Although a Catholic, he graduated from the mainly Protestant Trinity College, Dublin, where he joined the College Historical Society, became a friend of Charles Gavan Duffy and Thomas Davis, and moved in the circle from which the Young Ireland movement sprang. He was called to the bar from Inner Temple. Under the pen name "Domhnall na Glanna" or "Domhnall Gleannach", he wrote Irish nationalist and romantic lyrics which were published in The Nation in the 1840s, the best known being "Carraigdhoun" (or "Lament of the Irish Maiden") and "Kate of Araglen". Lane and his college classmate Michael Joseph Barry were the most prominent Young Irelanders in Cork, and were interned in Cork City Gaol after the Young Irelander Rebellion of 1848. Thomas Carlyle on his 1849 Irish tour met Lane on 17 July, describing him as a "fine brown Irish figure, Denny; distiller – ex-repealer; frank, hearty, honest air; like Alfred Tennyson a little".
Lane took over his father's distillery in Cork and later started several industrial businesses near the city, with mixed success. He took an interest in technology and industrial innovation. He was on the boards of the Macroom Railway Company and the Blackrock and Passage Railway Company, and also involved in Cork's School of Art, School of Music, and Literary & Scientific and Historical & Archaeological societies. He stood for Parliament in the 1876 Cork City by-election, but the Home Rule vote was split with John Daly, so that unionist William Goulding was elected.
- Lane, Denny (1883). "Clerk Maxwell's 'Devil on Two Sticks'". Nature. 28 (709): 104. doi:10.1038/028104c0. ISSN 0028-0836.
- Lane, Denny (26 September 1885). "On the Elementary Principles of the Gas-Engine". Scientific American. 20 (508): 8109–12. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican09261885-8109supp. ISSN 0036-8733.
- Lane, Denny (November 1885). "Then and Now. A Literary Retrospect. Part I". The Irish Monthly. Irish Jesuit Province. 13 (149): 607–616. JSTOR 20497332.
- Lane, Denny (December 1885). "Then and Now. A Literary Retrospect. Part II". The Irish Monthly. Irish Jesuit Province. 13 (150): 644–656. JSTOR 20497338.
- Lane, Denny (3 July 1886). "Gas Engineering and Modern Science" (PDF). Scientific American. 22 (548 supp): 8750–8753. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican07031886-8750bsupp. ISSN 0036-8733. OCLC 5842229501.
- Lane, Denny (1888). "Water-gas: its chemistry, history, and prospects". The Iron and Coal Trades Review.
- Lane, Denny (February 1891). "Art as a Profession and as a Branch of Education". The Irish Monthly. Irish Jesuit Province. 19 (212): 73–81. JSTOR 20498152.
- Lane, Denny (9 October 1891). "Distribution of energy by gas". The Electrician.
- Lane, Denny (March 1893). "The Irish Accent in English Literature". The Irish Monthly. Irish Jesuit Province. 21 (237): 151–156. JSTOR 20498492.
- Lane, Denny (May 1893). "The Irish Industries Association". The Irish Monthly. Irish Jesuit Province. 21 (239): 237–241. JSTOR 20498514.
- "Famous People: Denny Lane". Cork City Gaol. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
- "Denny Lane Papers" (PDF). Identity Statements. Cork City and County Archives. 2005. CCCA/U611. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
- Cronin, Maura (2005). "Young Ireland in Cork, 1840-1849". In Dunne, T.; Geary, L.M. (eds.). History and the Public Sphere: Essays in Honour of John A. Murphy. Cork: Cork University Press. ISBN 1859183921. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
- Gwynn, Denis (March 1949). "Denny Lane and Thomas Davis". Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review. Irish Province of the Society of Jesus. 38 (149): 15–28. JSTOR 30100243.
- Cork City Gaol
- Gwynn 1949, p.16
- Cronin 2005, fn.5
- Davis, Thomas (1845). "Cate of Araglen". The Spirit of the nation. Ballads and songs by the writers of "The Nation," with original and ancient music, arranged for the voice and piano forte. Dublin: James Duffy. pp. 277–8.
- Cronin 2005, pp.5,14
- Carlyle, Thomas (1882). Reminiscences of my Irish Journey in 1849. New York: Harper & Brothers. p. 106.
- Gwynn 1949, p.28
- Denny Lane, Drawing by Henry Jones/Thaddeus from Cork City and County Archives