Anne Devlin

Pete St. John
Language: English

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The Devlin family, to which Anne Devlin was born in 1780, maintained close relations with noted nationalists such as Michael Dwyer, who was Anne's uncle, and the O'Tooles and the O'Byrnes. Due to this relations the military drew a bead on the Devlin's after the Rebellion of 1798. Anne's father, even though his involvement in the rising has yet to be established, was imprisoned in Wicklow Gaol and his family was frequently raided on account of Dwyer and O'Byrne.

After being released after two years imprisonment Devlin decided to leave their small farmstead in Cronbeg near Rathdrum, County Wicklow, to take up resident at Butterfield Lane in Rathfarnham in County Dublin.
Early 1803 their neighbourhood welcomed a new resident who introduced himself as Mr Ellis. In fact Mr Ellis was the alias Robert Emmet. A close friendship emerged between the Devlin's and Robert Emmet and when Emmet asked round for a housekeeper Anne was pushed forward. Months before the Rebellion of 1803 Anne Devlin moved in with Emmet and assumed his name.

The Rebellion of 1803, or Emmet Rebellion, ended in an utter failure. Robert Emmet managed to escape from Dublin and sought shelter in the Wicklow Mountains. The authorities, anxious to find out Emmets hiding place, questioned and tortured Anne Devlin and her family in the months that followed. Anne's eight year old brother, allegedly covered with smallpox at the time of his arrest, succumbed to the cruel treatment he was submitted to.
On 29 August 1803 a warrant for high treason was out against Anne Devlin. In anticipation of the lawsuit, and the inevitable death sentence, Anne was transferred to Kilmainham Goal where she found out that Robert Emmet already was arrested. To break her spirit Anne Devlin was forced to witness the execution of Robert Emmet on 20 September 1803.
The authorities still weren't satisfied. In their hunt for Emmet's associates Anne passed through terrible physical and mental torture until released from prison in 1806.

Anne Devlin died in dire poverty on 16 September 1851.
In Dublin town they sing of a brave Wicklow woman
Of her troubles and her times in cruel Kilmainham Jail
All the way from Butterfield Lane Anne Devlin was her name
A friend to Robert Emmett she served his cause in vain

Lo lie lo Liffey keep on flowin'
And it's lo lie lo Anne your legend's growin'

Not torture or the bribe could sway Anne Devlin's purpose
Three years of lonely hell in solitary shame
How proud Emmett met his fate on the scaffold of the tyrant
She saw her family passin' like poor lilies in the storm

Lo lie lo Liffey keep on flowin'
And it's lo lie lo Anne your legend's growin'

In 1851 Anne Devlin met her maker
But her story's with us still as a lesson for the wise
Not poverty or fear can kill the heart of freedom
Anne Devlin was a servant to the spirit of our land

Lo lie lo Liffey keep on flowin'
And it's lo lie lo Anne your legend's growin'

Contributed by DonQuijote82 - 2011/4/8 - 11:43

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