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Randal Arthur Henry Plunkett, 19th Baron of Dunsany (25 August 1906 – 8 February 1999) was an Irish peer. An only child, he was the son of the famous author and playwright Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany and Lady Beatrice Child Villiers, daughter of Victor Child Villiers, 7th Earl of Jersey.


Family seatEdit

The family seat of the Lords Dunsany is at Dunsany Castle, Dunsany, Co. Meath, Ireland. The original Dunsany and nearby Killeen Castles were built by Geoffrey de Cusack who was a tenant of Sir Hugh de Lacy, an early Cambro-Norman who arrived in Ireland with Strongbow, sometime between his arrival in Ireland in 1172 and the year 1181. Sir Hugh was given most of County Meath. The Plunketts of Dunsany and Killeen are descended from Geoffrey de Cusack and Matilda (née le Petit sister of William le Petit of Dunboyne Castle). The castle was built on an area of land believed to have been the site of an earlier Dún or fort, which may give its name to the locality. Both castles came to the Plunkett family through the marriage in the early 15th century of Sir Christopher Plunkett (Deputy Governor of Ireland in 1432) to Lady Joan de Cusack. It is claimed that the castle is the longest occupied home and one of the oldest surviving continuously inhabited buildings in Ireland.

Early lifeEdit

Randal Plunkett was born in Dublin on 25 August 1906 and was educated at Eton College, Eton, Berkshire, England. He fought in the North-West Frontier in 1930 in the Guides Cavalry regiment of the British Indian Army, and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He also fought in the Second World War and retired from Military Service in 1947 having been decorated (Medal and Clasp). In 1957 he succeeded to the family title on the death of his father the 18th Lord Dunsany.

Personal lifeEdit

On 23 August 1938 Randal Plunkett married Vera de Sà Sottomaior (d.1986), the youngest daughter of Dr. Genesio de Sà Sottomaior of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and formerly wife of Ivar Bryce. Just over one year later the couple had their only child Edward John Carlos Plunkett, who would later succeed his father as 20th Lord Dunsany in 1999. However, the couple were divorced in 1947 and on 8 October 1947 Randal Plunkett married Sheila Victoria Katrin Philipps (1912-1999), daughter of Sir Henry Philipps, 2nd Bt. of Picton Castle in Pembroke. From this marriage the Hon. Beatrice Mary Plunkett was born on 15 July 1948. Randal Dunsany was survived by both of his children, and by two grandchildren by Edward and Maria Alice Plunkett.


Randal Plunkett, the Rt. Hon. The Lord Dunsany was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel and was decorated for his service in the North-West Frontier in 1930. On 21 September 1962 the official inauguration of the Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jersusalem Bailiwick (later to be Grand Priory) of Ireland took place at Dunsany Castle and Lord Dunsany was invested as the first Chancellor of the Order in Ireland.

Peerage of Ireland
Preceded by
Edward Plunkett
Baron of Dunsany
Succeeded by
Edward Plunkett


  • B. Burke, (1862). A genealogical and heraldic dictionary of the landed gentry of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Ed., Harrison, p. 327.
  • Mosley, Charles, editor. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes.
  • Mosley, Charles, editor. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes.
  • Lee, G. A. (1996) Leper Hospitals in Medieval Ireland. Dublin: Four Court Press.p. 72.

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