Six days before his own death
Michael Collins (October 16, 1890 –August 22 1922) was an Irish revolutionary leader, Minister for Finance and Teachta Dála (TD) for Cork South in the First Dáil of 1919, Director of Intelligence for the IRA, and member of the Irish delegation during the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations. Subsequently, he was both Chairman of the Provisional Government and Commander-in-chief of the National Army. Throughout this time he was also President of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and, therefore, under the bylaws of the Brotherhood, President of the Irish Republic. Collins was shot and killed in August 1922, during the Irish Civil War.
Although most Irish political parties recognize his contribution to the foundation of the modern Irish state, supporters of Fine Gael hold his memory in particular esteem, regarding him as their movement's founding father, through his link to their precursor Cumann na nGaedheal (Society of the Gaels).
In this Irish Politics unit, we are investigating historical political antecedents of The Troubles – including Easter 1916 Rising, Patrick Pearse and the Fenians, the Proclamation of the Republic, revolution and civil war, Éamonn de Valera, Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil, and Michael Collins and the Irish Volunteers. This week, we watched the 1996 Neil Jordan film, Michael Collins (voted Best Picture at the 1996 Venice Film Festival) – about the rise and fall of one of the most important and controversial figures in Ireland's struggle for independence. For a succint overview of events depicted in the film, see the Mark Deming review.
This post will serve as a space for sharing reflections on, ideas and inquiries about, and responses to the film that personally resonate - as well as found resources while cybersleuthing, and during discussions and other research activities.