I recently finished making a 70th birthday book and along the way I came across this wonderful family photo of 1916 leader Joseph Plunkett and three of his six siblings as small children. The person who commissioned the book, musician and author Honor O’Brolchain, is Plunkett’s grand-niece and has many lovely old photographs of the family.
Lafayette studios, the historic Dublin company, took the photograph in 1896, at the time of the Lord Mayor’s Fancy Dress Party for children. Joseph (Joe – extreme right) is dressed as a gallowglass, a mediaeval Irish warrior. The other children are (left to right) Geraldine as the ‘Duchess of Savoy’, Moya as a Kate Greenaway character and Mimi in ‘an Irish costume’.
According to Honor, her grandmother Geraldine didn’t much enjoy being dressed up for the Ball in her uncomfortable costume. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the children had to dress up again in the following days to have this portrait taken. It was probably not much fun, as photographers at the time used neck clamps to keep children still while the photo was taken. Perhaps Joe refused a clamp – you can see by the slight blur of his face that he couldn’t help moving a little, unlike his sisters who at least had each other for support!