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15th Annual Anne Devlin Commemoration

On Sunday 22 September the 15th Annual Anne Devlin Commemoration took place, with a brief eulogy by Mícheál Ó Doibhilín after 12.00 noon mass in St. Catherine’s Catholic Church, Meath Street.

The weather did not bode well for the afternoon’s ceremony, however, with heavy rain and strong winds but, by 2.30 pm all was sunshine again and the ceremony passed off in glorious weather – the 15th successive year without rain!

The ceremony began at 3.00 pm at the graveside of Anne Devlin in Glasnevin Cemetery, with a colour party from The Dublin Brigade, Irish Volunteers, History & Re-enactment Group as a mark of respect and honour.

Mícheál Ó Doibhilín opened the proceedings by welcoming everyone, and introducing the Guest of Honour, Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Paul McCauliffe. The Lord Mayor spoke passionately about Anne, the hardship of her life and the importance of remembering her before laying a wreath on behalf of the people of Dublin. Next, Mícheál introduced the special guest, author and columnist Martina Devlin, who spoke about the influence of Anne Devlin on her as a young girl growing up on in County Tyrone, before laying a wreath on the grave. But, as she did so, she invited Millie McCauliffe, the Lord Mayor’s daughter, to help her.

Mícheál thanked both speakers before speaking about Anne and her loyal husband William Campbell. He also gave an update on the campaign to reunite William and Anne in the one grave. He has written to John Green, CEO of Glasnevin Trust, seeking permission to move William, and is 

 hopeful of a favourable reply soon. He explained that Frank Callery was unable to attend this year to sing his wonderful tribute “Not every hero waves a flag”, but promised that he would try to attend again next year.

Mícheál called on Liz Gillis, Secretary of Cuimhní Anne Devlin (organisers of the commemoration) to lay a wreath on their behalf. He then laid one on his own, personal behalf and asked Millie McAuliffe to lay one donated by Glasnevin Cemetery Florists, after which others then laid flowers on the grave, including Kevin Devlin and his wife.

Many retired to the Cemetery Café for coffee/tea and conversation until it was time to go home.

Next year’s commemoration will be on Sunday 20th of September, at 12.00 noon mass in St. Catherine’s of Meath Street, and at 3.00 pm at Anne’s grave in Glasnevin. Of course, it is our hope that by then it will be the grave of Anne and her husband William, reunited after 167 years.

(Below, L to R)  Lord Mayor of Dublin Cllr. Paul McCauliffe; Author & Columnist Martina Devlin; Martina Devlin and Millie McCauliffe; Mícheál Ó Doibhilín
Photos: David Murphy
Photos below: Kevin Devlin
Lord Mayor attended 2018 Commemoration
This year's commemoration was held on Sunday September 2018.
   We began as always with 12.00 noon mass in St. Catherine's Church, Meath Street, after which a brief eulogy was delivered by Mícheál Ó Doibhilín.
   Later, at 3.00pm, we assembled at Anne Devlin's grave in Glasnevin Cemetery.
   The commemoration began with a rendition of his beautiful musical tribute to Anne Devlin - "Not Every Hero Waves A Flag" - by Frank Callery, accompanied on the flute by Jenny Ní Dhoibhilín.
   This year we were honoured that Lord Mayor of Dublin Cllr Nial Ring attended as guest of honour and delivered the keynote graveside oration in addition to laying the first floral tribute on her grave.
   George McCullough, CEO Glasnevin Trust, spoke next, outlining the circumstances of Anne Devlin's interrment and re-interrment, before  Mícheál Ó Doibhilín replied to the Lord Mayor's address, after which Liz Gillis will laid a floral tribute on behalf of Cuimhní Anne Devlin, and Jenny Ní Dhoibhilín will laid another on behalf of Kilmainham Tales Teo., followed by others who wished to follow suit.
   The ceremony concluded with Frank Callery reprising his song, and throughout the ceremony there was an Honour Guard by Terry Crosbie and friends.
Wonderful Commemoration 2017
This year's commemoration of Anne Devlin was a huge success. 

Our biggest crowd to date (with many new and old friends), a great guest speaker, a terrific new song, a guard of honour of pikemen, coupled with incredibly good weather - all combined to ensure that a wonderful lady and Irish hero was remembered as she should be.

Our thanks go first to the priests of St. Catherine's Church in Meath Street for facilitating us in the initial part of our ceremonies.

A big thanks must go to Glasnevin Cemetery and the staff there for facilitating us so willingly and well. 
Historian and author Helen Litton was the Guest Speaker and spoke well and a length of Anne before laying the Commemorative Wreath on her grace.

Frank Callery sang the song he had composed specially for Anne, and received rapturous applause before also laying a wreath. 

Cuimhní Anne Devlin Secretary Liz Gillis laid a wreath from the Society, Society Chairperson Mícheál 
Ó Doibhilín also paid tribute to Anne and chaired the proceedings. 

Light refreshments in the Cafe allowed us to chat and get to know one another afterwards.

To view the photos of this great day click here:

On September 18, 166 years ago, Anne Devlin was buried, after 48 years’ struggle against the mightiest empire in the world. 

She died proud but in agony, starving, in a garret flat devoid of possessions long ago sold to the pawn shop, angry, alone
… and forgotten.

because she had been abandoned by those she was protecting, those involved in Robert Emmet’s failed 1803 Rebellion.

because she was widowed, ill, unable to work and unsupported by the so-called Republicans she protected.

In agony,
because she was still suffering – after 45 years – the effects of her time as a “guest of the nation” in Kilmainham Gaol, and the evil attention of Dr. Edward Trevor.

because the Administration deemed her so dangerous a policeman followed her everywhere, every day of her life, from the day she was released from prison so that she could not collude with anyone, and those who might speak to her were marked as ‘Trouble’ and interrogated.

because only she was brave enough to resist the British Empire and refuse its bribes and ignore its tortures.

because she spent her last money honouring her faithful husband by buying him a grave in Glasnevin and, unable to work due to rheumatism and erysipelas, she had pawned every stick of furniture, every rag, for a few crumbs of bread.

because no-one wanted to be seen to be associated with her.

because she stood, alone, against the British administration and preserved the spinal chord of Irish Nationalism through the Young Irelanders, the Fenians, up to the men and women of 1916 and beyond, and the ultimate overthrow of the invader on the bulk of this island.

Anne was buried in a pauper’s coffin in an unmarked grave in Glasnevin. Eventually, the historian RR Madden raised a headstone and unwittingly committed the final insult when he described Anne Devlin as Robert Emmet’s “faithful servant”, which she was not. No, she was Emmet’s co-conspirator and the proud bearer of his ideals until her death. She was Ireland’s first female prisoner … and today has been forgotten by almost everyone.

On Sunday, September 24th, we marked her life as we have done for the previous 12 years, first at 12 noon mass in St. Catherine’s Church, Meath Street (where she was married and her children were baptised) and then, at 3.00 pm, at her graveside in Glasnevin, where many joined with us to remember and honour one of our greatest.

Anne Devlin Annual Commemoration 2016
The Annual Anne Devlin Commemoration was held this year on Sunday September 25th, one week after the 165th Anniversary of her death in 1851.

    The Commemoration followed the usual format, with mass at 12 noon in St. Catherine's Church, Meath Street, Dublin 1, followed by a graveside oration and wreath laying at Anne's grave in Glasnevin Cemetery at 3 pm.
    This year, for the first time, we were granted permission by the Cemetery management to make this a formal occasion, and they actively supported us in this, including the supply of sound equipment for the oration. 

     As this is the 165th anniversary of Anne's death in 1851 (she died on September 18th) we made a special request to as many as possible to attend either or both parts of the ceremony, and were particularly pleased to see a crowded church for the midday mass, and the great round of applause for this brave woman that followed Mícheál Ó Doibhilín's address.

    We were delighted to have, as our first guest speaker at the graveside, Nuala Perry of Belfast's Anne Devlin Society, a society specifically established and named in honour of Anne. Nuala, as part of her address, read a passage from the introduction to "In the Footsteps of Anne" - a book by Republican women ex-prisoners, which noted the influence of Anne's memory on these women, and their admiration for her suffering for a free Ireland. 

    A new group has been established - Cuimhní Anne Devlin - to "remember Anne through Research, Publication, Education and Commemoration" and it is this group that organised the special service for Anne Devlin this year and will do so into the future.
 Cuimhní is Irish for Remember, Consider, Think and Remind and is used to define the purpose of the group - to co-ordinate ongoing research, public talks, publications, research etc. to further consolidate the memory of Anne Devlin as one of Ireland's most important heroes.
    Further details can be obtained on the Cuimhní Anne Devlin Facebook page here and other events will be posted on this page also.
On Thursday September 8th Mícheál Ó Doibhilín gave a talk on Anne Devlin - "The Pawn and the Castle" - in the Presbyterian Church, Lucan at 8.00 pm. The large audience enjoyed the presentation thoroughly, and there was a lively Q&A afterwards.
Mícheál is willing to give this talk to any interested group anywhere. Simply contact us for further information here
Order NOW

To commemorate the life of Anne Devlin, one of our greatest heroes and first female political prisoner, Cuimhní Anne Devlin commissioned this beautiful plaque from Artist Joram (“Jerome”) Drori and cast by him in his workshop and bronze finished in a limited edition of just 71 - one for each year of her life.

Now you can be the proud owner of this limited edition tribute to a great Irish patriot. Click here for further details.

Lord Mayor's support for Reinterment of William Campbell
We are delighted to announce that Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr. Paul McCauliffe, has thrown his weight behinfd our campaign to have William Campbell, husband of Anne Devlin, moved from the grave he now occupies to his wife's. 

William is buried in a grave purchased by Anne on his death, and she was interred there when she died in 1851. Howver, the historian RR Madden moved Anne to a grave he had purchased in 1852, leaving her husband behind.

We have been campaigning under the broad framework of Cuimhní Anne Devlin to have this wrong righted for the past  15 years, and are delighted to announce this latest supporter of our campaign.

Following his excellent speech at our 2019 Annual Anne Devlin Commemoration, Lord Mayor McCauliffe announced his support for the reinterrment of William Campbell and we are delighted to have the support of the first citizen of Dublin for our campaign.

Some weeks ago, in the latest phase of our campaign, we wrote to John Green, CEO of Glasnevin Trust, asking for permission to move William's remains to his wife's grave, and Lord Mayor mcCauliffe has written in support of our request.

This is the second sitting Lord Mayor to support our campaign (Lord Mayor Cllr. Nial Ring announced his support last year, 2018) and we trust that such prominent backing will achieve the result we have so far failed to achieve alone and that, soon, Anne Devlin will be reunited with her husband William Campbell, as she wished.

William Campbell Reinterment

(Above) The grave in Glasnevin from which Anne Devlin Campbell was illegally removed in 1852. Her husband, William Campbell, remains buried alone there.
On March 11, 1852, the noted United Irishmen's biographer and historian R.R. Madden entered Glasnevin Cemetery and, with some of her relations and friends, dug up the body of Anne Devlin and moved it to another gravesite nearby. 

They did this to remove Anne from a pauper’s grave, believing that such an Irish patriot should not be in one.

Unfortunately, through a misunderstanding, they left Anne’s husband William Campbell behind in the original grave. 
The couple had been buried in the same grave because it was not a pauper’s grave – Anne had purchased it in 1846 on the death of her beloved husband so that they both be interred there, for she believed – and proclaimed – that friends should be buried together.

This act by Dr. Madden and others, while carried out with the best of in
tentions, was a crime on a couple of levels. 

First, it was an act of grave-robbing to remove Anne’s body illegally from a grave;

Second, it was a crime against one of our greatest heroes, that her ultimate wish – to be buried with her husband – should be frustrated.

For 15 years we have sought to have this crime redressed. As William lies in a forgotten, unmarked grave (see photo), we have desired that he be moved to Anne’s one which is marked by a magnificent Celtic cross provided by the board of Glasnevin cemetery.

There were many obstacles to overcome but finally, today, our request for exhumation and re-interment orders for William are with Minister Eoghan Murphy, TD, Minister for Local Government in the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

We are hopeful of a swift approval so that this wrong can be righted eventually and that Anne can finally rest at ease with her friend, partner, lover and supporter of 35 years as she intended.

Further updates will be given as we get them.

UPDATE Thursday, 11 January, 2019:

And so the dance begins. Having been passed to the Dept. of Local Government from the Department of Justice, we have just now been informed that "graves have been rejigged" and are now the remit of Michael Ring, the Minister for Rural & Community Development! 
Presumably the paperwork will get there in due course and someone will act.

Update: Friday 12 January, 2019:

173 years ago, on this day, 12 January, 1846, William Campbell was buried in a grave in Glasnevin which  

his wife of 35 years had purchased so that she could later be buried with him. And do it was that 5 years later, on September 19, 1851, Anne Devlin Campbell was buried as she wished.

But not for long. Just 6 months later, 11 March, 1852, the noted historian of the United Irishmen RR Madden illegally moved Anne from her grave to another. This crime against one of our greatest heroes has never been redressed.

After 15 years research and campaigning for this to happen, we are finally hopeful that Anne's husband William will be moved to her current grave.

Our application to this affect, we are told, has been moved to the office of  Michael Ring, Minister for Rural and Community Development - the minister currently responsible for graves we are told. The application is "is with the officials" of this department, we were told in response to a query today.

UPDATE Tuesday 15 Jan. 2019:

We have been told that this application is not within the remit of Minister Ring's department, but must be sent to Fingal County Council direct. This, despite a formal application form being available separate to the County Council one. 

It appears that the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing in these matters.

However, undeterred, we will now approach Fingal County Council and seek an order there. 

This is far too important a matter to let drop at any hurdle and we will persist until we achieve our aim, no matter how long it takes.

UPDATE: Monday 27 Jan. 2019

Our revised application was sent to Fingal County Council on Friday 24 Jan. by registered post. We await a speedy reply, and will keep you all posted.

UPDATE:Wednesday February 6, 2019

Well, hopefully this is the last time we have to do this. We have now submitted an application for a licence to exhume William Campbell from his grave in Glasnevin and to re-inter him in the grave of his wife, Anne Devlin. This time, following the instructions we received from Fingal County Council, we have spplied to Dublin City Council.

William lived in the area under this Council for all 72 yearsof his life, while Anne lived there from her release from Kilmainham Gaol in 1806 to her death in a miserable slum in 1851 - 46 years. 

They couple were married in St. Catherine's Church, Meath Street on April 17 1811, and we hope to have them finally reunited by the 208th anniversary of this this year.

We have the support of Lord Mayor Cllr. Nial Ring and oyher members of the Council, so hopefully this time we succeed.

If a licence is issued, we then need to apply to Glasnevin Cemetery for final approval from there.

Le cúnamh Dé beidh an masla a tugadh do duine den'ár laochra ba mhó réitithe go luath.

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