Devlin Family Name

Motto: “Crux mea stalla”
Translation: “The cross is my guiding light”

The Gaelic family name, now written in English as DEVLIN, was O Dobhailein. The earliest appearance of this name on genealogical tables was Eocha Dubhlein, brother of Fiocha Straivetine, King of Connacht in the 3rd century, A.D.

In pre-Norman times the DEVLINS were an import sept of Country Sligo. They were frequently mentioned in the ancient annals as chiefs of Corca Firthri and once exerted great power and influence in Connacht. However, with the wars and changes that came with the coming of the Normans, this family lost its place among the notable clans and very few of their descendants are found today among the DEVLINS.

The majority of the DEVLINS in Ireland today belong to the Tyrone family of the name. Their chiefs were Lords of the district of Munter-devlin, located on the western shores of Lough Neagh in County Tyrone. From these ancestral lands they spread into Country Armagh and over many districts of Ulster where the greatest number of families of the name are still found.

In the annals of Tyrone the military and political vicissitudes of the O’Neill family seem to overshadow the written records of most of the families of the district, so we have few references of the military exploits of the DEVLINS. But their story has been characterized by a steadfast loyalty to their faith and their efforts in the cause of national Independence.

Notable examples of this tradition were Lady Mary Devlin, mother of the eminent Father Francis, O.S.F.C., who established the Capuchin Friars in Ireland, and Ann Devlin, friend of Robert Emmet, who, despite cruel tortures at the hand of English soldiers, refused to reveal the hiding place of the rebel leader.

In modern times Joseph Devlin, the journalist and writer, championed the cause of Ireland in the press while his namesake Joseph Devlin (1872-1934) Nationalist M.P. for Belfast was, with John Redmond, an outstanding leader of the Irish Party in the British Parliament and with him an eminent champion of Home Rule for Ireland.

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