Who is the greatest Irish person in history? You may be surprised…

Last year a poll was conducted in County Wicklow asked people who they feel is absolutely the greatest person in Ireland’s long history. The result: Anne Devlin. Anne who? Yes, Anne Devlin. She was a housekeeper in the employ of Robert Emmet, the great Irish revolutionary, in the 1800’s. Her real job, however, was to give a make Emmet’s home seem like a normal family abode when it was, in fact, a full-time meeting place for anti-British activists planning the famous uprising of 1803. Devlin was ultimately arrested by the British, tortured and thrown, along with her entire family, into Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin, a prison that was so squalid that seven of her relatives died there. Emmet himself urged her to confess in order to secure her release, but she refused to give over the names of any Irish insurgents. After three years in solitary confinement, she was released from prison (where she had seen Emmet beheaded), only to die in extreme poverty. Devlin was herself from County Wicklow, which may explain her surprising status among the respondents of this particular poll.


2 responses to “Who is the greatest Irish person in history? You may be surprised…

  1. Emmets house was in Rathfarnham.
    There are a number of roads there named after Anne Devlin. Anne Devlin Drive, Park and Road are all situated off Ballyroan road close to where Emmet lived.
    There is also a statue of her in Rathfarnham Village.

  2. I just posted a Rathfarnham Heritage Map (pat of an election leaflet!!) which shows Butterfield House which was said to be one of Emmetts abodes in the Rathfarnham area.

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