There are so many important women in Irish history that I could work the rest of my life (which I probably will) and not get to them all. That said, Anne Devlin is the one who started it all. Without Anne I may never have had the jump start I needed to begin writing again. I may never have started a blog and certainly would not have written a book. But it’s not all about me – without Anne Devlin, numerous rebellions in Ireland could have been compromised. Important uprisings would not have happened. Patriots would most certainly have been jailed or killed. Her fortitude and silence against all odds and various forms of torture probably saved thousands of lives, though it cost her dearly.
On this day in herstory, Anne Devlin Campbell passed away – long after her incarceration in one of the most notorious dungeons and prisons in Ireland. It’s amazing that she lived so long given her brutal treatment there. She was an elderly, broke washerwoman living in relative obscurity when she died, but she was never broken. This is some of her tale that I wrote and continue to repost every year in remembrance of this powerful woman.
San Francisco does a lot to stay in touch with its Irish roots and Ireland in general. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade in San Francisco is still one of the largest in the country and the Irish community in the Bay celebrates the parade even when it’s six months away. The “Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day” weekend party culminates in a gathering at Golden Gate Park in the heart of the city. This park event is also referred to as Robert Emmet day, because the festivities include laying a wreath at the base of his statue, located right in the middle of the park.
There are many, many women in Irish history who never get the recognition they deserve for their contributions to it. Anne Devlin may be the most egregious example of that. Her strength and dedication to the Irish cause was truly like no other.
Today is not the day Anne Devlin died but September 18th is. Given that the Scottish vote will be the news of that day this year, I thought I would step back for a minute into my favorite subjects. I started this blog because I am incredibly passionate about history in general – and Irish history in specific. I make an effort to highlight Irish women – the rebels, suffragists, and strong women who fought for Ireland just as much as their male counterparts but who rarely get the same credit. The Scottish referendum on Independence is HUGE news but their vote falls on an all too forgotten date in Irish history as well – and to ignore that would be yet another travesty inflicted upon Anne Devlin. Given that she suffered more brutality in her life than most would ever survive, the least I can do is mark the anniversary of her passing and give her the recognition that she deserves – even if I tell my tale of her life and death a day early.