A Michael Collins Christmas

photo of Michael Collins & friends at the Gresham Hotel

Michael Collins & friends at the Gresham Hotel

During the height of the Tan War, David Neligan, Collins’ “Spy in the Castle”, recounts the Big Fella inviting him to Christmas dinner at the Gresham Hotel. Collins asked whether Neligan would be there.

“No!” exclaimed Neligan, “And neither should you! It’s the most dangerous place to be tonight!”

Still Collins was determined to regale his closest associates with holiday cheer, in the best hotel in Dublin, as planned.

The festivities were in full swing when the party was raided by the notorious Auxiliaries. What’s more, it was not the most random spot check. They had a photo of Collins ready to hand, (probably snipped from the 1919 group photo of the First Dail,) and were looking for him there. An officer promptly fastened on the Big Fella, and dragged him off to the men’s room for interrogation. He was searched, and a small notebook from his pocket was scrutinized. One entry seemed to be a reminder to order “rifles”.

Collins persisted in taking all their questions with easy-going bemusement, as a tremendously droll mistake. He assured them they were reading his scrawl all wrong: that it really said “refills”. He kept up his good humor as they yanked back his head by the hair, staring at the photo & then at his face. It went on for half an hour or more.

photo of The Gresham Hotel, Dublin

However, at last they gave it up, persuaded that this must be the wrong fellow entirely. Collins went back to the dinner, and ordered drinks all around; while the Auxies continued to hover about, watching the party closely.

It was quietly decided that the wisest course under these circumstances was to get truly, indubitably, certifiably drunk. It was one of the only occasions throughout the war when Collins was seen to be visibly intoxicated.

And so the most wanted men in Ireland did uproarious justice to the good things before them, and all slept sound in their beds that night.

Read more
The Assassination of Michael Collins:
What Happened At Béal na mBláth?
by S M Sigerson

Book cover image - The Assassination of Michael Collins - What Happened at Béal na mBláthPaperback or Kindle edition here:
www.amazon.com/dp/1493784714

All other e-reader formats:
www.smashwords.com/books/view/433954

Read reviews:
http://www.rabidreaders.com/2014/12/03/assassination-michael-collins-s-m-sigerson-2/

Or ask at your local book shop The Spy in the Castle COVER

The Spy in the Castle
by David Neligan
www.amazon.com/Spy-Castle-David-Neligan/dp/0953569705

 

graphic of Christmas garland

2022 Michael Collins Centenary: What happened at Béal na mBláth?

photo of Michael Collins close-up in uniform 1922

 Michael Collins’ 2022 Centenary will offer unprecedented opportunities to examine, celebrate, and reflect on the meaning of his life and death.
How should it be observed?

The 1916 Rising was neither the beginning, nor the end of the movement for Irish independence; nor of the Revolutionary Era (whether counted from 1900 or 1913 through 1923.)

The Rising would always have significance in itself, even if it were a stand-alone event. Its greatest significance, however, is in those who survived it: who went forth from it to organize, to carry on the cause of independence, in the amazing achievements of 1919-1922.

Ireland’s “Decade of Centenaries” has so much to explore, celebrate, remember, between now and 2022: the centenary of Michael Collins’ death.

The Rising Centenary has brought to light a wealth of original materials, records, testimony, which had long languished unexamined, inaccessible to the public. The study of this period has thereby been greatly enriched, on countless levels; which may never be understood in our lifetime.

It opened a vast, new, fertile debate in Ireland, on the Rising’s meaning, causes, effects. How successful was that revolution? Is Ireland truly independent today? Has it ever been? Can Ireland yet be called independent while the UK still claims dominion over six counties in the North? Was violent conflict unavoidable? Did taking down the Union Jack & raising the Tricolor, as James Connolly warned us, in itself, solve none of Ireland’s problems?

These are questions still debated today. Most of us, inside & outside of Ireland, recognize the establishment of the Dáil & Dublin government, the conclusive departure of the British Army and British colonial administration from 26 of 32 counties, as a tremendous achievement; as Collins (a Rising veteran) himself said, “…beyond our wildest dreams in 1916.

Between now and 2022, we’ll have a chance to celebrate the achievements of those who survived the Rising: who raised the siege of 1919-1921, and forced the British to the negotiating table (a development they considered unthinkable in 1916.)

In this there is much to be learned: about what happened to the dream and promise of the 1916 Proclamation, and those who fought for it.

To ponder his death and his life eternally…

Read more
The Assassination of Michael Collins:
What Happened At Béal na mBláth?”
by S M Sigerson
Book cover image - The Assassination of Michael Collins - What Happened at Béal na mBláth
Paperback or Kindle edition here:
www.amazon.com/dp/1493784714

All other e-reader formats:
www.smashwords.com/books/view/433954 

Read reviews: 
http://www.rabidreaders.com/2014/12/03/assassination-michael-collins-s-m-sigerson-2/ 

https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/the-assassination-of-michael-collins

Or ask at your local book shop

 

 

Northern Ireland, Michael Collins, and mysterious shootings

1922 McMahon family murders NI Image

McMahon family murders, Belfast, Northern Ireland 1922

What do mysterious shootings & political crises in Northern Ireland have in common with Michael Collins?

No one ever took responsibility for the suspicious killing of Michael Collins in 1922. His sudden death changed the government and the future of his country.

As David Neligan put it, (Collins’ “spy in the Castle,” later a founder of Dublin’s own law enforcement system):

“By means of an old police trick: pretending that his comrades had betrayed him”

Or, in this excerpt from
The Assassination of Michael Collins: What Happened At Béal na mBláth?“:

With Collins removed, subsequent Dublin governments were content, or reduced, to leave northern nationalists twisting in the wind.

Thus it may be seen that removing Collins would have been critical to the fulfillment of British imperialist agendas for the north: agendas which such elements proved demonstrably willing to kill for, and to go on killing for, indefinitely.”

Qui bono? Who gains?

Read more 

Assassination of Michael Collins COVER

The Assassination
of Michael Collins:

What Happened
at Béal na mBláth?

by S M Sigerson
Paperback or Kindle edition here:
www.amazon.com/dp/1493784714

All other e-reader formats:
www.smashwords.com/books/view/433954

Read reviews:
http://www.rabidreaders.com/2014/12/03/assassination-michael-collins-s-m-sigerson-2/
Or ask at your local book shop

The Spy in the Castle COVER
The Spy in the Castle
by David Neligan
http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Spy-Castle-David-Nelligan/dp/0953569705

 

The Mcmahon Family Murders and the Belfast Troubles 1920-1922 COVER

 

The Mcmahon Family Murders
and the Belfast Troubles 1920-1922

(Belfast’s secret history series)
by Joe Baker
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mcmahon-Murders-Troubles-1920-1922-Belfasts/dp/B001A4FYMY


(The photo at the head of this post is courtesy of this book by J Baker.  Its amazon link is provided with apologies: as this interesting work can be difficult to obtain.)

 

Béal na mBláth Annual Commemoration

photo of Beal na mBlath Commemoration
Béal na mBláth Annual Commemoration
(Anniversary of the death of Michael Collins)
Sunday 23 August 3PM 2015
at the monument
Béal na mBláth, Crookstown
County Cork
Republic of Ireland

“…I grew up with a rich lore of family history and virtually total silence outside the family. … There was never a mention of his name in the discussion of national life, except on the occasion of a visit to Béal na mBláth in August. All of that changed …”
–  Mary Banotti (grand-niece of Michael Collins)

Why do we gather at Béal na mBláth?

Michael Collins was one of the founding fathers of modern Ireland. His birth, in a quiet country farmhouse, caused no stir. Yet his death sent shockwaves around the world and down generations; which reverberate to this day.

The anniversary of one’s passing is an occasion very much observed in Irish culture; perhaps more than in any other country. Collins’ belongs to the nation. Yet he also belongs to people all over the world. “Because a story like his is for all people, everywhere, in all times.” **

The Commemoration’s annual oration is always delivered by a national figure of note. These have included Collns’ grandnieces, former legislator Helen Collins, and former Minister for Justice Nora Owen (now presenter of TV3’s “Midweek”); as well as Former President Mary Robinson (now UN Commissioner on climate change.) In 2012, the 90th anniversary marked the first time that the oration was given by a serving Taoiseach.

If you’re a Michael Collins fan, and you’re in Ireland in August, it’s not to be missed.

Visit the Commemoration webiste:
http://www.bealnamblathcommemoration.com

Commemorative edition: 90th Anniversary pictorial history
http://www.bealnamblathcommemoration.com/buy-the-book/  Béal-na-mBláth-book COVER

Read more of Mary Banotti’s chapter in
Michael Collins and the Making of the Irish State
(Gabriel Doherty & Dermot Keogh, editors)
http://www.mercierpress.ie/irish-books/michael_collins_and_the_making_of_the_irish_state/

Michael Collins and the Making of Irish State COVER

** Read more:

“The Assassination
of Michael Collins:

What Happened At
Béal na mBláth?”

by S M Sigerson
www.amazon.com/dp/1493784714  (Paperback or Kindle)

For all other e-reader formats:
www.smashwords.com/books/view/433954

 OR ASK AT YOUR LOCAL BOOKSHOP
Assassination of Michael Collins COVER

Arthur Griffith & Michael Collins: Were their deaths connected?

Photo of Arthur Griffith (1871-1922)

Arthur Griffith 1871-1922)

(The following is an excerpt from the book
“The Assassination of Michael Collins: What Happened at Béal na mBláth?”)

Griffith, the founder of Sinn Fein, is considered by many to have been the leading strategist of Ireland’s 20th century independence movement … After ages of continual battle against British imperialism, it was his genius for uniting Ireland’s internal divisions, which brought nationalism into a new, ultimately victorious phase …

… The chances seem astronomical against there having been anything either “accidental”, “random”, or “natural” about the sudden death, within days of each other, of Michael Collins, Arthur Griffith, and Harry Boland. Even in the dangerous environment of the Civil War, it would be about equivalent to being struck by lightening while holding a winning lottery ticket.

P S O’Hegerty quotes Griffith himself as saying, in their interview on June 30, “Of course, those fellows will assassinate Collins and myself. DeValera is responsible for this, for all of it. There would have been no trouble but for him.”

[The Cabinet “junta’s”] first step was to isolate Arthur Griffith … shortly before his death [P Moylett] found Griffith sitting alone with not even a secretary or typist available to him.  –  John M Feehan 

Collins, who was working intimately with Griffith on a daily basis at the time, by no means took his death so much for granted as historians have been willing to do. As shown in his personal correspondence:

The death of poor Mr Griffith was indeed a shock to us all, more so naturally to those of us who had been intimate with him, and who thought that his illness was a very slight thing indeed. We shall miss for many a day his cheerful presence and his wise counsel … He had sounder political judgement than any of us, and in this way we shall feel his absence very keenly. 

Although no bounding youth like the C-in-C, Griffith, at 51, was hardly decrepit. The negotiations with Britain, the deterioration of the country into Civil War, certainly would place a tremendous strain on anyone in his highly responsible position. Yet, lest we forget, since the founding of Sinn Fein in 1905, Griffith had lived in the eye of a political storm. His life had consisted of unending controversy, continual persecution; in the course of which he endured years of imprisonment, and constant threat of arrest or assassination.

Yet P S O’Hegerty was even more shocked at Griffith’s demise:

Until the last few months, he never lay in a sickbed. Whoever else died, we felt sure that it would not be Griffith – Griffith with the iron will, the iron constitution, the imperturbable nerve. Griffith, whom we all thought certain to live to be one hundred and write the epitaph of all of us.  Griffith, upon whom we all leaned and depended.

At the time of Griffith’s death, the Civil War was in full swing. A list appears to have issued from some quarter, indicating that members of the Dublin government were to be shot on sight at the first opportunity. Government Buildings became for Griffith and other ministers “a place of internment,” for their own safety…

As for DeValera, that ambitious statesman would never have the most potent political voice in Ireland, as long as Griffith still lived.  Nor would any post-war government led by Griffith ever be supine to British interests …

Read more
“The Assassination of Michael Collins:
What Happened At Béal na mBláth?”
by S M Sigerson
Paperback or Kindle edition here:
www.amazon.com/dp/1493784714

All other e-reader formats:
www.smashwords.com/books/view/433954

Read reviews:
http://www.rabidreaders.com/2014/12/03/assassination-michael-collins-s-m-sigerson-2/

OR ASK AT YOUR LOCAL BOOK SHOP

Assassination of Michael Collins COVER

The bombardment of Four Courts: Who gave the order?

photo of the bombardment of Four Courts, June 1922

The bombardment of Four Courts, June 1922

There clearly seems to be a need for a definitive study on the
actual commencement of hostilities [in the Civil War ]. 

– John M Feehan

Did Michael Collins give the order to begin the bombardment of Four Courts?  Historians have presumed so; but no more.  There is no record of precisely who gave the order.

(Excerpts from the book:)

“We, the undersigned officers of the IRA, realising the gravity of the present situation in Ireland, and appreciating the fact that if the present drift is maintained a conflict of comrades is inevitable, declare that this would be the greatest calamity in Irish history, and would leave Ireland broken for generations…”

– “The Army Document” signed by Michael Collins and an
equal number of
prominent pro- & anti-Treaty officers, 1922

The evidence casts considerable doubt as to whether the order to commence the artillery bombardment of Four Courts ever came from Collins himself…

The hindsight of history demonstrates that he was among the leaders who clearly foresaw just how terrible a disaster these hostilities would bring. Amidst all the trigger-happy  factions, baying for blood at that juncture, in the Free State government, in London, and in anti-Treaty camps, Collins by far most strenuously and continually resisted giving battle…

As subsequent events proved, his judgement on this was excellent. It was that explosion of the Four Courts, which he was so keen to avoid, that set off the chain of events which, ultimately, took his own life … he outlived the first shells to hit Inns Quay, by only fifty-five days.

In this sense, the mysteries surrounding the bombardment of Four Courts are directly related to the death of Collins: who may with justice be called one of its first casualties.

Read more
“The Assassination of Michael Collins:
What Happened At Béal na mBláth?”
by S M Sigerson
Paperback or Kindle edition here:
www.amazon.com/dp/1493784714

All other e-reader formats:
www.smashwords.com/books/view/433954

Read reviews:
http://www.rabidreaders.com/2014/12/03/assassination-michael-collins-s-m-sigerson-2/

Or ask at your local book shop

 

 

Feallmharú Michael Collins: Cad a tharla ag Béal na mBláth?

This post is in the Irish language (Gaielge)
Read in English here:

https://collinsassassination.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/from-the-introd/

photo of Michael Collins speaking on a podium

Michael Collins

Cad chuige an gá dúinn eolas a bheith againn?

Cad chuige a bhfuil ga le leabhar eile faoi Michael Collins? Cad chuige a bhfuil an ghné áirithe seo dá scéal mar fhócas leabhair?

Is duine é Michael Collins atá in inmhe daoine a spreagadh fud fad an domhain. Tá ceachtanna suntasacha le fáil ag gach náisiún mar gheall ar a choimhlintí, buanna agus tragóidí agus iad a bhí ag Éirinn chomh maith.

Is é ábhar a bháis mistéirigh a ghnóthaigh níos mó na leabhar amháin roimhe seo. Ach fós féin tá go leor ceisteanna gan freagra: nó gan freagraí sásúla. Agus ó thaobh an fhiosrúcháin a rinneadh tá sé lochtach go mór. Is fiú níos mó airde a thabhairt don díospóireacht mar a sheasann sé anois. Tá sé breis is tríocha bliain ó foilsíodh an leabhar deireanach a bhí dírithe air. Tá sé breis is fiche bliain ó bhí comóradh a bhreithe ann I 1990 a chuir tús le hathbheochan úr le staidéar ar a shaol. Nocht an athbheochan seo saibhreas iontach taighde agus anailíse.

Agus fós táthar ann a dhéanann díspeagadh ar fhiosrúchán den sórt seo. Maíonn cuid acu gur ag tógáil taibhsí ó aimsir chianda atá ann, ag tógáil ceisteanna atá caite srl. Ach is fada ó chaite atá na saincheisteanna a bhaineann le críoch Michael Collins.

Is mar gheall ar Collins agus saol a linne go bhfuil Poblacht na hÉireann, sé chontae is fiche ann chomh maith leis an stáitín, Tuaisceart Éireann a bhfuil sé chontae ann agus a gcuid struchtúr institiúideach chomh maith le cuid mhaith den stair na n-áiteanna. Tá baint acu leis na conspóidí a raibh a bhás mar thoradh orthu agus na mórmheancóga a lean é.

Níl sé fíor le rá gur bhain Collins é féin an troid ar son na saoirse ach ta sé fíor le rá gan Collins go gcaillfeadh Éire an cogadh.  – J Feehan

Tagann na struchtúir chumhachta dúchasacha anuas chugainn ón phointe sárthábhachtach sin. Mar a fheictear i “Réamhrá” an leabhair seo, chuir eilimintí atá diongbháilte in institiúidí náisiúnta, chuir siad bac ar phlé an tréimhse sin ó shin.

Cad é is féidir linn a thuigbheáil ó seo ach go bhfuil rún éigin atá le nochtú fós? Rún éigin a mbeadh tionchar nach beag aige fiú inniu dá nochtfaí é. Fírinne éigin ceilte atá chomh cumhachtach sin nár bhain sé a spriocdháta díola amach fós. Tá dreasacht éigin chumhachtach beo fós chun an plé seo a chosc; plé a bheadh pléascach.

Caithfidh meas a bheith ar an teaghlach marthanach agus an dóigh a ndéanann siad iarracht sean fhuathanna a chur ar ceal agus aontas náisiúnta a chur ina n-áit, rud a bhí mar phrióireacht ag Collins féin. Ach cé go meastar in áiteanna go bhfuil a bhás féin ina ábhar iontach conspóideach cruthaíonn seo nach ceist acadúil ná scéal lorgaireachta é (cé gur féidir leis seo a bheith amhlaidh.)

Is ionann náisiún a dhéanann dearmad ar phríomhphointí a staire féin agus duine a bhfuil galar Alzheimer air. Agus féadann sin a bheith ina thinneas sóisialta atá scriosach. Cé go bhfuil sé tábhachtach ó thaobh na réadúlachta, polaitíochta agus mothúchánacha de go stadann daoine de bheith ag argóint faoin am a chuaigh thart tá bás Collins ina ceist ollmhór staire gan fuascailt. Agus fós féin ní bhfuair sé an t-iniúchadh uileghabhálach atá tuillte aici.

How long shall they kill our prophets,
while we stand aside and look?  – Bob Marley

I measc na bpointí achrannacha a chruthaíonn an stair ghoilliúnach seo an cheist is mó le bheith mothúchánach faoi agus mé ag scríobh: in Éirinn nach bhfuil chomh fada imithe ón ghlúin sin chun a aicsin a mheas le cothrom na Féinne.  Taobh thiar de seo tá cosc sóisialta ann ag moladh ról Collins ar eagla ról De Valera a cháineadh. Tá sé béasach, glactar leis, gan tuairimí a nochtadh a chuirfeadh isteach ar dhaoine, go háirithe iad siúd a chaill gaolta, ar mhaithe le hargóintí a bheadh ciméarach.

Iad siúd nach gcuimhníonn a rinneadh tá siad damnaithe chun é a athdhéanamh.

Ní bhíonn an rud nua ann. Tá seo amhlaidh leis na modhanna a úsáidtear le ceannairí a fheallmharú, go háirithe iad a chruthaíonn fórsa láidir as a muintir le haghaidh dínite, cothrom na féinne agus féinchinntiúcháin.

 Leagan Bearla:
The Assassination of Michael Collins:
What Happened At Béal na mBláth?

by S M Sigerson
(Leagan leabhair gaielge ag ullmhú.)

Paperback or Kindle edition here:
www.amazon.com/dp/1493784714

All other e-reader formats:
www.smashwords.com/books/view/433954

Read reviews:
http://www.rabidreaders.com/2014/12/03/assassination-michael-collins-s-m-sigerson-2/

Nó iarr ar do siopa leabhar áitiúil.