Honor O'Brolchain

Honor O’Brolchain (Photo by Kate Horgan)

Although born in Galway (and proud of it) in 1948 Honor O Brolchain was brought up in Donnybrook, Dublin mostly in houses built by two great-great-grandfathers. Even her schooling was in an ancestral house, Muckross Park, with the liberal and progressive Dominican nuns.

Music was a major part of her life from the age of five and the Arts, Literature, Ballet, Opera, Drawing Painting and Sculpture, were ever-present interests and occupations in her family.

A number of ancestors and family members had gained places in history including Maol Íosa O Brolcháin, John Blake Dillon, William K. Sullivan, John Pope Hennessey, John Dillon, James Dillon, St. Oliver Plunkett, George Noble Count Plunkett and Joseph Plunkett. This set up an unusual interest in Irish history greatly enhanced by having grandparents, Geraldine Plunkett Dillon (sister of Joseph Plunkett) and Professor Thomas Dillon, living in the house and not being afraid to talk of the past. In fact it was a household of talkers – parents, Blanaid Dillon O Brolchain (1918-1998) and Eoin O Brolchain (1907-1963) sisters, Barbara (O’Doherty) and Ester (Mazzetta) and brother, Fiacc, all highly skilled in conversation and argument.

On inheriting the considerable papers of Geraldine Plunkett Dillon Honor became more involved in the family’s history and has since, with additional research, created papers and talks and walks on many aspects of the Plunketts from 1082 to 1948, especially their building enterprises in 19th century Rathmines, Donnybrook and Ballsbridge.

She produced an edition of Geraldine Plunkett Dillon’s memoirs: All in the Blood, A&A Farmar 2006 a lively account of her grandmother’s life in Dublin and Galway and of her family and ancestors over a period from 1820 to 1922.

Her biography of her granduncle, Joseph Plunkett, the youngest 1916 leader, is published by OBRIEN Press (March 2012) as part of the series 16 Lives, biographies of all those executed in 1916.

Honor has two children, Mahon and Isolde Carmody, daughter-in-law, Kiyomi Kimura and stepson, Benjamin Ellis Fine, .