Ireland, Queen's University Belfast, Royal College of Physicians in Ireland, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association, Royal Hibernian Academy, St Michan's Church of Ireland Parish, St Michan's Roman Catholic Parish, St Vincent de Paul, SIPTU, The Four Courts, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University College Dublin, University of Limerick, University of Ulster, Whyte’s Irish Art & Collectables, National Print Museum, Irish Guild of Weavers Spinners & Dyers, ICA, Feltmakers Ireland, Irish Woodturners Guild, Doran Barber Shop The Pram Doctor, The Merrion Square Artists Association, The Dice Bar, Third Space, The Family Resource Centre St. Michael’s Estate, Brown Bag Films, The Stoneybatter and Smithfield People’s History Project, The Revenue Museum,

RTÉ would like to gratefully acknowledge the support and participation of the individual speakers who were kind enough to share their research and private collections with the public as part of the RTÉ Reflecting the Rising project. A big thanks also to the many volunteers and actors who gave their time so generously to help make RTÉ Reflecting the Rising a memorable and successful day.

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