Anne Devlin

Devlin, Anne, niece of Michael Dwyer, and the faithful servant of Robert Emmet, was born about 1778.

She was in Emmet’s service at his residence in Butterfield-lane, Rathfarnham, and assisted him in his plans.

After his failure on 23rd July 1803, and when he was in hiding in the Dublin mountains, she was the messenger between him and his friends in Dublin.

When arrested, she resolutely refused to inform the military as to his whereabouts, although subjected to torture and indignity. She suffered more than two years’ imprisonment.

Dr. Madden gives an interesting account of his visit with her, in 1843, to the scene of her service with Emmet forty years previously. He says:

“The extraordinary sufferings endured, and the courage and fidelity displayed by this young woman, have few parallels even in the history of those times. … This noble creature preserved through all her sufferings, and through forty subsequent years, the same devoted feelings of attachment to that being and his memory which she had exhibited under the torture in her solitary cell in Kilmainham Gaol. … Will the prestige of the heroine fade away when it is told that [in her latter days] she was a common washerwoman, living in a miserable hovel, utterly unnoticed and unknown, except among the poor of her own class?”

She died in Dublin in September 1851, aged about 73, and was interred at Glasnevin, where a monument, erected through the exertions of Dr. Madden, marks her resting-place.


331. United Irishmen, their Lives and Times: Robert R. Madden, M.D. 4 vols. London, 1858-’60.