Former pub where Michael Collins convened intelligence unit meetings gets heritage plaque

Former pub where Michael Collins convened intelligence unit meetings gets heritage plaque

THE former site of a Dublin pub which became an important location in Ireland’s War of Independence has been given a heritage plaque.

Dublin City Council has unveiled a commemorative plaque dedicated to Devlin’s Pub, which was a meeting venue for Michael Collins’ intelligence unit from 1919 to 1921.

In mid-1919, Derry-born Liam Devlin relocated from Glasgow in Scotland 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 Collins, who used it convene meetings of the Irish Republican Brotherhood’s (IRB) Headquarters of Intelligence.

It was a “significant location during the War of Independence”, Dublin City Council confirmed this week.

“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,” they explained.

They added: “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."

Lord Mayor of Dublin, Daithí de Róiste unveils the plaque to Devlin's Pub

Collins waited at the pub 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, on November 21, 1920 – a day of violence across the city which saw British forces open fire on attendees of a GAA match at Croke Park stadium.

Speaking at the unveiling of the plaque, 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 added: “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 and Naming Committee.

“The Commemorative Plaques Scheme allows the city to formally commemorate people who have made a significant contribution to the life of Dublin," Councillor Vincent Jackson said.

“We welcome suggestions from the public for people and events to be commemorated and full details are on the Council website.”