The title Baron of Dunsany or, more commonly, Lord Dunsany, is one of the oldest dignities in the Peerage of Ireland, one of just a handful of 13th- to 15th-century titles still extant, having had 21 holders, of the Plunkett name, to date. The other surviving ancient baronies include Kerry, now held by the Marquess of Lansdowne, Kingsale, Trimlestown, Baron Louth and Dunboyne.
The first Baron of Dunsany was Sir Christopher Plunkett, second son of Christopher Plunkett, 1st Baron Killeen. The elder Christopher married Joan Cusack, heiress of Killeen and Dunsany, and passed Killeen to his eldest son and Dunsany to the second.
The date at which Christopher Plunkett became a peer, and an hereditary member of the Irish Parliament, is uncertain; according to Cokayne's Complete Peerage, there is no record of a Dunsany as a peer before 1489, and the creation may well have been as late as 1462, the year Sir Christopher died. On the other hand, Debrett's listed the date of creation of the peerage as 1439, confirmed by Letters Patent in 1461.
The third Baron was a founder member of the Brotherhood of Saint George and supported the claims of the pretender Lambert Simnel. The fourth Baron was a soldier of some repute who was killed trying to put down a rising in 1521. His son, the fifth Baron, was a soldier and statesman who was accused of complicity in the rebellion of Silken Thomas.
The eleventh Baron was a follower of King James II and was outlawed after the Glorious Revolution. He was, however, restored to his estates after the Treaty of Limerick, but neglected the necessary measures needed to have himself recognised as the holder of the peerage, and, as such, was not summoned to Parliament.
The twelfth Baron conformed to the Church of Ireland to preserve the lands of both Dunsany and Killeen, but did not take the necessary steps to confirm his right to the title and to his seat in the Irish House of Lords it bestowed.
The thirteenth Baron, son of the twelfth, did go through the necessary procedures to have his title and claim to a seat in the former Irish upper house admitted, and thus sat in that body as a peer as of proven right. He was succeeded by his son, the fourteenth Baron, who served as Lord Lieutenant of County Meath, and also sat in the British House of Lords as an Irish Representative Peer from 1836 to 1848.
The fifteenth Baron represented Drogheda in the House of Commons and was an Irish Representative Peer from 1850 to 1852. He was succeeded by his younger brother, the sixteenth Baron. The latter was an admiral in the Royal Navy, and also served as an Irish Representative Peer between 1864 and 1889.
The seventeenth Baron, son of the sixteenth, sat as a Conservative Member of Parliament for Gloucestershire South and was an Irish Representative Peer from 1893 to 1899. His brother, Horace Plunkett was a key figure in the development of Irish agriculture and the Irish co-operative movement.
The seventeenth Baron was succeeded by his son, the eighteenth Baron. He was a well-known poet, playwright and author of short stories and novels, best known now for his short stories in the field of fantasy, the Jorkens stories, and his novel The King of Elfland's Daughter. The descendants of his younger brother, Reginald Drax, bear not only the Dunsany's surname Plunkett, but also other surnames inherited from their mother, Ernle Elizabeth Louisa Maria Grosvenor Ernle-Erle-Drax, née Ernle Elizabeth Louisa Maria Grosvenor Burton (1855–1916), giving them a rare quadruple-barrelled surname of Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax.
As of 2013, the title is held by the eighteenth Baron's great-grandson, Randal Plunkett, 21st Baron of Dunsany, who in 2011, succeeded his father, the painter Edward Plunkett, 20th Baron of Dunsany, and first Roman Catholic holder of the title since the 12th Baron.
The title is listed in Burke's Peerage and Baronetage and Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage as Baron of Dunsany, but in The Complete Peerage as Baron Dunsany without the of. In either case, the holder of the title is called Lord Dunsany in all but the most formal contexts.
Chu-Bu and Sheemish are characters in a short story of the same name by Lord Dunsany. The tale was first published in The Book of Wonder (1912).Dunsany's Chess
Dunsany's Chess, also known as Dunsany's Game, is an asymmetric chess variant in which one side has standard chess pieces, and the other side has 32 pawns. This game was invented by Lord Dunsany in 1942. A similar game is called Horde Chess.Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany
Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany (; 24 July 1878 – 25 October 1957), was an Anglo-Irish writer and dramatist; his work, mostly in the fantasy genre, was published under the name Lord Dunsany. More than ninety books of his work were published in his lifetime, and both original work and compilations have continued to appear. Dunsany's œuvre includes many hundreds of published short stories, as well as plays, novels and essays. He achieved great fame and success with his early short stories and plays, and during the 1910s was considered one of the greatest living writers of the English-speaking world; he is today best known for his 1924 fantasy novel The King of Elfland's Daughter.
Born and raised in London, to the second-oldest title (created 1439) in the Irish peerage, Dunsany lived much of his life at what may be Ireland's longest-inhabited house, Dunsany Castle near Tara, worked with W. B. Yeats and Lady Gregory, received an honorary doctorate from Trinity College, Dublin, was chess and pistol-shooting champion of Ireland, and travelled and hunted extensively. He died in Dublin after an attack of appendicitis.Edward Plunkett, 20th Baron of Dunsany
Edward John Carlos Plunkett, 20th Baron of Dunsany (born Dublin 10 September 1939 — died Navan, County Meath, 24 May 2011), with Irish, Brazilian and UK citizenship, was the grandson of the author Lord Dunsany, and a modern artist and property owner. Lord Dunsany succeeded to the title in 1999 on the death of his father, Lt-Col Randal Arthur Henry Plunkett, 19th Baron of Dunsany.Fifty Poems
Fifty Poems is a collection of poetry by fantasy author Lord Dunsany. His first poetry collection, it was first published in hardcover simultaneously in London and New York City by G. P. Putnam's Sons in October, 1929.
The book collects fifty poems by the author.Five Plays
Five Plays is the eighth book by Anglo-Irish fantasy writer Lord Dunsany, considered a major influence on the work of J. R. R. Tolkien, H. P. Lovecraft, Ursula K. Le Guin and others. It was first published in hardcover by Grant Richards in February, 1914, and has been reprinted a number of times since.
The book is actually Dunsany's sixth major work, two of his preceding books having been chapbooks or selections from his other works.
In contrast to most of Dunsany's other early books, Five Plays is a collection of dramatic works, the first of several such collections. All of the included plays were performed many times.In the Land of Time, and Other Fantasy Tales
In the Land of Time and Other Fantasy Tales is a posthumous collection of short stories by the writer Lord Dunsany, in the Penguin Classics series. Edited and with an introduction by S.T. Joshi, it assembles material from across Dunsany's long career. The cover illustration is a colourised version of a classic illustration for an early Dunsany story by his preferred artist, Sidney Sime.It Happened Tomorrow
It Happened Tomorrow is a 1944 American fantasy film directed by René Clair, starring Dick Powell, Linda Darnell and Jack Oakie, and featuring Edgar Kennedy and John Philliber.John Plunkett, 17th Baron of Dunsany
John William Plunkett, 17th Baron of Dunsany (31 August 1853 – 16 January 1899) was an Anglo-Irish Conservative politician and peer.Jorkens Has a Large Whiskey
Jorkens Has a Large Whiskey is a collection of fantasy short stories, narrated by Mr. Joseph Jorkens, by writer Lord Dunsany. It was first published in London by Putnam in September, 1940. It was the third collection of Dunsany's Jorkens tales to be published. It has also been issued in combination with the fourth book, The Fourth Book of Jorkens, in the omnibus edition The Collected Jorkens, Volume Two, published by Night Shade Books in 2004.
As noted by S. T. Joshi and many book dealers, this volume was and remains very scarce.
The book collects twenty-six short pieces by Dunsany.Jorkens Remembers Africa
Jorkens Remembers Africa is a collection of fantasy short stories, narrated by Mr. Joseph Jorkens, by writer Lord Dunsany. It was first published in New York City by Longmans, Green & Co. in October, 1934, with the English edition (under the alternate title Mr. Jorkens Remembers Africa) following in November of the same year from the same publisher. It was the second collection of Dunsany's Jorkens tales to be published. It has also been issued in combination with the first book, The Travel Tales of Mr. Joseph Jorkens, in the omnibus edition The Collected Jorkens, Volume One, published by Night Shade Books in 2004.
The book collects twenty-one short pieces by Dunsany.List of works by Lord Dunsany
The catalogue of Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany (Lord Dunsany)'s work during his 52-year active writing career is quite extensive, and is fraught with pitfalls for two reasons: first, many of Dunsany's original books of collected short stories were later followed by reprint collections, some of which were unauthorised and included only previously published stories; and second, some later collections bore titles very similar to different original books.
In 1993, S. T. Joshi and Darrell Schweitzer released a bibliographic volume which, while emphasising that it makes no claim to be the final word, gives considerable information on Dunsany's work. They noted that a "ledger" of at least some of Dunsany's work was thought to have existed at Dunsany Castle. It is believed that the curator at Dunsany Castle has compiled considerable writing and publication data.
The following is a partial list compiled from various sources.Randal Plunkett, 19th Baron of Dunsany
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.Randal Plunkett, 21st Baron of Dunsany
Randal Plunkett, 21st Baron of Dunsany (born 9 March 1983) is an Irish film director and producer. He is the eldest son of the late Edward Plunkett, 20th Baron of Dunsany, and his wife, the architect Maria Alice Villela de Carvalho. He is also the great-grandson of the author Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany.Robert Plunkett, 5th Baron of Dunsany
Robert Plunkett, 5th Baron Dunsany (died 1559) was an Anglo-Irish nobleman of the Tudor periodTales of Three Hemispheres
Tales of Three Hemispheres is a collection of fantasy short stories by Lord Dunsany. The first edition was published in Boston by John W. Luce & Co. in November, 1919; the first British edition was published in London by T. Fisher Unwin in June, 1920.
The collection's significance in the history of fantasy literature was recognized by its republication in a new edition by Owlswick Press in 1976, with illustrations by Tim Kirk and a foreword by H. P. Lovecraft, actually a general article on Dunsany's work originally written by Lovecraft in 1922, but unpublished until it appeared in his posthumous Marginalia (Arkham House, 1944).
The book collects 14 short pieces by Dunsany; the last three, under the general heading "Beyond the Fields We Know," are related tales, as explained in the publisher's note preceding the first, "Idle Days on the Yann," which was previously published in the author's earlier collection A Dreamer's Tales, but reprinted in the current one owing to the relationship.The Ghosts of the Heaviside Layer, and Other Fantasms
The Ghosts of the Heaviside Layer, and Other Fantasms is a collection of ghost stories, essays and plays by Anglo-Irish fantasy writer Lord Dunsany, edited by Darrell Schweitzer and illustrated by Tim Kirk. It was first published in hardcover by Owlswick Press in 1980.The book collects fourteen short stories, nineteen essays and two plays by the author, including two of his Jorkens stories, with an introductory foreword by Schweitzer.The Hoard of the Gibbelins
"The Hoard of the Gibbelins" is a fantasy short story by British writer Lord Dunsany. It was first published in The Sketch in London and in The Book of Wonder in 1912. It was also reprinted in the anthology The Spell of Seven, edited by L. Sprague de Camp.
The story, only 4.5 pages long in paperback, tells of the exploits of Alderic, Knight of the Order of the City, to seek and purloin the fabled hoard of precious gems rumoured to be held in the castle of the Gibbelins. These strange creatures live in a land chained to the Earth across the river ocean, and they have a built a tower at the narrowest point to attract humans, on whom they feed.
Alderic, acting on conflicting advice, captures a dragon and rides upon it to the riverbank. He swims the river, spends the night breaking into the supposed treasure-cellar with a mighty pickaxe, and finds the gems. But the Gibbelins immediately find, capture, and kill him; Dunsany ends the story quite abruptly at this point, saying "the tale is one of those that have not a happy ending."The Last Book of Wonder
The Last Book of Wonder, originally published as Tales of Wonder, is the tenth book and sixth original short story collection of Irish fantasy writer Lord Dunsany, considered a major influence on the work of J. R. R. Tolkien, H. P. Lovecraft, Ursula K. Le Guin and others.