O'Plunket History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Irish already had a system for creating hereditary surnames established when the followers of Strongbow settled in eastern Ireland. Although there was relatively little friction between the two systems because they operated according to very similar principles, the Strongbownians frequently used local surnames. In Ireland, local surnames were almost unheard of, but in England they were probably the most common form of hereditary surname. Local surnames, such as O'Plunket, were taken from the name of a place or a geographical feature where the person lived, held land, or was born.

The surname O'Plunket is derived from living in the settlement of Plouquenet in Ille-et-Vilaine in France. The surname O'Plunket belongs to the large category of Anglo-Norman habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Some sources indicated that the surname O'Plunket is a corruption of the Old French word blanchet, which means white. The Gaelic form of the surname O'Plunket is Pluincéid.

Early Origins of the O'Plunket family

The surname O'Plunket was first found in County Louth (Irish: Lú) the smallest county in Ireland, located on the East coast, in the Province of Leinster, where they were granted lands when they accompanied Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke, in the invasion of Ireland.

"Little of certainty is to be gathered concerning this name before its appearance in Ireland. So early, however, as the 11th century, we find John Plukenet seated at Beaulieu, co. Meath : and from him springs the distinguished Irish families of the name, ennobled under the titles of Fingall Dunsany, and Louth." [1]

"A nephew of Lord Plugenet [in England] founded the family still existing in Ireland, though their pedigree declares that they are of Danish origin, and were seated at Bewley (Beaulieu) in co. Louth as early as the eleventh century. " [2]

"The younger branch was the more distinguished of the two. 'These 'Plunkets in Ireland,' says Camden, ' have been very eminent ever since Christopher Plunket (a person of great valour and wisdom who was deputy to Richard Duke of York, Viceroy in Henry VI. time) was raised to the dignity of Baron of Killin, which came to him by his wife, as heir to the family of the Cusacks.' Sir Christopher was Sheriff of Meath prior to 1442, and had married the only child of Sir Lucas de Cusack, Lord of Killeen, Dunsany, and Gerardstown in that county. All his three sons founded families. The eldest was the ancestor of the Earls of Fingall ; the second, Sir Christopher, was the first Lord Dunsany ; and the third, Sir Thomas, had to wife the heiress of Rathmore, which remained the home of his descendants. His son Sir Alexander 'a person of great account,' was appointed Chancellor of Ireland in 1492." [2]

Early History of the O'Plunket family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Plunket research. Another 114 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1182, 1410, 1463, 1503, 1492, 1555, 1649, 1668, 1445, 1461, 1602, 1680, 1644, 1629, 1681 and 1920 are included under the topic Early O'Plunket History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

O'Plunket Spelling Variations

Since church officials and medieval scribes spelt each name as it sounded to them; as a result, a single person could accumulate many different versions of his name within official records. A close examination of the origins of the name O'Plunket revealed the following spelling variations: Plunkett, Plunket, Plunkitt, Plunkit, Plunked, Plunkedd, Plunkidd and many more.

Early Notables of the O'Plunket family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family up to this time was Sir Christopher Plunkett, 1st Baron of Dunsany (1410-1463); Alexander Plunket (died 1503), appointed Lord Chancellor of Ireland by King Henry VII of England in 1492; Oliver Plunkett, 1st Baron Louth (d. c. 1555), an Irish peer; and Christopher Plunkett, 2nd Earl of Fingall (died 1649). Patrick Plunket (died 1668), was 9th Baron of Dunsany, co. Meath. An ancestor, Sir Christopher Plunket (d. 1445), was active in the Irish wars during the early part of the fifteenth century, and is said to have been deputy to...
Another 92 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Plunket Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the O'Plunket family

During the middle of the 19th century, Irish families often experienced extreme poverty and racial discrimination in their own homeland under English rule. Record numbers died of disease and starvation and many others, deciding against such a fate, boarded ships bound for North America. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Unfortunately, many of those Irish that arrived in Canada or the United States still experienced economic and racial discrimination. Although often maligned, these Irish people were essential to the rapid development of these countries because they provided the cheap labor required for the many canals, roads, railways, and other projects required for strong national infrastructures. Eventually the Irish went on to make contributions in the less backbreaking and more intellectual arenas of commerce, education, and the arts. Research early immigration and passenger lists revealed many early immigrants bearing the name O'Plunket: James Plunkett, who came to Virginia in 1655; Oliver Plunket, who settled in Wilmington N.C. in 1804; James, Bernard, John, Patrick, Phillip, Thomas Plunket, who all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860.



The O'Plunket Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Festina lente
Motto Translation: Be quick without impetuosity.


  1. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3


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