Our newest Solicitor to join the team, Aisling Hogan, reminds us of the tragic love story that unfolded behind the background of violence on the streets of Dublin.
On 3rd May 1916, Fr Eugene McCarthy, the chaplain of St James’ Church celebrated the wedding of two young Dubliners, very much in love.
Grace Gifford and Joseph Plunkett were childhood sweethearts – one an artist, the other a poet. They had planned to be married on Easter Sunday 1916, until events of significant national importance got in the way.
As the youngest of the signatories of the 1916 Proclamation, and the Rebel’s Chief Strategist for those six fateful days at the GPO, Plunkett faced a court martial, and was sentenced to death by firing squad.
As he lay in Kilmainham Gaol, awaiting his fate, his bride went to Grafton Street, where she purchased two weddings bands and then made her way to Inchicore Road. At 11.30pm, two guards escorted Joseph to the prison chapel where, by candlelight, two British soldiers stood as witnesses for the marriage of the young artist and her poet.
The newlyweds were allowed only a brief time together, under the careful watch of a room full of guards and soldiers, before being separated for the last time. Just five days after his surrender, on 4th May 1916, Joseph Plunkett was executed at dawn. Grace was made a widow and would never remarry.
Grace Gifford and Joseph Plunkett’s fifteen minutes of married life is immortalised by Sean O’Meara and Frank O’Meara in their song ‘Grace’. The song was made famous by Irish folk band ‘The Dubliners’.
Oh Grace just hold me in your arms and let this moment linger
They’ll take me out at dawn and I will die
With all my love I place this wedding ring upon your finger
There won’t be time to share our love for we must say goodbye