Sunday, 13 November 2011

Oliver Plunkett Ireland

St Oliver Plunkett Ireland


Oliver Plunkett was born in County Meath, Ireland and educated by the Jesuits.  He was ordained in 1654 and eventually appointed the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland, by Pope Clement IX.

In 1679, Oliver Plunkett in Ireland was arrested and put on trial at Dundalk, charged with conspiring against the state by bringing in French soldiers and creating a tax on his clergy to help pay for them.

Lord Shaftesbury knew that Plunkett would not be convicted in Ireland, so he had him brought to London and placed in Newgate Prison.

Oliver Plunkett like many others was arrested under false testimony due to the panic that Catholicism would be brought back by the new king.



Two years later, he was found guilty of high treason and was hung, drawn and quartered.  The hangman removed his head and threw it into a fire, but it was rescued before it became incinerated.


His body was placed in two tin boxes and buried next to five Jesuits, who had undergone execution before him.  It was then moved to a Benedictine monastery in Germany and almost 200 years later, was transported back to Downside Abbey in England.

St Oliver Plunkett's head is now preserved in Saint Peter’s church in Drogheda, and as late as 1975, some of his remains were also returned to Ireland, when he was canonised as a saint.  You can still see this head today in the main church in Drogheda.


A tragic and brutal death that demonstrated how harshly punishment was dealt out and acted upon without any signs of mercy.

I would now recommend reading the Irish history about Irish History Grattan's Parliament in Ireland.