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Essays and Such

Irish Cultural Society

of San Antonio Texas

ICH LOGO

Promoting Awareness of Irish Culture

Notes on Michael Collins
(1890-1922)
in the IRISH Revolution

 
Michael Collins (1890-1922)
.born October 16, 1890 near Sam's Cross, a tiny hamlet in West Cork. 
He was the youngest of eight children.

.attended national school at Lisavaird and came under the influence 
of Denis Lyons, an active member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood
 -- then a secret organization bent on ousting the British from 
Ireland, by force if necessary.

.by fifteen, was in London (living with his sister Hannie) and 
working for the Postal Savings Bank in West Kensington.

.returned to Ireland to take part in the 1916 uprising staged at 
the General Post Office (GPO); he received a Volunteer's 
uniform and was named Captain, second in command to Joseph Mary 
Plunkett.

.following the failed uprising (which left 450 dead, 300 of them 
civilians, and 2,614 wounded), many of the leaders were interned 
without trial. Ninety were sentenced to death but seventy-five 
were commuted to life in prison. Michael Collins spent several 
months in jail in Wales.

.David Lloyd George, England's new Prime Minister in 1916, made a 
good will gesture by releasing all internees except for the 
convicted ringleaders.

.upon his release, Collins returned to Dublin and set about 
reorganizing the Irish Republican Brotherhood. He was elected to 
the Sinn Fein executive and initiated an intelligence network, 
organized a national loan to fund a rebellion, and created an 
assassination squad known as THE TWELVE APOSTLES, also started an 
arms-smuggling operation.


.in 1919, he and Harry Boland (a Roscommon MP) and committed IRB 
man, went to Lincoln gaol in England to help Eamon De Valera 
escape. Soon Dev went to the U.S. to solicit funds for the Sinn 
Fein and Collins made frequent visits (at great personal risk to 
Dev's wife and children to insure their safety.

  .in January 1919, Dail Eireann (Assembly of Ireland)
- a constitutional assembly held its first session with the intent 
to establish the necessary machinery for an independent Irish 
Government. The British reacted with caution, fearful of war. They 
sent armies of the infamous Black and Tans to police Ireland.

.by 1920, Collins was wanted by the British with a price of 
£10,000 on his head.

in 1920, a British Labor party commission traveled through Ireland 
and uncovered the grim atrocities wrought by the Black and Tans. 
They were also mindful of the cost to the British taxpayer of 
maintaining such a force in Ireland.

.Arthur Griffith (founder of Sinn Fein) and Michael Collins led a 
delegation to London in October of 1921 to negotiate with the 
British. After much deliberation and desperation, they signed the 
Treaty which allowed the twenty-six counties a provisional 
government. When they returned home, there was serious 
disagreement with the terms of the Treaty and the Irish Republican 
Brotherhood split into pro-Treaty and anti≠Treaty forces which 
precipated Ireland's ten-month Civil War.

.Collins and De Valera found themselves in opposing camps. Collins 
was elected leader of the Irish Free State but on an inspection 
tour in Co. Cork, he was ambushed at Beal na mBlath (the mouth 
of flowers) and shot to death. The fatal day was August 22, 1922. 
Ten thousand people lined the streets of Dublin as the cortege 
made its way to Glasnevin cemetary.

(info. made possible by Suzanne Barrett's WEB page:
www2.cruzio.com/.sbarrett/mcollins.htm.)