Dublin City Council unveils commemorative plaque dedicated to Devlin’s Pub

by Alison O'Hanlon
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The building which was the original site for Devlin’s Pub on Parnell Street, an important meeting venue for GHQ Intelligence from 1919 to 1921, was memorialised by a Dublin City Council commemorative plaque.

In mid-1919, Derry born Liam Devlin relocated from Glasgow with his family of seven children to a public house that he bought at 68 Parnell Street, Dublin. Within a few weeks he had offered the use of upstairs rooms to Michael Collins. 

The pub quickly became one of the main locations for meetings of the IRB Headquarters of Intelligence.

It was a significant location during the War of Independence. Meetings were held daily at the pub, attended by Michael Collins, Frank Thornton, Liam Tobin, Emmet Dalton and many others of the leadership of the Volunteers and the IRB. As many as eight to ten Volunteers and Officers were accommodated there every night during this period. Devlin was himself an Intelligence Officer and was entrusted with the safe keeping of National Loan Funds. 

Michael Collins waited here for news about the abandoned escape and later execution of Kevin Barry. He was also in Devlin’s Pub on the morning of Bloody Sunday. The pub was the location of the Mutiny, which threatened the very survival of the Free State, led by Liam Tobin, in March 1924.

Speaking at the unveiling, Lord Mayor of Dublin Daithí de Róiste said “It’s no exaggeration to say that public houses are iconic symbols of the Dublin’s cultural heritage and social fabric. Lots of our surviving pubs hold historical significance, with many dating back centuries and boasting connections to famous literary figures, politicians, and revolutionaries. Leopold Bloom’s idea of a good puzzle, ‘how to cross Dublin without passing a pub’, was a reflection of the number of pubs in the City 100 years ago, and among them was Devlin’s, on Parnell Street. Devlin’s was a public house that became an important meeting place during the birth of our nation.”

He continued, “Liam Devlin made a significant contribution to the independence movement in Ireland at great personal risk to himself and his family. He continued his involvement in nation building through an enormous contribution to the industrial development and the creation of significant employment in the new Ireland.”

The decision to erect the plaque was made by the Dublin City Council Commemorations & Naming Committee.  Councillor Vincent Jackson continued, “The Commemorative Plaques Scheme allows the City to formally commemorate people who have made a significant contribution to the life of Dublin. We welcome suggestions from the public for people and events to be commemorated and full details are on the Council website.”

Featured Image: Lord Mayor of Dublin Daithi de Roiste with John Healy proposer of the plaque and Grandson to Liam Devlin

Photo: Chris Bellew / Fennell Photography

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