Peg Plunkett, part two (with Karyn Moynihan)

This week continues (but does not conclude) the tits out story of Irish icon, Peg Plunkett. Our guest is, again, Karyn Moynihan: Irish person, co-host of Double Love: The Sweet Valley High Podcast, and designer of several Vulgar History merch items.

Next week: the thrilling conclusion of the Peg saga. Herman, my pills!

Intro ends/story begins: 02:11

Ads: 23:08

Story ends/outro starts: 46:16

Follow Karyn on Instagram @karynmoy and follow her podcast Double Love @svhpodcast


Peg Plunkett: Memoirs of a Whore by Julie Peakman

Memoirs of Mrs. Margaret Leeson by Peg Plunkett aka Mrs. Leeson

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Vulgar History Podcast

Peg Plunkett, Part Two (with Karyn Moynihan)

July 10, 2024

Hello and welcome to Vulgar History, a feminist women’s history comedy podcast. My name is Ann Foster, and this is Season Seven, this season we’re looking at… Technically the overarching theme of this season is How Do You Solve A Problem Like Marie Antoinette? Everybody who we talk about, we connect back to Marie Antoinette herself and because it was a really interesting period of time where so many people were interacting with so many people from other countries, there were all these interactions happening, revolution was breaking out constantly, everywhere. So, this part, Season Seven, Part One is mostly focused on what was going on in America and people who had dealings with America. And you might be like, “But Ann, part one, last week, Peg Plunkett all took place in, like, rural Ireland.” But yeah, and we’re going to see what that has to do with America in this week’s episode. 

So last week, myself and extra special guest co-host Karyn Moynihan from Double Love: The Sweet Valley High Podcast, we were we were going through Peg’s origin story. And we left you with a cliffhanger that’s not dissimilar to where we left after Sally Hemings, Part One if you listened to that episode. Like again, we’ve got a girl, she’s 16, she’s pregnant, she’s had quite a harrowing period of time. But as we reassured you last time, Peg, she has this ability to just thrive, to keep going her resilience, I mean, I have to say her tits-out-ishness. It’s spectacular. 

In this week’s episode, we see her starting to get a bit more schemey. I guess she’s already considered scandalous, at least by her, like, horrible family but we see her kind of take a bit more control of her own life this week. And I don’t want to– I mean, listen to Part One to hear all about her, like, tragic backstory. But Part Two, this is where Peg is just like she’s tits out, she’s doing her thing. Karyn is here to explain all the Irish connections of everything. It’s I’m so excited for you to hear this. So, please enjoy Part Two of Peg Plunkett.


Ann: Anyway, so then she’s sent out of the city to go have the baby and she’s headed for [phonetic] Drogeeda? 

Karyn: Drogheda. [ph.] Draw-hed-a.

Ann: Drod-da-da?

Karyn: Draw-hed-a, yeah. 

Ann: Drogheda.

Karyn: Yeah. No, we like to trick people with mad spellings. [laughs]

Ann: Drogheda.

Karyn: Yeah.

Ann: And what’s that like? Drogheda.

Karyn: Drogheda is cool, yeah. It’s just north of Dublin, it’s a cool town actually.

Ann: So, close by, okay. 

Karyn: Yeah, it’s not that far. Yeah.

Ann: But unfortunately, she went in this carriage and one of her relatives was in the same carriage because it was sort of like a bus carriage.

Karyn: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I think it was her cousin that was on the coach. But like, I have to say that is very Irish, that you’re like somewhere and you’re like, “God, I hope I don’t meet anyone. Oh, God, there’s four of my cousins.” [Ann laughs] That feels very relatable, I have to say. [laughs]

Ann: Yeah. So, then her cousin was like, “Oh! Where are you going? And Peg is like, “Oh, I’m doing business for my brother-in-law.” And the cousin was like, “Well, come stay with me!” And she’s like, [sarcastical tone] “Great.” 

Karyn: “Oh no.” Yeah, because she’s trying to hide a massive baby bump at this point, too. And just “Don’t be suspicious.” So, she’s really having to think on her feet here.

Ann: Well, and then describe what she does. [laughs softly]

Karyn: Okay. Yeah. So, they do get as far as Drogheda. Peg hops off the coach and is like, “I have to do some business stuff in this inn. I’ll be with you in half an hour.” So, the cousin goes off and she’s like, “Okay, cool. I’ll see you then.” But Peg runs into the inn. She hires a man to take her to Dunleer – which is a town further out, I think it’s like seven or so miles further north than Drogheda – and just bails out and tells the guy in the end, “Look, if anyone comes in asking about me, you didn’t see me. You don’t know where I went. I walked out the door and that’s all you know.” So, she’s trying to cover her tracks at this point and just bails off to this other random town further up the coast just to get away from this cousin. So yeah, that’s the plan.

Ann: And she does. And she finds some people to live with there, like a farmer and his wife and she has her baby, who is a daughter, who is never mentioned again in this whole story, but presumably was alive…?

Karyn: I guess to a point? Yeah, I did keep I was kind of waiting to hear about this baby again or this little girl and she just never pops up again. So, it’s… Yeah. Probably not great. 

Ann: So, she has this little girl and then she goes back to Dublin with the daughter and she just, like, lives with Mr. Dardis. 

Karyn: Mm-hm. Yeah, they live together with their baby. So, it’s like ostensibly as this couple with a baby, but he still won’t marry her. But she’s also feeling really stressed and ashamed about the whole thing because she’s lost contact with her family, she ghosted her cousin. She just feels really guilty about everything and wants to try and make it up with her sisters as well.

Ann: Right. So, then she goes to try to talk to her sister to explain what happened. But the cousin had written to the sisters being like, “Here’s what Peg did.” So, they slammed the door in her face. 

Karyn: Disaster. Oh, man. Yeah, no one will talk to her. It’s really awful. They just don’t have anything to do with her because I guess the last they knew, she was living in this house of ill repute and then she ghosted this cousin, which is really rude and I guess, you know, what’s worse than being rude? [laughs] So, they just cut her off, will not speak to her. 

Ann: Yeah. And she’s like, I don’t know, 16 or something.

Karyn: She’s so young.

Ann: Yeah. So, she decides to leave Dardis. 

Karyn: Yeah! 

Ann: And the biography I read was like, “Why did she do that? He would have taken care of her.” And I’m like, “Because she deserved a better life!”

Karyn: Yeah! This guy sucked. Like he was never going to marry her.

Ann: He sucked. And as far as I know, she left the baby with him because we never hear about that baby again. 

Karyn: Yeah, yeah. This is the thing. That is the last you hear of that baby, yeah.

Ann: And this is where if this was a Sweet Valley saga, the next chapter would be that baby’s story. 

Karyn: Aha! [laughs]

Ann: And her exciting adventures going to America. 

Karyn: [laughs] Yeah, that’s exactly how that would play out. 

Ann: Exactly. And then she always surprises me at every turn. She writes to her father, useless Matthew, and he says, “Well, you can come back home.” Like, that’s how desperate she is. She’s like, “I guess I’ll go back to fucking Christopher.” 

Karyn: Yeah, which like… She does. But just he won’t even let her into the house when she gets there. Like he literally leaves her sitting outside the house in the cold and rain. Just doesn’t give a shit. Yeah.

Ann: Yeah. He gave her a guinea and booked a carriage to take her to Kinnegad. What’s that?

Karyn: Yes. It’s outside Dublin. So, it would be like on the way back. Definitely. 

Ann: Okay. And by now, like she, you know, she came from a wealthy family and whatever. But by now, she was selling off her clothing for money. Clothing was very valuable at this time. So, it’s not just like, “Well, this T-shirt,” it’s like, no, clothing was rare and expensive. 

Karyn: Yeah, it’s nice gowns that are going to last for ages. So yeah, this is nice stuff, I would say that she would have had. 

Ann: But still like that’s the state she’s in to try and… This is how she’s getting by. 

Okay. And so then, she’s approached on the street by some men who invite her to a tea house. 

Karyn: Yes. [chuckles] So, I think at this point, she comes up with a plan that she’s actually going to go back to Killough, but to live with some of the tenant families that were always that she always got along really well with from the farm. But when she tries to, like, book a stage or some kind of coach to get back there, everything is booked up so it’s not going to happen. And on the way to doing that, she’s approached by these two men who are like, “Hey, come into this tearoom with us.” And she’s like, “No, thank you,” runs away, finds out that everything is booked up. So, she’s just in this state of despair, kind of trudging back to whatever lodgings she’s in at the minute, sees the two guys again and she’s like, “Mmm, actually…” They’re like, “Yeah, yeah, come have tea with us,” and she’s like, “All right, fuck it. Let’s go.” [laughs]

Ann: And so, one of them was like, and so I was like, “Oh, where’s this going?” But what happened is one of them was like, “If you would permit, I will be your protector, and you can I’ll be like your sugar daddy,” as they would say. And she’s like, “Okay, then.”

Karyn: “Let’s do it.” Yeah, this dude Thomas Caulfield, I think he’s a wine merchant. He fancies her like crazy because he asked her all these questions and she just answers everything honestly, because, at this point, she says “I had already suffered by falsehoods.” So, she’s like, “I may as well just be honest with these guys.” So, he’s like, “Oh, okay. Well, you know, if all that’s true, then I’ll mind you. I’ll be your protector.” So, it’s like, “Okay, this could go really well now, actually.” 

Ann: Yeah, he was well connected to an Earl, had his own money from his wine business. And so, she’s like, “Great.” So, then she has a son with him because listeners, this is… Like her mother…

Karyn: Augh, this is the thing. Look, and to be honest…

Ann: Every nine months, she has a baby. 

Karyn: It’s just what’s gonna happen. So, just get used to that. [laughs]

Ann: Which is interesting, because I’ve read… I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever done an episode about, like, a literal sex worker, which she is not yet. But other people who have lived, like, exotic, exciting lives, like they’re not having a baby every nine months.

Karyn: They’re not knocked up constantly, yeah. I know. And, like, there is birth control at this time, I guess she just either doesn’t know about it or doesn’t want to. I don’t know what the deal is there exactly, yeah.

Ann: At least at the beginning, perhaps, you could think the same way she didn’t have skills to be a domestic servant, maybe she wouldn’t have heard about birth control because she was raised in a sort of like rich family. But eventually, the people she’s hanging– That woman at the boarding house could have told her some stuff. 

Karyn: Yeah! It gets to a point where a lot of people in her life would have known a lot about this and could have clued her in. So, you do feel like there was certainly a point where she would have known what to do. But she’s just having those babies. 

Ann: Yeah, that’s just what she’s doing. So anyway, this guy was Thomas Caulfield, he couldn’t marry her because he was rich, and she was not. In fact, he married another woman, but he was like, “Well, I’ll keep giving you an allowance as long as you keep living as per my Christian Grey from Fifty Shades of Grey rules.” 

Karyn: [laughs] Yeah, exactly. Living with propriety, don’t have friends.

Ann: Don’t have friends. Don’t talk to any men ever. Stay in the house all the time, as she does for her whole life, and to her credit, ignored him.

Karyn: Yeah, she’s like, “No, man, my friends are super fun. I’m not doing that.”

Ann: Yeah, she has like, a found family; she has these cool friends. 

Karyn: Exactly, yeah. So, she’s not giving them up. He does end up cutting off her allowance. But because she’s had this kid, he does still provide for the son. So, she’s okay for a while, but then the son dies of an illness at quite a young age. So, now Peg is broke again. 

Ann: And she’s, by now, like, in her early 20s. Because remember, she spent a year with him or something. Anyway, so she’s now a young adult. And she finds a new patron, who is Mr. Leeson. 

Karyn: Yes. 

Ann: Which is funny to me, because I kept thinking Liam Neeson. Nope. Mr. Leeson! Which is like Liam Neeson, if you made that one name. 

Karyn: It would be Leeson.

Ann: Because he’s Irish, right? Yeah. 

Karyn: Yeah. 

Ann: Yeah. So, Mr. Leeson, Liam Neeson. 

Karyn: You can just picture him as Liam Neeson, actually. 

Ann: Might as well. Although he is a wealthy English gentleman. And this is like the book that you read. Like it’s Mrs. Leeson, right? Like she uses this surname.

Karyn: From this point, I think, yeah, she kind of professionally goes by Margaret Leeson.

Ann: Not that she married him, but. 

Karyn: No. 

Ann: So he also was like, “Here’s my list of rules for you: Give up your friends, stay inside all the time.” 

Karyn: They’re mad for the rules. 

Ann: It’s like, they’re all mad for her. Like she must have been so charismatic and beautiful. 

Karyn: She really must have been. 

Ann: Yeah. The way that everyone fell for her but then immediately– I just watched the movie Showgirls, which I don’t know if you’ve watched that recently. 

Karyn: Not recently. I have seen it before and had a great time watching it, but it’s been a while. 

Ann: Augh! It’s so good. But what happened in that movie that really struck me upon this viewing was Nomi Malone, Irish name, she comes to Las Vegas and every single person who meets her is just like, “Let me help you or fuck you.” Like everybody. She’s got this chaotic energy and everyone’s just like, “Yes!” Like everyone she meets, she becomes the centre of their world. And Peg Plunkett is that to everyone she meets. 

Karyn: That’s so true! Yes. Like everyone’s crazy about her. Everyone fancies her. Everyone wants to fuck Peg. Like she’s just the coolest, the funniest, and she is funny. That’s the thing. Like, her writing is really funny and witty and very, very readable. So, I do get it. Like she is, she’s obviously a great time to hang out with.

Ann: And yeah, two men in a row are like, “Okay, great. I love you and I want to be around you all the time. But also, I want to keep you in a room like a little doll.” 

Karyn: Yeah. “Don’t talk to anyone. You’re mine alone and that’s it,” which is no kind of life. 

Ann: Okay. She was like, “Yeah, sure. Okay.” But did not change her behaviour at all. 

Karyn: No. She also had these two pals, Jackson and Lawless at the time who were great fun to hang around with. 

Ann: Do you mean Buck Lawless? 

Karyn: [sighs] Oh god, yeah. [laughs]

Ann: Who, not to spoil what he’s going to end up doing, but the name Buck Lawless… is iconic. 

Karyn: It’s kind of great, isn’t it? And Buck is kind of a, it’s more of a nickname, I think, at the time where, like, a lot of young men about town would have been known as like Buck English, Buck Lawless. Buck, it was just kind of a like Young Lawless, that kind of thing. 

Ann: Oh, okay. I was going to ask you that because there’s someone else later in the book who’s also called Buck. And I thought, was that like the Ewan of the time? Like, was everyone just called Buck?

Karyn: Nobody was ever actually called Buck. So, it was just kind of a nickname because yeah, Buck Whaley was another Buck. And it is just like a term for kind of young men about town with a bit of money to them were the Bucks in town. Yeah. 

Ann: So, the thing with the name Buck Lawless, and I was telling a friend of the podcast, Allison Epstein, who is as into Australian Bushrangers as I am, because the Australian Bushrangers, a lot of them were Irish criminals sent to Australia. 

Karyn: Yeah, yeah, of course. 

Ann: And they all had cool names like Captain Moonlight and things like that. 

Karyn: Nice! 

Ann: And I was like, “Allison, I’m reading a story and someone in it is called Buck Lawless and he’s not an Australian Bushranger.” [both laugh] And Allison was like, “Wait a minute. So, it’s kind of like the culture of Ireland…” Like, I love the Bushranger whole vibe, but it’s like, oh, I think that’s just Irish people went there and the culture unchanged.

Karyn: [laughs] Just wholly imported. 

Ann: Yeah, exactly. That’s what she was like. And I was like, “You are right because his name is Buck Lawless. That’s not his name. His name is Buck Lawless.” Now, he is a wrong’un. 

Karyn: Yes, very much so. At this point, he’s just like her fun friend, who’s kind of jumping in through the window while Leeson thinks she’s being very.

Ann: This is great because Leeson is like, “Don’t see anyone.” And she’s like, “Great.” And then she sees two lovers who come visit her all the time. 

Karyn: And the two guys are friends as well. Like, it’s so funny. I think she met one of them first and he was like, “You’ve got to meet my friend, you’re going to love him,” and it’s like these two guys, Jackson and Lawless, and they’re like a double act at this point where they’re both banging Peg and they’re both friends. So, it’s a fun throuple. [laughs]

Ann: And that’s the thing, like the polyamory of this, like Peg is just like, ”I’m up for anything.” So, Leeson is like, “Let’s get Peg out of Dublin,” to his country home in Kildare. Is that another, like, nice place that’s near Dublin? 

Karyn: County Kildare is like right outside Dublin. It’s kind of a big commuter belt now at the minute, where a lot of people that work in Dublin would live in Kildare because it’s not that far to get into the city, yeah. Kildare is nice as well. It’s where Saint Brigid’s from. 

Ann: Oh, nice. Oh, Saint Brigid from the movie Irish Wish?

Karyn: [laughs] The one and only. [laughs]

Ann: Everyone needs to subscribe to Karyn’s Substack because you wrote such a great review of that film. 

Karyn: [laughs] Thank you. 

Ann: Okay. So I went to Kildare, which is basically not even like leaving Dublin at all from what you just said. If you’re like, “I don’t want you to see your lovers,” it’s like, they can get to her very easily.

Karyn: Yeah, it wouldn’t be that difficult. 

Ann: Anyway, so he was called back to Dublin and then Jackson and Lawless came up to Kildare, I think, with an assist from Leeson’s manservant who just kept like– That’s the other thing. Like Peg was able to get away with this because she got all the servants on her side to help her. 

Karyn: Yeah. This is the thing. She’s got that charisma. She knows that the domestics in a house, she’s like, “You win them over by being nice to them and giving them stuff. Like that’s all you need to do.” And then they’re all like, “We fucking love Peg. We will help you with all your shenanigans.”

Ann: She does. Like she’s got very good instincts. Like, five hours from now, when we get to scoring her, [Karyn laughs] her Scheminess, I think is quite high. Here’s a quote from Peg. “Chastity, I willingly acknowledge is one of the characteristic virtues of the female sex, but may I be allowed to ask, is it the only one?” 

Karyn: Ah, love it. She’s so great.

Ann: You know what, as we go through this episode, if we come up with a merch idea, like, I will hire you. 

Karyn: You better if it’s about Peg. [laughs]

Ann: So, just keep your eyes out for like, what would be a good T-shirt here and we’ll… Listeners, when you hear this, perhaps it’ll be in the store. 

Karyn: There you go. Yeah. 

Ann: Okay. So basically, it’s just like, she’s in Dublin, he’s in Kildare or vice versa. Oh no, no, no. So, this is where she stays in Dublin in lodgings, but the lodgings are owned by one of her friends who she also bribed to keep her activities hidden from Leeson.

Karyn: Yes. Yes, yes. Yes. Oh, that’s it. Because yeah, there’s a bit of back and forth between Kildare and Dublin. So, he kind of wants her secluded in Kildare. She’s like, “Yeah, okay, cool. It better be a really nice house,” and it is so, she’s fine. And then he has to go back to Dublin, doesn’t want to leave her there. So, he then brings her back to Dublin, puts her in, like, Ranelagh, which is like a really nice suburb so she’s not quite in the city. So, she’s a little bit removed from, like, all the temptation, as far as he can see it anyway. 

Ann: But guess what? Jackson and Lawless, they’re movable. 

Karyn: [laughs] They are willing to travel. So yeah, she is living it up in this house. So, he’s out in Kildare now, I think, working on the big house or there’s some kind of work or renovations going on on the big mansion out there. So, she’s in Ranelagh getting regular visits from Lawless and Jackson. She’s so brazen that she actually just heads over to Lawless’s house for, like, a few nights in a row because she knows he’s in Kildare and it’s fine and the servants are kind of keeping watch for her to make sure he’s not going to turn up randomly. So, she’s just having the best time. 

Ann: I have some more quotes from Peg that just happened to come up in the biography at this point, but I think they speak to her point of view. So, one of them is, ”Polygamy was not wrong in its own nature, but merely as it was a great difference between what was evil in itself and what was evil by human prohibition.” So, she’s just saying like, “We’re all just animals. Let’s just get to fuckin’. These are just human laws.”

Karyn: “Everyone chill. Just chill out and take your pants off. Come on, let’s do this thing.” [laughs]

Ann: Okay. Now, Karyn, I want to say as somebody who was recently married and congratulations…

Karyn: Thank you!

Ann: But here’s what Peg says about marriage. “I looked upon marriage merely as a human institution calculated chiefly to fix the legitimization of children and obliged parents to bring them up and provide for them to ascertain the descent of property and also to bind two persons together, even after they might be disgusted with and heartily tired of one another.”

Karyn: Yeah. I did read that, like, literally a few days after having got married. I was like, “Damn Peg. Ouch.” [laughs]

Ann: But I think Peg is like “For me, this is how I feel.” But I think she’s like, “To each their own.” Like she’s, she’s not judgmental. 

Karyn: This is the thing. She really isn’t judgmental at all. Like she’s a very chill person and there is a great bit about this house, I think as well, where what’s his face, Leeson, so he’s out in Kildare. He says he’s going to be out there for like another month. So, she’s like, “Okay, cool. I have loads more time to fuck around,” basically. But one of the times that she’s out at Lawless’s house, he actually does turn up unexpectedly, knocks on the door of the house at like five or six o’clock in the morning. So, the people who are in charge and running this house know that it’s him because Peg has described him to them, but they’ve never actually met him face to face before. So, they don’t let him in because they know she’s not there and she’s going to get in shit for this. So, they’re like, “What are you doing here? Don’t disturb a family at such an early hour.” So, they send him off. 

He’s furious, goes to his friend who had set her up in this house, who was also Peg’s friend, and is like, “I can’t believe you tricked me. Where is she? You’re all lying to me.” And the friend is like, “No, no, she’s there. They just didn’t let you in because they never met you before. So, really, they’re just following your instructions. So, they’re doing you a favour here.” He’s like, “Look, I’ll get dressed. I’ll go over with you. I’ll show you. She’s there.” So, he takes a bit of time to get dressed, sends a note to Peg in the meantime to say, “Get back to the house now. We’re going to be calling.” So, by the time they do get back to the house, knock on the door, and they’re let in Peg is like sitting down wearing, like, her little morning cap, reading a book, just like butter wouldn’t melt. Like, “Oh, hi guys. I’ve been here the whole time.” [laughs]

Ann: A legend. She’s a legend.

Karyn: She’s amazing! She’s so fast. 

Ann: But then I also appreciated the detail of how she was caught out because Leeson hired someone to follow her. And what this guy saw was Jackson and Lawless coming into her house accompanied by a band of musicians.

Karyn: Mm-hm. [laughs] Yeah. You can hear the concert and the entertainment and all of this happening from outside the house. And it’s like, he sees them all go in, does not see any of them depart. [laughs] So yeah, bad news for Peg.

Ann: Just the audacity of, like, she knows that she’s not supposed to be doing this. She knows that he’s probably following her. And she’s just like, “Could you just have an entire band come in?”

Karyn: Just, you know, it’s not suspicious. It’s fine. [laughs]

Ann: Yeah. So, he, at this point cuts ties with Peg. 

So, she turns to Buck Lawless. She chooses him over, what was the other, Jackson? You’re giving away what Buck Lawless is going to be like, Karyn.

Karyn: Sorry. [laughs] I’m sure he’s great!

Ann: Buck Lawless, what a great person! You can tell by his name.

Karyn: Come on. I was going to say, “With that name.”

Ann: So, she turned to Buck Lawless, and she spent the next few years in what her biographer called, “The happiest and most stable period of her life.” I would disagree.

Karyn: Mmm… Same, yeah, I do not agree with that. I think at this point, he’s actually in a position to take some kind of care of her because his older brother has recently died. So, he’s got a bit of an inheritance going on, a bit of property. So, he’s just, he’s in a better position now than he ever would have been before. So, he’s like, “All right, cool. You come with me.” So, she’s like, “Yes, nice one,” because he was always her favourite anyway. 

Ann: Yeah. So, over the next five years, she had five children with him for that is her way.

Karyn: That is certainly her way. [laughs] Damnit, Peg!

Ann: And I will say that her being pregnant did not get in the way of her fucking throughout her life. So, no, it’s not like a nine-month break. No, it’s no.

Karyn: No. No, no, no, no. She does not take breaks. She will just keep going. [laughs]

Ann: She’s like, this is great. I can’t get pregnant again because I’m already pregnant. 

Karyn: Yeah, exactly. It’s already happened. So, let’s go. [laughs]

Ann: So, I mean, as we have directly stated several times: Buck Lawless sucks. 

Karyn: Yes, he does.

Ann: Not to a Christopher extent, but like… who could?

Karyn: No, no. He’s not a good guy though. Yeah. 

Ann: It’s a real toxic, on-off situation. Her biographer says, “The relationship became tempestuous.”

Karyn: Yeah. Tempestuous covers a lot, doesn’t it? It’s like, do they have the occasional row? Does he beat the shit out of her? What kind of scale are we talking about here, exactly?

Ann: And it’s a bit more the latter.

Karyn: Yeah. It’s all of it. 

Ann: And like every man who’s ever been with her, he was jealous all the time. He was jealous when she was with other men, but then she was jealous of him because he would go drinking and carousing.

Karyn: Yeah. Now she says in her memoirs that she was completely faithful to him, but Julie may have other sources that suggest otherwise there. But like, as far as Peg is concerned, the way she writes it, she’s like, “He was so jealous of me, and I never had any interest in anybody else while I was with him.” She was like, “And that is so unlike me! But this is all I wanted while I was with him.” 

Ann: Yeah, and I think that’s correct. Like from what I know as well, it was he… I don’t know, everyone is always jealous about her, but in this case, the guys had no reason to be jealous. I think it’s just like, they love Peg, and they want to just keep her away from everybody. There was a guy, a former suitor called Captain Benjamin Matthews re-entered her life and I was like, “Go with him! Peg!” 

Karyn: Oh, I know. Lovely captain. Yeah. He’s like, “Please, come away with me. I’ll mind you. It’ll be great. I’ll look after you so well.” And she’s just so smitten with Lawless, she just will not even consider it. It’s not happening.

Ann: Yeah. She was just addicted to this toxic relationship with Lawless.

Karyn: Good dick is a prison, isn’t it?

Ann: [laughs] Is that the merch? [Karyn laughs] No, so far… We might come up with a better phrase, but that’s a good one.

Karyn: I don’t think I can actually claim that one. I’m pretty sure I heard it somewhere else, but it just applies very much so to Peg in this situation. [laughs]

Ann: Very much so. But just connecting this with like the revolutionary era, “Captain Benjamin Matthews had been sent to America to fight the French in the Seven Years War.” So, that’s where we are. We’re not even at the American Revolution era yet.

Karyn: We’ll get there. 

Ann: But there’s just kind of constantly wars happening in America and those soldiers all pass through Dublin. 

Karyn: Yeah. They’re all there anyway. So, like with a few extra soldiers. So yeah, Dublin is constantly just full of soldiers. 

Ann: Which is like Peg heaven. Peg’s paradise. They’re all just hunks, hunky soldiers everywhere.

Karyn: [laughs] As far as the eye can see.

Ann: This is like, again, trigger warning… Abuse, child loss. So, she and Lawless have a fight. He tied her to the bed and beat her up and she lost the child she was carrying. Also, he was running out of money, and they had to pawn their clothing and furniture, and then, one after another, their five children all died of various diseases.

Karyn: Yeah, it’s grim.

Ann: And she’s, I don’t know, 22 or something.

Karyn: Yeah, she’s still quite young.

Ann: So, this is like, you know, that paragraph carries a lot of weight in terms of the trauma. But she stayed with him. You know, like he beat her to the point that she miscarried this child, this wanted child. And she’s like, “You’re still my guy.”

Karyn: Oh my god, Peg. Seriously, please get out of there.

Ann: Oh, Buck Lawless. Eugh! Boo! So, they tried to, I found this, like, baffling, but also sweet. So, they tried to repair their relationship by going on a weekend getaway.

Karyn: Oh, they head to the races, isn’t it, in Kildare? Yeah.

Ann: Yeah, they go to watch the horse races.

Karyn: Yeah, that’s not going to do it. [chuckles]

Ann: Let’s just go on a little getaway. And this is where we first meet one of Peg’s… And this is another thing that reminds me of Sweet Valley High because she has lots of close female friends, but they’re also rivals.

Karyn: They’re frenemies, all of them, yeah.

Ann: Yeah, they’re frenemies. And so, this is a courtesan named Katherine Kitty Netterville.

Karyn: Oh, Kitty. She has a great nickname. She’s known as Kitty ‘Cut-A-Dash’, which is, like, the coolest name.

Ann: That is a great name. So, Kitty recurs in this story. Anyway, so Kitty had, like, a wealthy guy who is her protector so they’re kind of like “A double date to the horse races!” But eventually, Buck Lawless being the worst, he just wanders off and then she finds him in a brothel with another woman who was one of Peg’s friends.

Karyn: Yes. Yeah, this is the thing. Like they’re all, everyone knows each other. Dublin, I guess, as big a city as it is, whatever kind of circle she’s running in, everyone knows everyone, and everyone ends up fucking everyone. So, when she finds him with this friend of hers, it’s like, “Oh, for fuck’s sake, are you serious?” [laughs]

Ann: So, then she does a thing that she does at least one other time in the story, which is she was mad at the woman which is, you know, the internalized misogyny. So, she wrote to that woman’s male protector to fuck up that relationship to be like, “Did you know she was fucking Buck Lawless in a brothel in Kildare?” [Karyn laughs] Which also feels like Jessica Wakefield would do that.

Karyn: Very, yes.

Ann: Also, just for the record, but just assume throughout the story, Peg is pregnant.

Karyn: You can pretty much assume that.

Ann: So, she’s pregnant, she just walked in on him, like, ruining your couple’s weekend and then Lawless just like peaces out to America.

Karyn: Yeah. So, his dad, I think at this point has had enough of all of this; he’s not giving him any more money. He said, “Look, I will set you up with a job in New York, but you’re only getting paid when you turn up in New York City. I’m not giving you any money here in Ireland.” So, he’s kind of like, “Ohh, okay, yeah. I’m going to go.” So, he just bails off and leaves her a letter.

Ann: Yeah. It’s just like that episode of Sex in the City with Berger, where he leaves the Post-it being like, “I can’t, I’m sorry.”

Karyn: Basically that, yeah. It’s the Georgian equivalent of a post-it. Like” I’m going to America, bye, sorry.”

Ann: Yeah. Like she woke up, but his side of the bed was empty, and he was just gone.

Karyn: [laughs] Yeah, this fucker!

Ann: Which, I mean, I was grateful just because otherwise she never would have ended this relationship.

Karyn: This is the thing! She actually wouldn’t. It was going to take something really drastic from one of them for her to get out of this situation and the fact that he literally went to a different continent was what it took to break up this thing, yeah.

Ann: Thank God. And then she had another child, this was a girl. Does the book say the names of any of her children?

Karyn: No, none of them are named.

Ann: Yeah, just these various babies who then die.

Karyn: I know. It’s really sad.

Ann: So, I mean, and that’s in the backdrop of all of her decision-making in her life, but she’s just been going from male protector to male protector. Basically, that’s what she’s figured out she can do.

Karyn: Pretty much. Yeah, this is her kind of, this is how she’s managing to get through everything.

Ann: So, she’s now in her early thirties and she’s given birth for the eighth time. [sighs] I feel like her mother had done more by then, but… [Karyn laughs] So, yeah, I mean, is this one of the times where she’s just sort of like, really depressed for a while? Like it was when Buck Lawless left her, she had a real…

Karyn: Yeah, she’s really sad. She’s got no, like all these men are still clamouring around her because she’s still Peg, she’s still great and gorgeous and everyone fancies her all the time, but she just has no interest. She’s just still in love with Lawless, she’s heartbroken, she’s like, “Get away from me. I don’t want to know about it.” Literally, unless he’s dead, she’s not going to move on is basically how she feels at the moment. And because she’s been away from society for so long and like kept in this series of houses by these men, they’re all like, “Oh! Who’s this new hottie in town?” And it’s like, “Oh, it’s me, Peg.” So, everyone’s clamouring for her basically. But I think eventually she discovers that Lawless has written to his father and to his uncle, but not to her. So, she’s like, “Oh, what the fuck is this?” So, she’s completely betrayed and really, really angry with him so she’s like, “All right, fine. It’s time for me to move on clearly.” So, she takes up at this point, I think, with this clergyman called Mr. Lambert.

Ann: Yeah, the Reverend Thomas Lambert. Would it surprise you to know she got pregnant?

Karyn: It would not. [laughs] It would surprise me if she was not pregnant, I’ll tell you that much. [laughs] If she decided, “You know what? That’s enough babies.” [laughs]

Ann: Yeah. And I think he was an okay person. It was an okay rebound.

Karyn: He seems fine. He really liked her. But the thing is, it doesn’t take her too long to go back to her old ways of being too horny for her own good. So, while she’s with Lambert, she also starts seeing this guy, Mr. Cashel, who has no money, but she’s infatuated with him because again, she seems to really fall for the guys that have no fucking money. And it’s like, “Damn it, Peg, you need to align these things somehow.” [laughs]

Ann: Well, and this is one of the times where she was very pregnant by Lambert and Mr. Cashel was like, “That doesn’t bother me in the slightest.” And she’s like, “Me neither!”

Karyn: “Hooray! Let’s keep banging.” [laughs]

Ann: But this was at the point where she did when she became too pregnant (so probably the day before she gave birth) to fuck around, she was like, “Kitty, can you take this guy off my hands for a while?”

Karyn: Yeah. She passes off Lambert to Kitty Netterville. But in her mind, she’s like, “This is just temporary until I have this baby,” and then I think she’s possibly still fucking Cashel on the side at this point and she’s like, “I only want to fuck one guy instead of two while I’m this super pregnant. So, yeah, so let’s just get you out of the picture for a bit.” 

But then, of course, Kitty’s like, “Yeah, absolutely. Nice one. Thanks for this great dude who’s going to buy me lots of expensive stuff,” which he does. He’s running up credit in all the Dublin shops to buy things for Kitty and of course, as soon as Peg has set this up, she’s like, “Oh, damn it, I shouldn’t have done that. Look at all this good shit that Kitty’s getting. That could have been my nice stuff!” So, she’s already kind of jealous of this whole situation that she has engineered. Totally regrets all of this and in the meantime, Kitty has told Lambert that Peg was fucking around with Cashel on the side and ditched him to be with Cashel instead and all this is only temporary. So, now this has put Lambert off her forever. There’s no way he’s going to go back to her. So, Kitty has really kind of fucked her over on this one.

Ann: But then Peg tells Kitty’s protector that Kitty’s with Lambert.

Karyn: Yup. [laughs] That’s it. Mr. Kilpatrick, I think, is the guy that is actually like the main guy for Kitty. So, now that he knows this about Lambert and this is the thing when Peg tells him, she’s like, “Make sure Kitty knows this has come from me.” It’s all very “Tell Cersei, I want her to know it was me.” Like, she is claiming all of this. She’s like, “You better let her know that this is me.” So, it’s just an all-out war now between Kitty and Peg, because they’ve both lost whatever kind of male protectors they had, so now they’re just like at each other’s throats.

Ann: But then I love this next part, which is “Kitty hires a gang of ruffians.” So, whenever Peg goes to the theatre, the ruffians would be in the upper gallery shouting abuse at Peg.

Karyn: Yeah. Apparently, the audience join in so frequently that Kitty gets to the point where she doesn’t even have to pay people anymore. They just do it now when they see Peg because the plan worked so perfectly. [laughs]

Ann: This part is great. Like everything is great. But this is what I mean, listeners, like, this story is great.

Karyn: There’s shenanigans, like this is the thing. When you see all the kind of like bare facts laid out one by one and all the children dying and everything, it seems really depressing. But the thing is, she’s just so sparky and fun and silly. There’s so much good stuff in there too. I feel like her personality just rises above all the tragedy to just be like, she is fun and she’s having fun fights with people.

Ann: She does. The fights are all very fun. The ones that she, the inter-courtesan bickering. [chuckles]

Karyn: Absolutely. It’s so bitchy.

Ann: Again, that’s where I feel like, “Oh, Sweet Valley High… a little bit.”

Karyn: Yes.

Ann: Okay. So, then Peg is just like, “Fuck all this. I’m just going to run my own brothel now. I’m tired of getting male protectors as my only way of protection. I’m going to become a businesswoman.”

Karyn: Yes. Good for her. Yes. She takes the house in Drogheda Street, which is pretty much now where O’Connell Street is, which is like one of the big main streets in Dublin City. So, it’s her and her pal, Sally Hayes. And as Peg says in this house, “They cared for nobody and wanted for nothing.” So, they are living it up in this brothel. They’re having a hard time.

Ann: And her and Sally Hayes, this is like, it’s not really a frenemy situation. Like Sally Hayes is a proper pal.

Karyn: Like, she’s properly her friend for years.

Ann: And I love that the two women just decided to do this together. Because Peg has this reputation. Everyone knows Peg. Everyone loves Peg. And she’s like, “Well, let’s monetize that.”

Karyn: Yeah, this is the thing.

Ann: I did like this detail that they, at least initially, “They employed the Jewish musician Isaac Isaacson to follow them wherever they went, playing on his dulcimer.

Karyn: I love it! She’s got her own soundtrack and everything. She’s iconic. [laughs] I mean, who else as a topic of your podcast has had their own soundtrack as they’ve walked around? I mean, come on. That’s great.

Ann: No one yet. Well, and that also explains the time when she had Jackson and Lawless bring the band to come. She’s like, “I need music constantly.”

Karyn: This is it. She loves a soundtrack. She just has to be played in and out of rooms. That’s great.

Ann: It’s fabulous. But then what happens, if you’re curious, listeners, Isaac Isaacson became really popular and eventually they couldn’t afford him anymore.

Karyn: And it’s probably because of her that he became so popular because everything she does, everyone’s crazy about it. She’s a trendsetter.

Ann: I didn’t write down, but there’s the whole thing about the hoop skirt, how she really, she popularized wearing these really, really, really wide skirts because she’s like, “These look cool and I’m going to do it.” And everyone’s like, like in Mean Girls, everyone’s like, “Oh, she’s doing it? Okay, I guess we’re all going to wear hoop skirts now.”

Karyn: It’s exactly that. She brings them back from London for her and Sally, and they’re walking around just turning heads all around the city and all the, like, fabric shops are like, “Oh my god, fucking nice one. These skirts are ginormous, they’re going to take so much fabric to make. We are going to make so much money.” So, this trend suits everybody; she’s having a great time, they’re having a great time. Everyone’s delighted.

Ann: The way that she, you know, as the OG influencer, the way that she brought money into the businesses of Dublin was admirable. And that’s why later on, they stand up for her.

Karyn: It very much stands to her side. Yeah, yeah.

Ann: So, by now it’s 1778, the American Revolution is happening. She hasn’t heard from Lawless in four years in America. And then, God damn it, he shows up in Cork and he wants to see her.

Karyn: This fucking guy. [Ann groans] Yeah, at first, she doesn’t want to go, this is the thing. But her friends talk her into it. Sally’s kind of like, “Well, what if he’s come back with loads of money and he might give you some of it if you go see him?” And it’s like, “Oh, she’s got a point,” but unfortunately, he doesn’t. But it does, it does kind of make Peg go, “Yeah, fuck it. All right, let’s go to Cork and go see him.”

Ann: And she gets pregnant.

Karyn: [laughs] Peg! [laughs] Honestly, drink every time Peg’s pregnant.

Ann: Or don’t. [Karyn laughs] So, they just like hang out together in Cork and then they’re like, “Okay, let’s all go back to Dublin. We’re like hanging out.” And then… and then this is one of the things I was– Okay, it’s a terrible story, yes. The name of this gang makes me laugh every time… [Karyn chuckles] Can you reveal the name of the gang, Karyn?

Karyn: Okay, so there’s a lot of gangs. I say, you know, there’s like gentlemen’s clubs will say, which are basically glorified gangs in Dublin at this time. And these ones are known as the Pinking Dandies.

Ann: And Peg calls them, The Pinking Dindies.

Karyn: Pinking Dindies, yes. Yeah. And the thing about “pinking,” like pinking means stabbing someone.

Ann: Oh!

Karyn: Yes, this is why this is why they got their name. So, they had carried swords and they would pink people as they passed them in the street, which would mean just like a light stabbing. So, like you’re drawing a tiny bit of blood, you’ve pinked someone. So, that was the pinking of it all. But like as an out-of-context name, Pinking Dandies just sounds like the fruitiest little bunch of guys that are not going to hurt anyone. [laughs]

Ann: It sounds like maybe a drag show version of The Peaky Blinders.

Karyn: Oh my God, yes it does! [laughs]

Ann: Or like, yeah, it’s kind of like the Peaky Blinders’ younger gay brothers. So, the first time I came across the name, I was just like, “What? The what?”

Karyn: The who now? [laughs]

Ann: It is, yeah, the two names I was most excited. They are both horrible situations, but they’re great names; Buck Lawless and the Pinking Dandies.

Karyn: Yeah, that’s it. You see, there’s a lot of good names in Georgian Dublin. There’s that kind of mix of having, like, English names and then Irish surnames and it just, it lends itself to a lot of really fucking cool names.

Ann: Okay. And now we’re going to explain what they do, but I want to explain that the leader of the Pinking Dandies is Richard Crosbie, Ireland’s first man to fly in a balloon.

Karyn: Oh, fucking yay. [laughs]

Ann: [laughs] There’s a statue of him, I read.

Karyn: There is! In Ranelagh, where he had his first ascent in the balloon. And you look at his Wikipedia and it’s all like, “Oh, his youthful curiosity. He’s Ireland’s first airman, isn’t he great?” And it’s like, “Oh, right, no mention about this little fucking episode in his history, though, is there?” So, it’s all just like, “God, isn’t he great, Richard Crosbie, what an inventor, what a fucking innovator.” It’s like, what a piece of shit.

Ann: Yeah, yeah. So, we need to myth-bust that for all the Irish aeronautical fans.

Karyn: Please.

Ann: So, the Pinking Dandies, despite their very silly name, which I now know is a scary name.

Karyn: But it’s actually kind of stabby.

Ann: But is still funny. Their vibe is the gang from Clockwork Orange. They’re just like rich guys who just go around just like beating and stabbing people with impunity because they’re so rich and well-connected.

Karyn: Yeah, yeah. And that was kind of the vibe of a lot of these kind of Dublin clubs and gangs, possibly not to the extent of these guys. But there were a lot of clubs around at the time that were just getting hammered and terrorizing people and that was their deal, basically.

Ann: That’s what they did. It’s like, I don’t know a lot about gangs today. Well, I live in Saskatchewan, there are gangs here. I think there are everywhere. But it seems like the gangs, they steal things, and they sell drugs and they, like, that’s what they’re doing. But this gang was just wandering around terrorizing anyone. It’s not just like the gang’s enemies. They’re just like breaking into random houses and just like it’s…

Karyn: Yeah, they’re just causing shit for everybody, for whoever. They just don’t care. They’re rich enough that it doesn’t matter, and their dads are going to be able to get them out of whatever trouble they end up in eventually.

Ann: Yeah, so exactly the vibe of Clockwork Orange. And so, what they did, so Peg, recall she is pregnant. Recall she has this daughter that she had a bit ago.

Karyn: Oh, yeah, this is the daughter she had with Lawless, I think.

Ann: No, she’s pregnant by Lawless. It’s the daughter she had with the Reverend.

Karyn: Sorry, Lambert, you’re right. Yeah, I’m getting my L’s mixed up.

Ann: Yeah, to be fair… [both chuckle] She’s been pregnant a lot and we don’t know any of the children’s names, so it’s easy to conflate them. So, she’s just hanging out in her brothel, and they just broke in and I don’t know… I don’t want to tell the story. You probably don’t want to either. But do you want to just kind of… highlights version?

Karyn: Yeah, they break into the house. She doesn’t want to let them in, which is why they get super violent, super quickly. They just smash all the windows and come in that way instead. They break all the furniture, turn the place upside down. They say they’re looking for Lawless but he’s not there. So, they just completely wreck the place. They beat up Peg so badly that she does lose the child that she’s carrying and in the kind of horrible aftermath and trauma of seeing all this, the little girl that she had with Lambert does actually die and I think she was only four at that stage in just the horrible aftermath of this terrible event. 

There are loads of witnesses to this crime as well because it’s a huge chaotic scene that’s happening in this house on a busy street. So, all her neighbours, like the whole neighbourhood is out there kind of going, “Oh my god, what’s happening?” I think they end up calling in the militia to stop these guys. And it’s just this horrific night of just this savage attack on Peg and her house. It’s really, really horrible.

Ann: And it’s led by Irish hero, Richard Crosbie.

Karyn: Richard Crosbie, he was the leader of this gang. So yeah, this fucking guy. Yeah.

Ann: I know. The fact that he has a statue.

Karyn: It’s like, fucking knock that shit down and put Peg up instead. Honestly, like, she should have a statue. [chuckles]

Ann: I support that and people of Ireland…

Karyn: I’m going to do some quick vandalism. I’ll be right back. [laughs]

Ann: Okay, yeah. And we’re back.

Karyn: [laughs] I knocked it down! [laughs]

Ann: So, the fact that she was pregnant, and she lost the child, that makes this… So, she filed suit against them. She took this to court, which is a thing she will do to a lot of people in a lot of situations and that’s part of why the biographer, Julie Peakman, was able to verify some times and dates and things because of the court records. But anyway, because the unborn child had died, meant this was a murder charge or this could be a murder charge as well as just like damage to property and whatever. Eventually, she ended up dropping that charge for legal reasons, I don’t know.

Karyn: Yeah, I think his family are obviously really well-connected. His brother was possibly a baronet or something. So, they’re getting involved. They’re trying to convince her to drop the murder charge at least, which she does. And it’s like, you know, when you’re reading all this, I’m like, “Well, I want him dead. So, why has she done this?” But I guess she’s trying to pull off this balancing act of keeping the city on side and if she actually does get, like, this like fucking guy hanged, is that going to turn people against her? I guess she’s having to try and play the odds to a certain amount here as well. And I don’t know, I guess some self-preservation is possibly kicking in here too for her.

Ann: Well, and I think she throughout her life, she’s had to sort of balance out like how can she still thrive as best as possible and keep these connections she needs to maintain? But also show like, “You don’t fuck with me.”

Karyn: Exactly. Yeah, it’s a tricky, tricky line to maintain.

Ann: So, he ended up being fined. He was confined to jail, freed pretty quickly, but eventually, he paid her for the property damage. The other Pinking Dindies all just kind of like left town because they didn’t want to be charged and they were never put on trial. So, just him.

Karyn: Yeah. And the thing is, in later years, she does actually, like when he’s doing his big fucking balloon ascent in Ranelagh, she’s there and shakes hands with him before he goes up in the air. So. like she’s in the papers and it’s this whole thing. So, I guess she did not forgive him, but she was seen in public with him after the fact. So, you know, that she’s kind of like, “Oh, you know, we’re all fine now,” but it’s all to keep her name circulating too, I suppose, and get her being mentioned and stuff. So, she’s still trying to, you know, work things to her advantage as well.

Ann: Well, it’s true and I think you’re absolutely right that part of that would be to keep her name in the papers. Like she was very famous, and she needed to maintain– So, if it’s like, “Oh, an Irish person is doing something interesting, like I’ll just go be there also.”

Karyn: Yeah, yeah, exactly. “Despite the terrible things that he’s done, it’s worth it for me to get my name in this paper and to be mentioned, yeah.”

Ann: Well, that’s the thing too, like her life… Reading it like if it was a novel or a book or a movie, you’d be like, “Oh, here’s what I want her to do.” But it’s like, no, she needs to continue living in this city.

Karyn: This is the thing, yeah. It’s a tricky time to be a woman full stop. So, I mean, she’s having to deal with a lot.

Ann: Yeah. So, her decisions, that’s where I want that, like, final scene of Showgirls moment where she just like kicks the shit out of him.

Karyn: Yeah, so badly.

Ann: But that’s not, you know, that’s not what she’s able to do.

Karyn: It wasn’t going to be feasible.


So, I mentioned it in part one, and I do just want to reiterate what the references were that both Karyn and I used for this episode. And I mean, there’s going to be Part Three, stay tuned. This is another cliffhanger because the story… So much happens in it, I really feel like it’s necessary to sort of take it piece by piece and just kind of be like, “She did what to who?” And like, “How many children did she have? With who?” Like, anyway, so we’re going to have Part Three next week. 

But thank goodness, Peg herself wrote her memoirs. That was Karyn’s… So, she read the actual memoirs, The Memoirs of Mrs. Margaret Leeson by Peg Plunkett AKA Mrs. Leeson. I read a recent book that’s called Peg Plunkett: Memoirs of a Whore, “Memoirs of a Whooore” by Julie Peakman, which takes the memoir and kind of adds more context to it by doing her own research as well. So, I think it actually worked out perfectly. We didn’t plan that but each of us had read this in a different way. So, I had some details she didn’t have, she had some details I didn’t have. Both of these both of these works are fantastic, and I love… There’s something about a chaos person who then wrote a book about their own life. Like this is Lola Montez energy; it’s Catalina de Erauso energy. The writing of a memoir is a really special thing.

So, next week, stay tuned for what happens, Part Three of this ongoing saga of just… I want to say also… So, Nicola Coughlin, another Irish icon, came out with her song just at the end of June, “Shoes… More Shoes,” and I was like, that’s such a Peg Plunkett vibe; just Irish, tits-out, amazing, sensual dance. That’s the vibe of this song. I think I had said before that I was thinking of it, when I was preparing, reading the episode, I was listening to a lot of Sabina Carpenter’s song “Espresso.” For Part One, you might be like, “Ann, that’s a tragic story.” But Part Two, you see what I mean. Like everyone wants to fuck Peg Plunkett, she’s just dancing around, having the time of her life, and I think it’s a real “Shoes… No Shoes” vibe is what we’ve moved into from “Espresso” is like a young Peg, “Shoes… More Shoes” is like she’s like finding herself a bit more.

Anyway, next week, Part Three. Karyn is here again, we’re going to wrap it all up. And if you want to hear more of me and Karyn talking about things that are, as much as we tried to stay on topic in this episode, I was able to do that personally because I knew that we were going to record another special episode. So, all Patreon members who are at the $5 per month or more level are able to hear, I did a recording of The After Show with Karyn Moynihan where we talk about Sweet Valley High, we talk about just some more stuff about Irish history, like just every burning question I had for her, which you can tell through these episodes, I’m such a fan of her and her podcast Double Love, and I was so happy to get to talk about this amazing story with her. But anyway, you can get more Ann and Karyn, and if you pledge $5 or more a month, you can hear that special After Show we did. 

Also, if you join the Patreon at $1 or more a month, you get early, ad-free access to all the episodes. So, if you’re just like, I can’t wait to hear Peg, Part Three, you get that a few days early if you join for $1 a month. And if you join the Patreon for free, that’s an option, I’m posting some more information there, some pictures of some of the places that we talk about in this episode. That’s where I’m doing more of my sharing, I’m doing stuff on Instagram as well. Instagram, we’re @VulgarHistoryPod. I’m always there, never going to not be there. But I will say that what I like about posting stuff at Patreon so that the paid members can see it and the free members can see it is just like, I know you see it because you get a notification when I post something. On Instagram, it’s kind of random who sees what.

Anyway, also on Patreon, if you join there at the $5 a month or more level, you get access to other episodes of The After Show, as well as episodes of Vulgarpiece Theatre, where I talk about costume dramas from history. And also, So This Asshole episodes where I didn’t do one about Peg’s brother Christopher, because we’ve talked about him enough, frankly, and I want to just never think about him again in my life. 

I also want to mention I have a Substack and also Karyn has a Substack. So, if you want to keep up with both of us, in sort of a blog-adjacent type way. So, my Substack is and hers, I’m just double-checking, I think it’s Part-Time Gas Bitch. Let me just make sure. She has posted so many good things. A lot of them, she wrote a thing about, like, her live reaction to the most seasoned, speaking of Nicola Coughlan, to series three of Bridgerton. She did a review of Cruel Intentions. She watched Irish Wish, the Lindsay Lohan Ireland-set movie. Anyway, she did a review of J. Lo’s movie. So yeah, it’s 

If you want to keep up with Karyn as well, her podcast is Double Love: The Sweet Valley High Podcast, which is near and dear to my heart and like as we discussed here, just sort of like somehow, well, if not somehow, I have forced my way into that ecosystem and now we’re sort of podcast cousins, I guess. So, you should definitely listen to Double Love: The Sweet Valley High Podcast. They have a huge archive; they’re up to a book, like, 100 and something. They have at least one episode for each Sweet Valley High book. Even if you haven’t read the Sweet Valley High books, I think you hear how much fun Karyn is. Her co-host Anna is equally as fun, and you should listen to that as well.

And we, Vulgar History, have a brand partner, Common Era Jewellery. Common Era Jewellery is a small business. It is a woman-owned business that makes beautiful jewellery themselves. It’s not sent off to some factory somewhere for somebody else to do it. This is why the prices are what the prices are, because you’re buying quality, you’re buying something that’s handmade by a small woman-owned business. Their pieces are made entirely in New York City. And so, everyone involved has healthcare and good wages. But the main thing, the reason why they were brought to my attention by you, actually, members of the Tits Out Brigade, saw the ads and they’re like, “This makes me think of you,” I was like, “This makes me think of me too!” The designs that Torie, the designer, does, they’re all about “Difficult Women” from history. So, it’s people we’ve talked about on the podcast. So, Hatshepsut is there, Boudica, Cleopatra, Agrippina. They’re mostly from classical history or ancient history slash classical mythology. So, Medusa is there, Aphrodite is there, Sappho is there, and then also Anne Boleyn is there, because why not? 

Basically, I love this jewelry. I love this company. Also, I really feel for Torie because she posts on her Instagram, I think it’s just @CommonEra on Instagram, sometimes people get really mad when they see that she’s calling the collection “Difficult Women,” people think that she’s insulting them or something where it’s like, no, we’re celebrating complex women from history. Anyway, their pieces are available in solid gold as well as in more affordable gold vermeil. Vulgar History listeners always get 15% off all items from Common Era by going to or using code ‘VULGAR’ at checkout.

If you want to get Vulgar History merchandise, including the several designs by Miss Karyn Moynihan, it’s available at, or if you’re outside the US, you can also shop at As I said last week, and I’ll just remind you again this week, we are working on a Peg Plunkett design. I’m going to announce what it is next week. So, if you want to get your carts ready with other Vulgar History merch, and then I’m going to announce what the Peg Plunkett design is next week, and then we can all just run around like our favourite horny, chaos, slutty Irish lady and just have musicians playing wherever we go, just having the best of times.

You can get in touch with me if you have need of getting in touch with me, if you go to, there’s a contact form there. I also check my DMs on Instagram where I am @VulgarHistoryPod.

Next week, Peg Plunkett, Part Three, can’t wait to talk about this even more with all of you. And until next time, keep your pants on and your tits out.

Vulgar History is hosted, written, and researched by Ann Foster, that’s me! The editor is Cristina Lumague. Theme music is by the Severn Duo. The Vulgar History show image is by Deborah Wong. Transcripts are written by Aveline Malek. Find transcripts of recent episodes at

Transcribed by Aveline Malek at


Peg Plunkett: Memoirs of a Whore by Julie Peakman

Memoirs of Mrs. Margaret Leeson by Peg Plunkett aka Mrs. Leeson

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