genealogies of the families
(O)DEVLIN The principal sept of the name belongs to Co. Tyrone. Their chiefs were lords of the territory known as Munterdevlin on the Tyrone shore of Lough Neagh. Eighty per cent of present day Devlins (the prefix O is seldom if ever used in modem times) are from Ulster, most of whom hail from Tyrone or an adjacent county.
In the Elizabethan Fiants they are called Doibhin, but the name is scarcely found in any form in the census of 1659, since the Co. Tyrone is missing from that document. An O'Devlin who died in 1211 was Bishop of Kells. A prominent rebel in the Portadown area in 1641 was Patrick O'Develin; Francis O'Devlin (d. 1735), a Franciscan friar of Prague, born in Co. Tyrone, was a writer of some note; and James Devlin (d. 1825), was a veteran of the American War of Independence. The best known of the name in Irish history, however, was associated with Wicklow and Tyrone - Anne Devlin (1778-1851), the faithful servant of Robert Emmet, who though imprisoned and tortured would not give information against him. Joe Devlin (1872-1934), the Belfast Nationalist M.P., one of the best known figures in Ireland during the first twenty years of the present century, and another Joseph Devlin (b. 1869), who wrote voluminously over the nom de plume of "Northern Gael", were both unmistakable Ulstermen as was Paddy Devlin, a noted socialist and trade union figure, one of the founders of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). He served in the shortlived Northern Ireland Executive set up after the Sunningdale Conference in the early 1970s. Bernadette Devlin (McAliskey) who was active in the Civil Rights movement in Northern Ireland in the 1960s was elected as MP to the UK Parliament in 1969, becoming the youngest since William Pitt. Polly Devlin is a well known writer.
There was once a not unimportant sept of O'Doibhilin, anglice O'Devlin, in what is now the barony of Corran, Co. Sligo. As late as 1316 one of these, Gillananaev O'Devlin, who was standard bearer to O'Connor, was slain in battle. Their descendants, however, have either died out or have been dispersed.
According to Mr. T. O' Raifeartaigh the O'Devlins of Co. Sligo are still extant, and even numerous in counties Sligo, Leitrim and Cavan, but the name there has been widely changed to Dolan.
Source:Irish Families by Edward MacLysaght MA, D Litt, MRIA - Irish Academic Press 1991
Note on the Coat of Arms:The current Devlin coat of arms consists of a blue shield with a gold celtic cross in the center surrounded by three stars; one above each arm of the cross and one at the base. The color blue historically represents loyalty, fidelity and truth. The cross is a representation of the "Cross of Ardboe", Ardboe being on the western shores of Lough Neagh, and the historic home of the Devlins. The stars represent the Holy Trinity. The motto is "Crux Mea Stella" and means "The Cross is My Star". This coat of arms dates back to about the 18th century and it is unknown who devised it. The original coat of arms was minus the cross and consisted of three stars across the blue shield in a diagonal, upper left to lower right. A red griffin topped the original shield. The motto was the same. This coat of arms is thought to have been awarded to one of the original O Doibhilin's in the 12th century.