Mrs F Plunkett

The youngest daughter of Count and Countess Plunkett, George Noble Plunkett and Mary Josephine née Cranny (known as Josephine). Born in 26 Upper FitzWilliam Street on 21 January 1896 she was named after her mother Josephine Mary, she was always known as Fiona.

Her father’s profession was given as barrister at law. During her childhood, her father was director of the National Museum of Ireland.  She was the second youngest of a family of seven, her brother Jack was born the following year. From 1900 the children lived (except Joseph who was ill) in 17 Marlborough Road, although on occasion they lived in Wicklow and in Kilternan Abbey in County Dublin to avail of the healthy surrounding of the countryside.

Her early schooling is undocumented but in 1912 she was sent to school at Bon Secours in Holyhead. 

She worked in Liberty Hall during the lockout distributing free food. She was in Central Branch of Cumann na mBan from 1914. Her eldest brother Joseph was executed for his part in the 1916 rising. Her other brothers George and Jack were also out in the Rising and were imprisoned. During the 1916 Rising the Plunkett home at Fitzwilliam Street was made ready for the wounded. She went with her parents to Oxford when they were deported there.

When she returned she was secretary at Cumann na mBan headquarters. She was also active in electioneering for her father when he won the North Roscommon bye-election. 

She was an adjutant in Cumann na mBan and was a section commander. 

She was Anti-Treaty and was active in the Hamman Hotel/Tara Hall during the ‘Battle of Dublin’ in the summer of 1922. During Civil War she was arrested in Mayo for possession of anti-government literature and a map. She was imprisoned in Galway before she was transferred to Kilmainham Gaol. She was OC in Kilmainham Jail.

She remained opposed to the Irish Free State. She was imprisoned in 1926 and again the following year. 

She was engaged three times but never married, and remained living with her parents, during the 1920s in Elgin Road, Dublin. (Honor O’Brolchain, All in the Blood, A Memoir of the Plunkett family, the 1916 Rising and the War of Independence by Geraldine Plunkett Dillion, A.&A. Farmer, 2006.) 

During the 1930s she was a member of the executive of Cumann na mBan. In 1938 she joined a committee alongside Sighle Humphreys now Mrs O’Donoghue, Bridie O’Mullane, Lou Kennedy, Eileen McCavill, Rose McNamara, Áine Heron, Éilis O’Connell, Máire Twamley and Mollie Hyland to write a book on Cumann na mBan Irish Press, 18 February 1938.

In 1939 she was arrested and imprisoned again. 

She lived with her mother until her mother’s death in 1944. The Plunkett family owned a number of properties so Fiona was independently wealthy. She lived a nomadic existence during the remainder of her life. 

In 1976 she was convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for the holding of a public meeting organised for provisional Sinn Féin in O’Connell Street to mark the 60th anniversary of the 1916 Rising. The alternative was a fine, she got a receipt to indicate that someone had paid the fine without her knowledge. Irish Press, 14 July 1977.

In her obituary in the Irish Press, 14 July 1977, it noted ‘She had a talent for fine wool work, embroidery, hand weaving, and the making of carpets, vestments and tapestry. Her work became a feature in Dublin houses in her time and much was exported.’

She was buried in Glasnevin. Cumann na mBan provided a colour party, alongside Fianna Éireann members. Her