Coyle, Eithne (Anne) (1897–1985), republican, was born in Killult, Falcarragh, Co. Donegal, the youngest child of Charles Coyle, a farmer, and his wife, Mary (née McHugh). She received her secondary education in Strabane. Her father, who died soon after her birth, was a veteran of the Land War. The Easter rising of 1916 made a deep impression on Eithne. At first she failed to found a branch of Cumann na mBan in Falcarragh and instead joined the Cloughaneely branch in 1918. She later assisted Leslie Price (Leslie de Barra (qv)) in establishing a branch in Falcarragh. As a Cumann na mBan activist she campaigned against conscription in 1918 and for Sinn Féin during the December general election of that year. She subsequently worked in Tyrone and Longford as a Gaelic League organiser, keeping close contact with local Volunteers and promoting Cumann na mBan. In 1920 she moved to Ballagh, Co. Roscommon, where, as an IRA courier, ostensibly working for the Gaelic League, she came under surveillance from the Black and Tans. Her cottage was frequently raided and in her absence burnt to the ground. She remained in the Roscommon area and was arrested on 1 January 1921. Charged with possession of Cumann na mBan documents and a plan of the Beechwood barracks, she was tried and imprisoned in Mountjoy jail in early 1921. Her three-year sentence was later commuted to one, but she and three other women escaped from prison on 30 October. She then spent some weeks in hiding, staying for a time in the home of Maud Gonne MacBride (qv).
Having returned to Donegal, after the Anglo–Irish treaty Coyle was appointed as Cumann na mBan organiser for Donegal, Derry and parts of Tyrone. To enforce the boycott on Belfast goods, throughout the spring of 1922 she held up Belfast trains at gunpoint and destroyed their cargo. She opposed the treaty and on the outbreak of the civil war served as a dispatch carrier between the IRA's first northern and third western divisions. After several brief periods in detention, she was captured in Donegal on 25 September 1922 and held locally for six weeks. She objected to the lack of a female attendant in the intimidating male environment of a barracks, went on hunger strike and was transferred to Buncrana barracks and then Mountjoy. There she protested against prison overcrowding and fought for political status, again hunger striking. In June 1923 she was moved to the North Dublin Union, from where she attempted an escape. In late 1923 she again went on hunger strike with republican prisoners in Mountjoy. After her release in December 1923 she returned to Donegal. She took charge of the county's Prisoners’ Dependants Fund, and to raise funds she established a dramatic society which toured Ireland and Scotland. She later settled in Dublin, living with her sister in Charleville Road, Rathmines. Both women had little money, and it was not until 1930 that Coyle secured work in the Irish hospital sweepstakes.
Continuing her association with Cumann na mBan, she was appointed to its executive in 1924, and elected president in 1926. She was jailed briefly in 1925 and took part in efforts to intimidate jurors in trials of republicans. In 1932 she participated in attacks on Bass pubs and trucks, for which she was arrested and held in the Bridewell for a month. Her attendance at the first conference of Republican Congress at Athlone in 1934, and her endorsement of its socially-radical manifesto, proved so controversial within Cumann na mBan that she later withdrew all support. Critical of the coercion act and the 1937 constitution, she also denounced the rise of fascism in Europe. She opposed the IRA bombing campaign in Britain in 1939–40 and resigned from Cumann na mBan in 1941, but maintained her interest in the movement through her efforts to compile its history. She died 5 January 1985 in a nursing home in Dalkey, Co. Dublin. In July 1935 she married Bernard O'Donnell , a prominent Donegal IRA man, whom she had known since 1918 and with whom she had a son (who became a priest) and a daughter (who became a nun).