Michael Collins

Michael Collins (1890 - 1922)

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Michael Collins
Born in Clonakilty, Cork, Irelandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Died in 'Beal na mBlath', Bandon, West Cork, Irelandmap
Profile last modified | Created 14 Sep 2011
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Categories: Irish Politicians | Irish Rebels | Irish Nationalists | Easter Rising | Sinn Féin | Clonakilty, Cork.

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Mícheál Ó Coileáin

Michael Collins served as Joseph Plunkett's aide-de-camp at the rebellion's headquarters in the General Post Office (GPO) in Dublin.

He was an Irish revolutionary leader, Minister for Finance in the First Dáil of 1919, Director of Intelligence for the IRA, and member of the Irish delegation during the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations, both as Chairman of the Provisional Government and Commander-in- Chief of the National Army.

He was shot and killed in August 1922, during the Irish Civil War. Although most Irish political parties recognise his contribution to the foundation of the modern Irish state, members and supporters of the Fine Gael political party hold his memory in particular esteem, regarding him as their movement's founding father (even though his link to them was through their precursor Cumann na nGaedhael, a name adopted in 1923 by the pro-Treaty wing of Sinn Fein).

12 Aug 1922 Became President on death of Griffiths

22 Aug 1922 buried at Glasnevin Cemetery, Co Dublin, Ireland Murdered through ambush.

Michael Collins never married, though at the time of his death, his fiancée was Kitty Kiernan (Catherine Brigid Kiernan 1892 – 24 July 1945)



* 1 Early years
* 2 Easter Rising
* 3 First Dáil Éireann
* 4 Minister for Finance
* 5 Anglo-Irish Treaty
* 6 Provisional Government
* 7 Civil War
* 8 Death
* 9 Films about Michael Collins
* 10 See also
* 11 References
* 12 External links
* 13 Further reading
* 14 Political career
[edit] Early years
Born in Sam's Cross, west Cork, Ireland, Collins was the third son and youngest of eight children. Although most biographies list his date of birth as 16 October 1890, his tombstone lists his date of birth as 12 October 1890.
His father, also called Michael Collins, had become a member of the republican Fenian movement in his youth, but had left and settled down to farming. The elder Collins was sixty years old when he married Marianne O'Brien, then twenty-three. His father died when Michael was only six years of age.
Collins was a bright and precocious child, with a fiery temper and a passionate feeling of nationalism, spurred on by a local blacksmith, James Santry, and later, at the Lisavaird National School, by a local school headmaster, Denis Lyons, a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB, an organization Collins would eventually lead). Collins was tall and strapping and loved sports, but that did not detract from his cerebral development or uncanny instincts.
After leaving school, the 15-year-old Michael followed in the footsteps of many people from Ireland, especially of the Clonakilty area, and moved to London. While in London he lived with his elder sister, Johanna ("Hannie"), and studied at King's College London.
In February 1906, Collins took the British Civil Service examination in which (to pass it) he praised the "greatest empire";[1] he was employed by the post office from July 1906.
He joined the local Gaelic Athletic Association and, through this, the IRB, a secret oath-bound society dedicated to the liberation of Ireland. Sam Maguire, a Church of Ireland republican from Dunmanway, County Cork, introduced the 19 year old Collins into the IRB. In time he would come to play a central role in this organisation.
[edit] Easter Rising
Proclamation of the Irish Republic, read by P‡draig Pearse outside the GPO at the start of the Easter Rising, 1916.
Proclamation of the Irish Republic, read by P‡draig Pearse outside the GPO at the start of the Easter Rising, 1916.
Michael Collins first became known during the Easter Rising in 1916. A skilled organiser of considerable intelligence, he was highly respected in the IRB, so much so that he was made financial adviser to Count Plunkett, father of one of the Rising's organisers, Joseph Mary Plunkett, whose aide-de-camp Collins would become.
When the rising itself took place on Easter Monday, 1916, he fought alongside Patrick Pearse and others in the General Post Office in Dublin. The rising became (as expected by many) a military disaster. While many celebrated the fact that a rising had happened at all, believing in Pearse's theory of "blood sacrifice" (namely that the deaths of the rising's leaders would inspire others), Collins railed against what he perceived as its ham-fisted amateurism, notably the seizure of indefensible and very vulnerable positions such as St Stephen's Green that were impossible to escape from and difficult to supply. (During the War of Independence he ensured the avoidance of such tactics of "becoming sitting targets", with his soldiers operating as "flying columns" who waged a guerrilla war against the British, suddenly attacking then just as quickly withdrawing, minimising losses and maximising effectiveness.)
Collins, like many of the rising's participants, was arrested, almost sent to the gallows and wound up at Frongoch internment camp. There, as his contemporaries expected, his leadership skills showed. By the time of the general release, Collins had already become one of the leading figures in the post-rising Sinn Féin, a small nationalist party which the British government and the Irish media wrongly blamed for the rising. It was quickly infiltrated by survivors of the rising, so as to capitalise on the "notoriety" the innocent movement had gained through British attacks. By October 1917, through skill and ability, Collins had risen to become a member of the executive of Sinn Féin and director of organisation of the Irish Volunteers; ƒÉamon de Valera was president of both organisations.
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Note N138Wiki 2 First Dáil
Like all senior Sinn Féin members, Michael Collins was nominated to seek a seat in the 1918 general election to elect Irish MPs to the British House of Commons in London. And like the overwhelming majority (many without contests), Collins was elected, becoming MP for Cork South. However, unlike their rivals in the Irish Parliamentary Party, Sinn Féin MPs had announced that they would not take their seats in Westminster, but instead would set up an Irish Parliament in Dublin. That new parliament, called Dáil Éireann (meaning "Assembly of Ireland", see First Dáil) met in the Mansion House, Dublin in January 1919. De Valera and leading Sinn Féin MPs had been arrested. Collins had been tipped off by his network of spies about the plan and had warned leading figures. De Valera had talked many into ignoring the warnings, believing if the arrests happened they would constitute a propaganda coup, only to find that with the leadership now arrested, there were few people left to do the necessary "spinning" in the media. In de Valera's absence, Cathal Brugha was elected Pr’omh Aire (literally prime minister, but often translated as "President of Dáil Éireann"), to be replaced by de Valera, when Collins helped him escape from Lincoln prison, in April, 1919.
Collins in 1919 had a number of roles. In the summer he was elected president of the IRB (and therefore, in the doctrine of that organisation, de jure President of the Irish Republic). In September he was made Director of Intelligence of the Irish Republican Army,[2] as the Volunteers had become (the name symbolising the organisation's claim to be the army of the Irish Republic was ratified in January 1919). The Irish War of Independence in effect began on the same day that the First Dáil met in January 1919, when two policemen guarding a consignment of gelignite were shot dead by IRA volunteers acting without orders, in Soloheadbeg, County Tipperary. {See also Dan Breen}.
[edit] Minister for Finance
In 1919, the already busy Collins received yet another responsibility when de Valera appointed him to the Aireacht (ministry) as Minister for Finance.
Understandably, in the circumstances of a brutal war, in which ministers were liable to be arrested or killed by the Royal Irish Constabulary, the British Army, the Black and Tans or the Auxiliaries at a moment's notice, most of the ministries existed only on paper, or as one or two people working in a room of a private house.
Not with Collins, however, who produced a Finance Ministry that was able to organise a large bond issue in the form of a "National Loan" to fund the new Irish Republic. Such was Collins' reputation that even Lenin heard about his spectacular national loan, and sent a representative to Dublin to borrow some money from the Irish Republic to help fund the Russian Republic, offering some of the Russian Crown Jewels as collateral (the jewels remained in a Dublin safe, forgotten by all sides, until the 1930s, when they were found by chance).
In retrospect, the sheer scale of Collins' workload and his achievements are impressive. From creating a special assassination squad called The Twelve Apostles to kill British agents to the arrangement of an internationally famous[citation needed] "National Loan"; from running the IRA to effectively running the government when de Valera traveled to and remained in the United States for an extended period of time; and managing an arms-smuggling operation; Collins nearly became a one- man revolution[citation needed].
Collins and Richard Mulcahy were the two principal organisers for the Irish Republican Army, insofar as it was possible to direct the actions of scattered and heavily localised guerrilla units. Collins is often credited with organising the IRA's guerrilla "flying columns" during the war of independence, although to suggest Collins organised this single handedly would be false. He had a prominent part in the formation of the flying columns but the main organiser would have been Dick McKee, later executed by the British in retaliation for Bloody Sunday (1920). In addition, a great deal of IRA activity was carried out on the initiative of local leaders, with tactics and overall strategy developed by Collins or Mulcahy.
By 1920, when he was 30 years old, the British offered a bounty of £10,000 (a vast sum in the 1920s) for information leading to the capture or death of Michael Collins. His fame had so transcended the IRA movement that he was nicknamed "The Big Fellow." Irish author Frank O'Connor, who participated in the Irish Civil War, gave a different account of the nickname. He said that it began as an ironic, even scornful, reference to Collins' efforts to be taken seriously by others, seen as bordering on self-importance.[3]
Among national leaders, he made enemies of two particular people: Cathal Brugha, the earnest but mediocre[citation needed] Minister for Defence who was overshadowed by his cabinet colleague in military matters (despite Collins being officially only Minister for Finance, and Brugha supposedly in control of defense), and ƒÉamon de Valera, the President of Dáil Éireann.
Following a truce, arrangements were made for a conference between the British government and the leaders of the, as yet unrecognised, Irish Republic. Other than the Soviet Union, which needed money and so gave diplomatic recognition to the Irish Republic, not a single other state did so, despite sustained lobbying in Washington by de Valera and prominent Irish-Americans, as well as at the Versailles Peace Conference by Se‡n T. O'Kelly.
In a move that astonished observers, de Valera Ñ who in August 1921 made the Dáil upgrade his office from Prime Minister to President of the Republic to make him the equivalent of King George V in the negotiations Ñ then announced that, as the King would not attend, then neither should he as President of the Republic.
Instead, with the reluctant agreement of his cabinet, de Valera nominated a team of delegates headed by Arthur Griffith, with Michael Collins as his deputy. With heavy misgivings, believing de Valera should head the delegation, Collins agreed to go to London.
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Note N139Wiki 3 Anglo-Irish Treaty
The majority of the Irish Treaty delegates including Arthur Griffith (leader), Robert Barton and Eamonn Duggan (with Robert Erskine Childers as Secretary General to the delegation) set up headquarters at 22 Hans Place in Knightsbridge on 11 October 1921 and resided there until conclusion of the negotiations in December. Collins took up separate quarters at 15 Cadogan Gardens. His personal staff included Liam Tobin, Ned Broy and Joe McGrath.[4] Collins himself protested his appointment as envoy plenipotentary as he was not a statesman and his revelation to the British, he had previously kept his public presence to a minimal, would reduce his effectiveness as a guerilla leader should hostilities resume. Collins knew that the treaty and in particular the issue of partition would not be well received in Ireland, upon signing the treaty, he remarked I have signed my own death warrant.
The negotiations ultimately resulted in the Anglo-Irish Treaty which was signed on 6 December 1921, which envisaged a new Irish state, to be named the "Irish Free State" (a literal translation from the Irish language term Saorst‡t ƒireann, which appeared on the letterhead de Valera used, though de Valera had translated it less literally as the Irish Republic.[5] The Irish Free State was established in December 1922.
The treaty provided for a possible all-Ireland state, subject to the right of a six-county region in the northeast to opt out of the Free State (which it immediately did). If this happened, an Irish Boundary Commission was to be established to redraw the Irish border, which Collins expected would so reduce the size of Northern Ireland as to make it economically unviable, thus enabling unity, as most of the unionist population was concentrated in a relatively small area in eastern Ulster.
The new state was to be a Dominion, with a bicameral parliament, executive authority vested in the king but exercised by an Irish government elected by a lower house called Dáil Éireann (translated this time as "Chamber of Deputies"), an independent courts system, and a form of independence that far exceeded anything sought by Charles Stewart Parnell or the subsequent Irish Parliamentary Party.
Republican purists saw it as a sell-out, with the replacement of the republic by dominion status within the British Empire, and an Oath of Allegiance made (it was then claimed) directly to the King. The actual wording shows that the oath was made to the Irish Free State, with a subsidiary oath of fidelity to the King as part of the Treaty settlement, not to the king unilaterally. (See Oath of Allegiance)
Sinn Féin split over the treaty, and the Dáil debated the matter bitterly for ten days until it was approved by a vote of 64 to 57.[6] In the process Cathal Brugha remarked that Collins was not a senior military man and yet the newspapers were describing him as "the man who won the war". The reality was, however, that Collins was the man most responsible for the IRA's war effort during the Anglo-Irish war. De Valera joined the anti-treaty faction opposing the perceived concessions. His opponents charged that he had prior knowledge that the crown would have to feature in whatever form of settlement was agreed. His bitterest opponents even accused de Valera of "chickening out" of leading the delegation, in the knowledge that a republic could not possibly result from the negotiations in the short-term.
[edit] Provisional Government
Under the Dáil Constitution adopted in 1919, Dáil Éireann continued to exist. De Valera resigned the presidency and sought re-election (in an effort to destroy the newly approved Treaty), but Arthur Griffith defeated him in the vote and assumed the presidency. (Griffith called himself "President of Dáil Éireann" rather than de Valera's more exalted "President of the Republic".) However this government, or Aireacht, had no legal status in British constitutional law, so another co-existent government emerged, nominally answerable to the House of Commons of Southern Ireland.
The new Provisional Government was formed under Collins, who became "President of the Provisional Government" (i.e., Prime Minister). He also remained Minister for Finance of Griffith's republican administration. An example of the complexities involved can be seen even in the manner of his installation:
* In British legal theory he was a Crown-appointed prime minister, installed under the Royal Prerogative. To be so installed, he had to formally meet the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Viscount Fitzalan (the head of the British administration in Ireland).
* According to the republican view, Collins met Fitzalan to accept the surrender of Dublin Castle, the seat of British government in Ireland.
* According to British constitutional theory, he met Fitzalan to "kiss hands" (the formal name for the installation of a minister of the Crown), the fact of their meeting rather than the signing of any documents, duly installing him in office.
Allegedly, Collins was late to this ceremony by seven minutes and was rebuked for this by Fitzalan. Collins replied, "You had to wait seven minutes but we had to wait seven hundred years!"[citation needed]
The Treaty was hugely controversial in Ireland. First, Éamon de Valera, the President of the Irish Republic was unhappy that Collins had signed any deal without his and his cabinet's authorisation. Second, the contents of the Treaty were bitterly disputed. De Valera and many other members of the republican movement objected to Ireland's status as a dominion of the British Empire and to the symbolism of having to take an oath to the British king to this effect. Also controversial was the British retention of Treaty Ports on the south coast of Ireland for the Royal Navy. Both of these things threatened to give Britain control over Ireland's foreign policy. Almost half the TDs in the Dáil Éireann opposed the Treaty, which was narrowly passed on 7 January 1922, by 64 votes to 57. Most seriously, most of the Irish Republican Army opposed the Treaty, opening the prospect of civil war.
Curiously, in hindsight, the partition of Ireland between the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland was not as controversial. One of the main reasons for this was that Collins was secretly planning to launch a clandestine guerrilla war against the Northern State. Throughout the early months of 1922, he had been sending IRA units to the border and sending arms and money to the northern units of the IRA. In May-June 1922, he and IRA Chief of Staff Liam Lynch organised an offensive of both pro- and anti-treaty IRA units along the new border. British arms supplied to Collins' Provisional government were instead swapped with the weapons of IRA units, which were sent to the north. This offensive was officially called off under British pressure on June 3 and Collins issued a statement that "no troops from the 26 counties, either those under official control [pro-treaty] or those attached to the [IRA] Executive [anti-treaty] should be permitted to invade the six county area."[7] However, low level IRA attacks on the border continued. Such activity was interrupted by the outbreak of civil war in the south, but had Collins lived, there is every chance he would have launched a full-scale guerrilla offensive against Northern Ireland. Because of this, most northern IRA units supported Collins and 524 of them came south to join the National Army in the Irish Civil War.
In the months leading up to the outbreak of civil war in June 1922, Collins tried desperately to heal the rift in the nationalist movement and prevent war. De Valera, having opposed the Treaty in the Dáil, withdrew from the assembly with his supporters. Collins secured a compromise, the pact, whereby the two factions of Sinn FŽin, pro- and anti-Treaty, would fight the soon-to-be Free State's first election jointly and form a coalition government afterwards.
Collins proposed that the envisaged Free State would have a republican constitution, with no mention of the British king, without repudiating the Treaty, a compromise acceptable to all but the most intransigent republicans. To foster military unity, he established an "army re-unification committee" with delegates from pro- and anti-Treaty factions. He also made efforts to use the secret Irish Republican Brotherhood of which he was president, to get IRA officers to accept the Treaty. However, the British vetoed the proposed republican constitution under the threat of an economic blockade, arguing they had signed the Treaty in good faith and its terms could not be changed. Collins was therefore unable to reconcile the anti-Treaty side, whose Army Executive had decided in March 1922 that it was not subordinate to the Dáil Éireann.
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Note N140Wiki 4 Civil War
In April 1922, a group of 200 anti-Treaty IRA men occupied the Four Courts in Dublin in defiance of the Provisional government. Collins, who wanted to avoid civil war at all costs, did not attack them until June 1922, needing to know the result of the general election which proved favourable to his party. British pressure also forced his hand. On 22 June 1922, Sir Henry Wilson, a retired British Army field marshal now serving as Military Advisor to the Craig Administration,[8] was shot dead by two IRA men in Belgravia, London. At the time, it was presumed that the anti-Treaty faction of the IRA were responsible and Winston Churchill told Collins that unless he moved against the Four Courts garrison, he (Churchill) would use British troops to do so.
In fact, it has since been proved that Collins himself ordered the killing of Wilson in reprisal for failing to prevent the attacks on Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland. Joe Dolan Ñ a member of Collins' "Squad" or assassination unit in the War of Independence and in 1922 a captain in the National Army Ñ revealed this in the 1950s, along with the revelation that Collins had ordered him to try to rescue the two gunmen before they were executed.[9] In any event, this forced Collins to take action against the Four Courts men and the final provocation came when they kidnapped J.J. O'Connell, a provisional government general. After a final attempt to persuade the men to leave, Collins borrowed two 18 pounder artillery pieces from the British and bombarded the Four Courts until its garrison surrendered.[10]
This led to the Irish Civil War as fighting broke out in Dublin between the anti-Treaty IRA and the provisional government's troops. Under Collins' supervision, the Free State rapidly took control of the capital. In July 1922, anti-Treaty forces held the southern province of Munster and several other areas of the country. De Valera and the other anti-Treaty TDs sided with the anti-Treaty IRA. By mid-1922, Collins in effect laid down his responsibilities as Chairman of the Provisional Government to become Commander-in-Chief of the National Army, a formal, structured, uniformed army that formed around the nucleus of the pro-Treaty IRA. The Free State Army that was armed and funded by the British was rapidly expanded to fight the civil war. Collins, along with Richard Mulcahy and Eoin O'Duffy decided on a series of seaborne landings into republican held areas that re-took Munster and the west in July-August 1922. As part of this offensive, Collins travelled to his native Cork, against the advice of his companions, and despite suffering from stomach ache and depression. Collins reputedly told his comrades that "They wouldn't shoot me in my own county."[11] It has been questioned why Collins put himself in such danger by visiting the south of the country while much of it was still held by hostile forces. What historian Michael Hopkinson describes as 'plentiful oral evidence' suggests that Collins' purpose was to meet Republican leaders in order to bring the war to an end. In Cork city, he met with neutral IRA men Sean Hegarty and Florrie O'Donoghue, with a view to contacting Anti-Treaty IRA leaders Tom Barry and Tom Hales to propose a truce.[12] Hopkinson asserts though that, although ƒamon de Valera was in west Cork at the time, 'there is no evidence that there was any prospect of a meeting between de Valera and Collins'.
Collins' personal diary outlined his plan for peace. Republicans must 'accept the People's Verdict' on the Treaty, but could then 'go home without their arms'. 'We don't ask for any surrender of their principles'. He argued that the Provisional Government was upholding 'the people's rights' and would continue to do so. 'We want to avoid any possible unnecessary destruction and loss of life. We do not want to mitigate their weakness by resolute action beyond what is required'. But if Republicans did not accept his terms, 'further blood is on their shoulders'.[13]
[edit] Death
The funeral of Michael Collins in the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin (A contemporary newspaper drawing of Collins' state funeral.)
The funeral of Michael Collins in the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin (A contemporary newspaper drawing of Collins' state funeral.)
The grave of Michael Collins.
The grave of Michael Collins.
The last known photograph of Collins alive was taken as he made his way through Bandon, Co. Cork in the back of an army vehicle. He is pictured outside the Devonshire Arms Hotel (now Munster Arms) on 22 August 1922.
On the road to Bandon, at the village of BŽal na mBl‡th (Irish, "the Mouth of Flowers"), Collins' column stopped to ask directions. However the man whom they asked, Dinny Long, was also a member of the local Anti-Treaty IRA. An ambush was then prepared for the convoy when it made its return journey back to Cork city. They knew Collins would return by the same route as the two other roads from Bandon to Cork had been rendered impassable by Republicans. The ambush party, allegedly commanded by Liam Deasy, had mostly dispersed to a nearby pub by 8pm, when Collins and his men returned to Beal na mBlath but the remaining five ambushers opened fire on the convoy. The ambushers had laid a mine on the scene, which could have killed many more people in Collins' party, however they had disconnected it by the time the firing broke out.[14]
Collins was killed in the subsequent firefight, which lasted approximately 40 minutes, between 8:00 and 8:40pm. He was the only fatality in the action. He had ordered his convoy to stop and return fire, instead of choosing the safer option of driving on in his touring car or transferring to the safety of the accompanying armoured car, as his companion, Emmet Dalton, had wished. He was killed while exchanging rifle fire with the ambushers. Under the cover of the armoured car, Collins' body was loaded into the touring car and driven back to Cork. Collins was 31 years old when he died.
There is no consensus as to who fired the fatal shot. The most recent authoritative account suggests that the shot was fired by Denis ("Sonny") O'Neill, an Anti-Treaty IRA fighter and a former British Army marksman who died in 1950.[15] This is supported by eyewitness accounts of the participants in the ambush. O'Neill was using dum-dum ammunition, which disintegrates on impact and which left a gaping wound in Collins' skull. He dumped the bullets afterwards for fear of reprisals by Free State troops.[15] Collins' men brought his body back to Cork where it was then shipped to Dublin because it was feared the body might be stolen in an ambush if it were transported by road.[15] His body lay in state for three days in Dublin City Hall where tens of thousands of mourners filed past his casket to pay their respects. His funeral mass took place at Dublin's Pro Cathedral where a number of foreign and Irish dignitaries were in attendance.
Collins' violent death has provoked many conspiracy theories in Ireland and even the affiliation of the assassin is subject to debate. Some Republicans maintain that Collins was killed by a British 'plant'. Some Pro-Treaty accounts claim that ƒamon de Valera ordered Collins' assassination. Others allege that he was killed by one of his own soldiers, Jock McPeak, who defected to the Republican side with an armoured car three months after the ambush.[16] However, historian Meda Ryan, who researched the incident exhaustively, concluded that there was no real basis for such theories, 'Michael Collins was shot by a Republican, who said [on the night of the ambush], "I dropped one man"'[15] Liam Deasy, who was in command of the ambush party, said, 'we all knew it was Sonny Neill's bullet'.[17]
[edit] Films about Michael Collins
Kitty Kiernan
Kitty Kiernan
Promotional poster for Michael Collins
Promotional poster for Michael Collins
A fictionalised version of Collins' life is in the 1936 movie Beloved Enemy, starring David Niven as an English Officer. Unlike the real Michael Collins, the fictionalised Collins "Dennis Riordan" (played by Brian Aherne) is shot and recovers.
A British documentary by Kenneth Griffith, Hang Up Your Brightest Colours was made for ITV in 1973, but refused transmission. It was eventually screened by the BBC in Wales in 1993 and across the United Kingdom the following year.
An Irish documentary made by Colm Connolly for RTE Television in 1989 called The Shadow of Beal BŽalnabl‡th covered Collins' death.
A made for TV film, The Treaty, was produced in 1991 and starred Brendan Gleeson as Collins and Ian Bannen as Lloyd George. {Ironically Gleeson starred in "Michael Collins" as Collins aide Liam Tobin!}
In 1996, Michael Collins became the subject of a film by director Neil Jordan. Titled Michael Collins, Liam Neeson plays the title role, and Julia Roberts plays Collins' fiancŽe, Kitty Kiernan. Although the film received praise for bringing the story of Michael Collins to a wide international audience, some historians criticised it for taking a number of liberties with facts.
[edit] See also
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Michael Collins (Irish leader)
* The Big Fellow
* Kitty Kiernan
* Hazel Lavery
* List of people on stamps of Ireland
* High Heroic by Constantine Fitzgibbon
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Note N141Wiki 5 References
1. ^ Examining Irish leader's youthful past - from the BBC
2. ^ Most agree that the Irish Republican Army of 1919Ð21 had the general sanction of the Irish people and Dáil Éireann to act as the "Army of the Republic". Some Irish people believe that the IRA's legitimacy was passed on to the new Irish National Army, established in 1922, and that later organisations calling themselves the "IRA" (whether the Official IRA, the Provisional IRA, the Real IRA etc.) had little legitimacy and only tenuous links with the earlier army of the Republic. Others, a republican minority, disagree and claim that the Second Dáil (the Parliament elected in June 1921 and which was replaced in another election in 1922) was never constitutionally disestablished and was thus always the real Irish parliament. A small number of republicans from the Second Dáil, meeting in the 1930s voted to pass the Second Dáil's supposed legal authority to the Army Council of the IRA, making it in the eyes of some Irish republicans the "real" government of Ireland and the IRA the "real" army. (In 2005 Gerry Adams, President of Sinn FŽin, explicitly repudiated, at the Sinn FŽin Ard Fheis, this constitutional theory (previously the cornerstone of physical force republicanism's claim to legitimacy) and instead declared there was no legitimate government of Ireland as long as it was partitioned)
3. ^ O'Connor, Frank. The Big Fellow: Michael Collins and the Irish Revolution, Picador USA, New York (1998), page 37.
4. ^ Mackay, James. Michael Collins: A Life, p217
5. ^ Two Irish Gaelic titles correspond to the term "Irish Republic": Saorst‡t ƒireann (which literally meant "Free State of Ireland") and Poblacht na hƒireann. Irish language purists preferred the former title, which came from "real", previously existing Gaelic words, unlike the latter, a specially Gaelicised word).
6. ^ Debate on the Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland... from University College Cork
7. ^ Hopkinson, Michael. Green Against Green, the Irish Civil War, pp.83-87
8. ^ Mackay, James. Michael Collins: A Life, p260
9. ^ Dwyer, T. Ryle (2005) The Squad, Dublin, pp.256-258
10. ^ Coogan, Tim Pat. Michael Collins p.331
11. ^ Barrett, Suzanne (1997) "Michael Collins - Irish Patriot: 1890-1922 Commander-in-Chief, Irish Free State Army"
12. ^ Hopkinson, Green against Green, p176
13. ^ Hopkinson, Green against Green, p177
14. ^ Hopkinson, Green against Green, p 177
15. ^ a b c d Ryan, Meda The Day Michael Collins Was Shot p.125
16. ^ Green, Dana (2004) "Michael Collins: A Beloved Irish Patriot". Military History Online
17. ^ ibid.
[edit] External links
* Michael Collins 22 Society webpage
* Information on Collins from local tour operator
[edit] Further reading
* O'Connor, Frank (1937). The Big Fellow. ISBN 0-312-18050-0.
* Beaslai, Piaras. Life of Collins.
* O'Connor, Batt. With Michael Collins.
* Talbot, Hayden. Michael Collins' Own Story.
* Taylor, Rex. Michael Collins.
* Collins, Michael (1922). The Path to Freedom.
* Coogan, Tim Pat. Michael Collins: The Man Who Made Ireland.
[edit] Political career
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Walsh
(All-for-Ireland League) Sinn FŽin MP for Cork South
1918Ð1922 Succeeded by
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
Newly created constituency Sinn FŽin Teachta D‡la for Cork South
1918Ð1921 Succeeded by
Constituency abolished
Preceded by
Newly created constituency Sinn FŽin Teachta D‡la for Cork Mid, North, South, South East and West
1921Ð1922 Succeeded by
Seat vacant
Preceded by
Newly created constituency Sinn FŽin Teachta D‡la for Armagh
1921Ð1922 Succeeded by
Seat vacant
Political offices
Preceded by
Newly Created Office Minister for Home Affairs
Jan. 1919ÐApr. 1919 Succeeded by
Arthur Griffith
Preceded by
Eoin MacNeill Minister for Finance
1919Ð1922 Succeeded by
W. T. Cosgrave
Preceded by
Newly Created Office Chairman of the Provisional Government
Jan. 1922ÐAug. 1922
v ¥ d ¥ e
Prime Ministers of Ireland
Taoisigh na hƒireann
ƒamon de Valera ¥ John A. Costello ¥ Se‡n Lemass ¥ Jack Lynch ¥ Liam Cosgrave ¥ Charles Haughey ¥ Garret FitzGerald ¥ Albert Reynolds ¥ John Bruton ¥ Bertie Ahern
Previous prime ministerial offices under earlier constitutions:
Government of Ireland
Pr’omh Aire (1919Ð1921)
Cathal Brugha ¥ ƒÉamon de Valera
President of the Irish Republic (1921Ð1922)
ƒÉamon de Valera ¥ Arthur Griffith
Chairman of the Provisional Government (1922)
Michael Collins ¥ W. T. Cosgrave
President of the Executive Council (1922-1937)
W. T. Cosgrave ¥ ƒÉamon de Valera
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Collins_%28Irish_leader%29"
Categories: 1890 births | 1922 deaths | People of the Irish Civil War | Heads of Irish provisional governments | Irish Army generals | Irish Ministers for Finance | Irish politicians | Irish Republican Army members 1917-1922 | Guerrilla warfare theorists | Members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood | Members of the Parliament of Northern Ireland | Members of the 1st Dáil | Members of the 2nd Dáil | Members of the 3rd Dáil | Members of the United Kingdom Parliament for Irish constituencies (1801-1922) | UK MPs 1918-1922 | People from County Cork | Assassinated Irish politicians | Deaths by firearm in the Republic of Ireland | Burials at Glasnevin Cemetery | Alumni of King's College London
Data Changed:
Date: 15 Mar 2008
Time: 13:13:46
Note NI106The Big Fella assassinated in an ambush arranged by Éamon de Valera 12 days after Collins became President of Ireland on the death of Arthur Griffith. Refer to numerous biographies e.g. - Michael Collins by Tim Pat Coogan 1991 Arrow Books
"It's my considered opinion that in the fullness of time, history will record the greatness of Collins and it will be recorded at my expense" de Valera 1966 in his 85th year.
Michael was buried in a military grave in Glasnevin cemetery


  • WikiTree profile Collins-1984 created through the import of Hurley-Collins.GED on Sep 13, 2011 by David Hurley.
  • WikiTree profile Collins-3171 created through the import of 10Sweeney.GED on May 15, 2012 by Dominique Sweeney.
  • WikiTree profile Collins-3172 created through the import of 10Sweeney.GED on May 15, 2012 by Dominique Sweeney.

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Memories: 1

On 7 Jun 2016 David (Meredith) Loring wrote:

A biography of Michael Collins's Director of Intelligence has revealed that an important coded message from the 'Big Fella' to army headquarters in Dublin on August 22, 1922 was delayed, ultimately costing him his life.

“Emmet Dalton: Somme Soldier, Irish General, Film Pioneer” by Sean Boyne tells how on his fateful trip to West Cork, Collins ordered an army aircraft to be flown in to survey West Cork, where anti-Treaty forces were high, before his arrival.

But because of a delay in his message, the airborne search was never carried out. His message reached the National Army Headquarters in Portobello, Dublin at 8:35 pm, and was decoded by 10:20 pm. Collins had been fatally shot between 7:30 and 8 pm.

The book says that if the message had been sent earlier on the trip, Collins’s killers would have been spotted from above.

Major General Dalton was in the touring car with Collins at the time of the ambush; Collins died in his arms.

The Irish Independent reports that the new biography “tells the romantic and varied life story of Dalton,” and that it was per his request that Collins ordered the air surveillance at all.

A number of Collins’s riflemen had previously been waiting in the area, but departed and lifted a land mine when they thought Collins’ convoy wasn’t coming.

IRA scout John Galvin later spotted the convoy from afar, and alerted the remaining riflemen.

“Had Collins arrived just 15 minutes later, there might have been no ambush,” the Independent said.

General Dalton was a revered Free State army commander in the War of Independence, Collins’s Director of Intelligence and close friend, and a founding father of the Irish Defence Forces. He oversaw the transition of power from the British.

He also founded Ardmore Film Studios in Bray, Co. Wicklow in 1958.

Source: Irish Roots Central

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No known carriers of Michael's ancestors' Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests and no close relatives have taken a 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or Family Tree DNA "Family Finder" test.

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Images: 3
Major General Michael Collins
Major General Michael Collins

Michael Collins
Michael Collins

Michael Collins and Kitty Kiernan
Michael Collins and  Kitty Kiernan


On 5 Jan 2015 at 08:55 GMT Bree Ogle wrote:

Michael Collins and AJ Jacobs have 30 degrees of separation!

On 22 Aug 2014 at 17:03 GMT C (Cassidy) H wrote:

Michael is 29 degrees from Rosa Parks, 25 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 24 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

C  >  Collins  >  Michael Collins