Deane, Anne (Duff) (c.1834–1905), businesswoman, philanthropist, and nationalist, was born at Ballaghadereen, Co. Roscommon, the daughter of Joseph Duff and Monica Duff (née Dillon), a younger sister of the Young Irelander, John Blake Dillon (qv). As a widow Monica Duff owned and managed the general store in Ballaghadereen. Educated by her brother's tutor, Anne showed a particular talent for mathematics. When she was a young woman, her uncle took her to Dublin, where she mingled in nationalist circles. Her plans to marry Edward Deane, a lawyer of Foxford, Co. Mayo, were initially thwarted by her mother, and only after a long interval and through the intercession of Dillon did the marriage take place in February 1864. She was forced to return to Ballaghadereen when her mother's business experienced difficulties, and settled there permanently after she was widowed while still a young woman. She proved a highly energetic and confident manager, and by the time she had inherited the shop it was one of the largest and most successful businesses in the west of Ireland. Andrew Kettle (qv), a visitor to the Deane household, remembered her as a ‘remarkable woman who seemed to be quite at home at the head of a business that looked like the centre not of a town like Ballaghaderreen, but a province’. She maintained her contacts with Foxford, and when the Sisters of Charity, under Mother Agnes Morrogh Bernard (qv) moved there from Ballaghadereen in 1891, she proved to be a significant benefactor, providing them with sizeable donations, and on occasion paying for their evening meal to be delivered to them.
Although she had no children herself, after the death of her uncle John Blake Dillon (1866) and his wife Adelaide (1872) she played a key role in bringing up their young family. John Dillon (qv), who divided his time between Ballaghadereen and Dublin, came to regard her as a second mother. She settled a large fortune on him, possibly as much as £30,000, making it feasible for him to marry. She was a keen supporter of home rule, and her house in Ballaghadereen was a regular meeting-place for nationalists. In January 1881 she was among those who founded the Ladies’ Land League. Of the seven officers elected, she was chosen as honorary president but, because business commitments occupied most of her time, Anna Parnell (qv) was always seen as the organisation's real leader. In 1904 Deane suffered a severe fall, after which she moved to the Sisters of Charity nursing home on Leeson Street, Dublin, where she died 3 July 1905. She was buried at Straide abbey, Co. Mayo. John Dillon paid tribute to her kindness to him with an inscription on her tombstone, in which he said he owed everything to her.