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Unseen diary entries and love letters from Easter Rising heroes go on display

Joseph Plunkett in one of the photographs that have gone on display. (Picture: National Library of Ireland)
Joseph Plunkett in one of the photographs that have gone on display. (Picture: National Library of Ireland)

LOVE LETTERS and diary entries from two in the key players of the 1916 Easter Rising have gone on display online.

Personal artefacts belonging to Patrick Pearse and Joseph Plunkett reveal a side of both men that has rarely been seen before.

Intimate love letters exchanged between Plunkett and his future wife Grace Gifford, who he married in Kilmainham Gaol just hours before his execution on May 4, 1916, reveal how he proposed marriage just months before the Rising began.

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“You know what my sort of love is,” he wrote on December 2, 1915. “It is a poor thing beside the splendours of your heart. But such as it is you have it.

“I do love you. I hope to become more worthy of loving you. Will you marry me?”

The National Library of Ireland has this week released the never-seen-before historic documents ahead of the centenary of the rebellion that kick-started Ireland’s battle for independence.

Diary entries from 1915, a year before the Easter Rising kicked off, reveal Plunkett’s trip to Germany to seek assistance from the Germans for the Irish rebellion.

His widely documented venture was partially successful – his 1915 trip saw him secure a promise from the Germans to deliver a shipment of arms to coincide with the Rising the following year.

Ultimately, though, the shipment never arrived.

The documents also reveal some rare personal moments for both men.

Pearse’s career as an educator is  recorded in the selection of materials.

One letter, written to Pearse when he taught in St Enda’s School in Ranelagh, reveals a neighbour’s gripe with him over the schoolboys trampling on his ivy.


The documents are available to view free of charge online on the National Library of Ireland archives.

See pictures of the documents here


James Mulhall

James Mulhall is a reporter with The Irish Post. Follow him on Twitter @JamzMulhall

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