Remembering Anne Devlin – Irish Revolutionaries

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Remembering Anne Devlin

Remembering Anne Devlin

Born in 1780 in Cronebeg, a town near Aughrim, Co. Wicklow to a staunchly Republican family related to Wicklow rebels Michael Dwyer & Hugh Vesty Byrne.

Her family then moved to a farm in Corballis near Rathdrum Co Wicklow, where she met Miss Leonard and decided to be her housekeeper in Inchicore in Dublin city.

During the 1798 rebellion, her family home was often raided and some of her family were imprisoned, when the rebellion ended her father was imprisoned in Wicklow Gaol until 1800, when he was released the family moved to Rathfarnham in County Dublin, where they met Robert Emmet.

Anne Devlin helped Emmet plan the 1803 rebellion and as cover pretended to be his housekeeper. Her main job was to organise the delivery of Robert's messages by hand all around the city. As a result, she knew the names of more than fifty insurgents spread across Dublin.

With the rebellion defeated Robert Emmet's house was raided by the British Army, Anne and her eight-year-old sister were interrogated by the soldiers which included stabbing Anne Devlin with bayonets, but she refused to talk.

Emmet had been in hiding in the Wicklow mountains but he wanted to move back to Dublin so Devlin helped him move to a house in Harold's Cross under an assumed name, she also passed messages to his comrades and his fiancee Sarah Curran.

A Loyalist neighbour of the Devlins reported seeing Robert Emmet at their home so Devlin was arrested by Major Sirr, Dublin's Chief of Police and brought to Dublin Castle, interrogated and offered bribes to inform on Robert Emmet and his comrades, but she refused.

Devlin was sent to Kilmainham Gaol where Emmet was also been held, Emmet begged her to tell the authorities what they wanted to know but again she refused despite been savagely tortured by the then governor of the Gaol, Dr Edward Trevor.

Devlin was kept in solitary confinement for 2 and half years in a small dark cell in awful conditions, her family were also arrested and sent to the Gaol which resulted in the death of her nine-year-old brother from sheer neglect in the Gaol.

Devlin was eventually released in 1806, and later married William Campbell in 1811, having four children, but her ordeal was not over. The crown forces harassed her to the extent that her comrades & friends deserted her. When her husband died in 1845 Anne used whatever money she had to buy a burial plot for him in Glasnevin.

In 1851 the historian Richard Madden tracked her down to a miserable hovel near the Coombe in Dublin, where she lived in abject poverty, too sick to work and was almost blind. He gave her what little financial help he could afford. While he was out of the country, she died on September 18th, 1851. Upon his return, he had her body re-interred in Glasnevin Cemetery.

Anne Devlin Was A True Irish Revolutionary

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