Peg Plunkett

Brothel madam, entrepreneur, author and socialite

Westmeath / Dublin

1727 - 1797

Hailing from County Westmeath, Peg was the most famous brothel madam in Georgian Dublin. A powerful and highly influential, Madam Plunkett was witty, intelligent and beautiful: a dangerous combination that bewitched lords, lawyers and con-men. Moving to Dublin at sixteen, Peg was kept by several men, including a Mr Leeson, who surname she often used. She started her first brothel with a friend, Sally Hayes, in Drogheda Street. The premises moved to Pitt Street after an attack by a gang called the Pink Dindies (whose leader Peg successfully sued).

When a famous violinist came to Smock Alley theatre he banned people of her ilk but nothing deterred Peg Plunkett. When she was unceremoniously thrown out by the doormen on Carnavalli’s orders, she saw to it that he was locked up at Newgate prison along with the doormen.

She had a wicked sense of humour, so wicked that she once attended a masquerade ball dressed as Diana, the goddess of virginity.Ever brazen she even tried to set up a religion at one point, and offended the Prince Regent by refusing to get her horse out of the way of his carriage while on a trip to London.

Plunkett retired after thirty years to Blackrock, but had to write her memoirs in order to pay her debts, which put the fear of God into Dublin’s social circles. The first two volumes were bestsellers but Peg died in 1797 before the third volume was complete.