#OTD in 1916 – Joseph Mary Plunkett and Grace Gifford are married in the chapel of Kilmainham Gaol the night before he was to be executed for his part in the Easter Rising.

Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

Grace was the second youngest of twelve children. Her sisters, Nellie and Muriel, were also avid nationalists as well as converts to Catholicism. Muriel married Thomas MacDonagh, who was executed in Kilmainham earlier on the day Grace married Joe Plunkett. It was said of the Gifford girls: “whenever those vivacious girls entered a gloomy Sinn Féin room, they turned it into a flower garden”.

Fr Eugene McCarthy of St James’ Church in St James’ Street officiated at the wedding in Kilmainham Gaol just before midnight on 3rd May 1916. On their wedding certificate, Joseph Plunkett was listed as a bachelor with an occupation of ‘gentleman’ and Grace Gifford was listed as a spinster with an occupation of artist. The two British soldiers who were “witnesses’ were John Smith and John Lockerby (Sgt 3rd Battalion, The Royal Iniskillen Regiment).

In 1949, Grace completed a Witness Statement in which she recounted her…

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