Lord Dunsany, 1878-1957

lord dunsany dunsany castle












The 18th Lord Dunsany was born Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett in 15 Park Street, near Regents Park, London, but lived most of his life in the ancestral home Dunsany Castle in Meath.

Dunsany Castle, (above right) built in c.1190, has been the property of the Plunketts since the 15th century.  The Plunketts inherited the castle and demesne through marriage into the Cusack family, who were one of the earliest Norman families in the Palatinate of Meath, coming in with deLacy at the time of the Conquest.  Dunsany Castle is possibly Ireland's oldest continuously inhabited castle.

In spite of the large amount of time they spent in Ireland, the Plunketts were considered to be Anglo Irish as the family often lived abroad and frequently married foreigners.

He was educated at first by a governess in his home, then he went to  boarding school and finally to Eton.  He was a contemporary, mentor and friend of Francis Ledwidge, another County Meath poet and listed Yeats, St. John Gogarty, A.E, Kipling and Lady Gregory among his literary acquaintances.

His life's work include novels, poems, plays and an autobiography Patches of Sunlight.  His writing spanned the years 1905 to 1954. Lord Dunsany is said to have written at amazing speed. He wrote his most successful one act play A Night at an Inn between early tea and dinner.

He died on 25th October 1957 and was buried in Kent as he had requested.  Ten days later a memorial service took place in Kilmessan, County Meath.

Trivia: The 18th Baron Dunsany resisted installing modern technology in Dunsany Castle. There was no electric light there until he left it in the mid 1950s.

"The game keeping approach to domestic problems had scored a success when there were difficulties rewiring a bell through the thick walls.  The wire was attached to a ferret, and a squealing rabbit held at the far end of the tunnel, and all was done in no time."

from Lord Dunsany, by Mark Amory,  Collins 1972