The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #39733   Message #564520
Posted By: wysiwyg
03-Oct-01 - 06:53 PM
Thread Name: Help: Who wrote 'Grace'?
Subject: RE: Help: Who wrote 'Grace'?
Here's the letter... Joe, I leave it to you to decide whether to add this to any of the other threads.



Letter from Sean O'Meara, co-author of the ballad "Grace"

(posted on the Irish Folk Song Lyrics Archive Message Board)

The story behind 'Grace' is a true one based on actual events of the 2nd May 1916. Grace Gifford and Joseph Mary Plunkett got married in the Chapel in Kilmainham Jail just a few hours before he was executed for his part in the 1916 Rising. This was a move against British Rule in Ireland at the time....April 1916.

Grace lived near Ranelagh in the south-central part of Dublin and was a modern young lady, very well educated and particularly talented in the areas of sketches, cartoons and caricatures. Much of her work was published. Additionally she was excellent at creating tapestries and the like.

Joseph Mary Plunkett was a scholar and a poet and mixed in the same social circles as Grace Gifford. Their individual creativity would have brought them closer and their lives would have been full, interesting and energetic. His poem 'Blood Upon The Rose' is legendary.

At that time, a low-key move against British Rule was gathering some momentum and this was led by Padraig Pearse, a teacher, scholar and poet. Joseph would have know Padraig well and so would easily slip into the 'movement', albeit reluctantly, it is said. Grace would have encouraged him not to become 'involved' rather work hard and together at their careers.

But Padraig had a spellbinding effect on some people and Joseph actually did leave his sick bed to join in the rising. This, of course, failed and the leaders were arrested and put into Kilmainham Jail, on the western side of Dublin. Quickly they were sentenced to death and executed by firing squad during the first half of May 1916.

Grace Plunkett, as she became, never married again. She died in Dublin in 1955. The song 'Grace' was written in 1985 by brothers Frank and Sean O'Meara.

Sean O'Meara

15th September, 1999

Good idea to post this, Susan. I crosslinked this thread to the other one, rather than posting the letter in two places.
-Joe Offer-