Sarah Curran

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Sarah Curran playing the harp. Painted by William Henry Beechey, c.1805.

Sarah Curran (1782 – May 5, 1808) was the youngest daughter of John Philpot Curran, an eminent Irish lawyer. She lived in the priory in Rathfarnham and was the great love of Irish nationalist Robert Emmet.[1]

Curran met Robert through her brother Richard, a fellow student of Emmet's at Trinity College in Dublin.[2] Sarah's father considered Robert unsuitable, and their courtship was conducted through letters and clandestine meetings. Notable is Robert's letter to Sarah. Robert and Sarah were secretly engaged in 1803.[1] When her father discovered that Sarah was engaged, he disowned her and then treated her so harshly that she had to take refuge with friends in Cork, where she met and married Robert Sturgeon in November 1805. The two had a child which died in infancy; Sarah died of consumption on May 5, 1808. She was buried in the birthplace of her father at Newmarket, County Cork.[1]


Washington Irving, one of America's greatest early writers, devoted "The Broken Heart" in his magnum opus The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. to the romance between Robert Emmet and Sarah Curran, citing it as an example of how a broken heart can be fatal.

The road leading past Saint Enda's Park is called Sarah Curran Avenue. Irish poet Thomas Moore was inspired by her story to write the popular ballads, "She is far from the land" and "Oh breathe not his name!"[3]


  1. ^ a b c "Robert Emmet". LIBRARYIRELAND. 2010. Retrieved 5 October 7, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Robert Emmet". The Robert Emmet Society. 2010. Retrieved 7 October 2010. 
  3. ^ "Robert Emmet & Sarah Curran". Robert Emmet.ORG. 2010. Retrieved 7 October 2010.