This noble family, the eldest branch of the numerous house of PLUNKETT, claims a common ancestor with the Earls of Fingall and the Barons Dunsany; namely, John Plunkett, who was seated, about the close of the 11th century, at Beaulieu, County Louth.
From this gentleman descended two brothers, John and Richard Plunkett; the younger of whom was the progenitor of the Earls of Fingall and the Barons Dunsany; and the elder, the ancestor of
He married Catherine, daughter of Thomas Nangle, 15th Baron of Navan, and dying in 1508, was succeeded by his eldest son,
OLIVER PLUNKETT, of Kilfarnon, who was elevated to the peerage, in 1541, as BARON LOUTH (second creation).
His lordship wedded firstly, Catherine, daughter and heir of John Rochfort, of Carrick, County Kildare, by whom he had six sons and four daughters; and secondly, Maud, daughter and co-heir of Walter Bath, of Rathfeigh, by whom he had two sons and two daughters.
This nobleman having, with the Plunketts of Ardee, brought six archers on horseback to the general hosting, at the hill of Tara in 1593, was appointed to have the leading of County Louth. He married firstly, Frances, daughter of Sir Nicholas Bagenall, Knight Marshal of Ireland, by whom he had five sons and three daughters; and secondly, Genet Dowdall, by whom he had no issue.He died in 1607, and was succeeded by his eldest son,
His lordship died in 1629, and was succeeded by his eldest son,
This nobleman joined the Royalists in 1639, and was at the siege of Drogheda; and at a general meeting of the principal Roman Catholic gentry of County Louth, held at the hill of Tallaghosker.
He was appointed colonel-general of all the forces to be raised in that county; and in the event of his lordship's declining the same, then Sir Christopher Bellew; and upon his refusal, then Sir Christopher Barnewall, of Rathasker.
This latter gentleman accepted the said post of colonel-general, for which he was imprisoned, in 1642, at Dublin Castle, and persecuted by the usurper Cromwell's parliament.
This nobleman, like his father, suffered by his adhesion to royalty, having attached himself to the fortunes of JAMES II.
His lordship died in 1639, and was succeeded by his eldest son,
This nobleman, upon taking his seat in parliament, was informed by the Chancellor that his grandfather, Oliver, 6th Baron, had been outlawed in 1641; and not being able to establish the reversal of the same, the dignity remained, for the two subsequent generations, unacknowledged in law.
THOMAS, his successor;His lordship died in 1763, and was succeeded by his son and heir,
THOMAS OLIVER (1757-1823), 11th Baron, who had the outlawry of his great-grandfather annulled, and was restored to his rank in the peerage in 1798.
THOMAS, his successor;His lordship was succeeded by his eldest son,
THOMAS OLIVER (1809-49), 12th Baron, who espoused, in 1830, Anna Maria, daughter of Philip Roche, of Donore, County Kildare, by Anna Maria, his wife, youngest daughter of Randall, Lord Dunsany, and by her had issue,
RANDAL PERCY OTWAY, 13th Baron (1832-83) an officer in the 79th Highlanders.
The 14th Baron, though not prominent in politics, did take part in public life: He was a member of the Irish Reform Association, and took part in the campaign for a Catholic University. In politics he was a Unionist. His papers show that he was an active sportsman and also travelled widely.
He sold most of the estate soon after the 1903 Wyndham Land Act. He died in 1941, and was succeeded by his only surviving son Otway, briefly 15th Baron, before his death in 1950.
The 16th Baron died at Jersey, Channel Islands, on the 6th January, 2013, aged 83.
The title now devolves upon his lordship's eldest son, the Hon Jonathan Oliver Plunkett, born in 1952.
LOUTH HALL, near Ardee, County Louth, is a three-storey Georgian house, built ca 1760, now in ruins.
There is a shallow, projecting, curved bow to the east of south elevation of ca 1805; and a tower-house to west of ca 1350.
The roof is not visible, hidden behind a crenellated parapet.
The Plunkett family crest is above the pediment.
Louth Hall is situated within what is now a field, with ranges of random rubble stone outbuildings of ca 1805, arranged around three yards; remains of walled garden to west; artificial lake to south, dovecote to south-west.
Entrance gates to north-east on roadside comprising tooled limestone squared piers, cast-iron gates, flanked by pedestrian gates and curving quadrant plinth surmounted by cast-iron railings.
This house was the home of the Plunkett family from the later medieval until the early-20th century.
The continuity of occupation is reflected in the architectural changes, the migration from tower house to Georgian mansion.
A fire in 2000 destroyed delicate early 19th century interior plasterwork.
The archaeological, architectural and historical associations of this building are as immense as the structure itself.
First published in March, 2013. Louth arms courtesy of European Heraldry.