Joseph Plunkett and Grace Gifford – tragic love story

Joseph Plunkett and Grace Gifford. Image copyright Ireland Calling

The love story between James Plunkett and Grace Gifford is one of the most poignant to come out the centuries of struggle for Irish freedom.

It involved a young couple who put their ideals and their duty to their country before themselves and paid the ultimate price.

Their story helped to influence the whole of Ireland and they played their part in changing Irish history.

The revolutionary who wrote books of poems

Joseph Plunkett

Joseph Plunkett was one of leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin.

He was a member of the Military Council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood which planned and directed the rebellion. His official title was Director of Military Operations.

He brought great enthusiasm to the role and worked conscientiously but he had little experience of warfare. He was really an academic and a writer. He was interested in Irish culture and was an accomplished poet.

His first volume of poems called The Circle and Sword was published in 1911 when he was 24 years old.

An Irish revolutionary from an early age

Plunkett contracted tuberculosis as a child and it was to plague him all his life. But it didn’t stop him playing an active part in Irish nationalism and the campaign for independence.

He co-founded and later edited the Irish Review, which he used to support nationalist causes and nationalist parties like Sinn Fein. He also supported the Irish trade union workers during the Dublin lock-out in 1913.

Grace Gifford – accomplished artist and cartoonist

Grace Gifford cartoon
Grace Gifford cartoon

Like Plunkett, Grace Gifford was also from an affluent Dublin family. Her father was a solicitor and a Catholic. Her mother was a Protestant.

The Giffords didn’t want any problems with religion so they decide to be even-handed: the sons were brought up as Catholics and the girls, including Grace, were brought up as Protestants.

Grace showed a talent for art at an early age and she went on to become a successful cartoonist, specialising in caricatures of the some of the leading public figures of the day.

Click below for more about Joseph Plunkett and Grace Gifford

Easter Rising interrupted couple’s wedding plans

Couple’s tragic story helped shape public opinion