Tim Pat Coogan – historian of 20th century Ireland

photo of Tim Pat Coogan at work (courtesy of independent.ie)

Tim Pat Coogan at work (courtesy of independent.ie)

Tim Pat Coogan is generally recognized as Ireland’s foremost writer on its modern history; encompassing both the Revolutionary Era 1913 – 1923, and subsequent Troubles which continued throughout the 20th century. Being the leading authority in Ireland, it’s safe to say that would make him the greatest authority in the world on these topics.

Recent notorious efforts by certain academics to challenge that supremacy added nothing to their dignity; but served only to affirm Coogan’s unassailable stature as an historian, and popularity with the public.

Coogan is uniquely qualified indeed to explore this terrain. In his capacity as a journalist, he has interviewed, over decades, practically every surviving major participant from the War of Independence and Civil War. His books are the product of vast, minute original research; drawn not only from archival documents, but also from numerous personal contacts. His own family members, who themselves took part in these conflicts, included his father, Eamonn Coogan, who was active in the War of Independence, and served as a deputy commissioner in the post-Civil War government. His mother was among very few women who wrote for the Evening Herald in the 1920s, and was also active in the legendary Abbey Theatre: a hotbed of revolutionary ferment at the time.

Coogan got his start with the Irish Press, rising to the editor’s chair, which he occupied from 1968 – 1987. Yet while owing so much to the DeValera family (Irish Press owners) still his treatment of the Collins-DeValera conflict demonstrates penetrating integrity and fairness. Subsequent writers are deeply indebted to him for his sterling research, and painstaking examination of that controversy.

His landmark 1990 biography of Michael Collins remains, at this writing, head and shoulders above all others. It stands alone in being an authoritative compendium of all previous work on Collins’ life.

The mighty labour of such a detailed, full-scale biography, might necessarily preclude an exhaustive examination of any one particular day, however important. For this reason, despite the awe-inspiring stature of Coogan’s work, this author has ventured to attempt to add something to his invaluable work, on that particular subject.

His very kind approbation of “The Assassination of Michael Collins: What Happened at Béal na mBláth?” represents for this writer the zenith of all possible praise. So much the more generous, in that the book he commends is by no means entirely uncritical of his own conclusions on the same subject.

 

photo of Tim Pat Coogan

 

www.timpatcoogan.com

http://timpatcoogan.com/books.htm

 

Read more
The Assassination of Michael Collins:
What Happened At Béal na mBláth?”

Book cover image - 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

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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

 

 

Michael Collins in the 1916 Rising

photo of Michael Collins as a young recruit 1916

Michael Collins as a young recruit 1916

Michael Collins is famous for his role in realizing what was “beyond our wildest dreams in 1916.”  Yet fewer are familiar with the part he played in the ill-fated Rising himself.

In 1906, shortly before his sixteenth birthday, Michael Collins took a job as a clerk in London, where an elder sister was already established.  Here he assuaged a keen homesickness for Ireland, by way of enthusiastic participation in London’s Irish community.  The Gaelic Athletics League, the Geraldines Hurling Club, ceilis, and friends from Cork helped create a welcoming social island in the British metropolis. Continuing to write, he presented papers at political societies which supported Irish independence; where he became known as “a Wolfe Tone republican” in his outlook.

By 1914 he was secretary to the London and Southeastern district  of the the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), a clandestine body organizing the struggle for independence. In April 1914, along with his cousin and close friend Sean Hurley, he enlisted with the London Brigade of the Irish Volunteers. When the Easter Rebellion of 1916 was in its planning stages, he and a number of his boyhood friends from home all volunteered together.

During the Easter Rising, Collins served as staff Captain and aide-de-camp to Joseph Plunkett, at the Rising’s headquarters in the General Post Office building (the “GPO”.) There he and his comrades underwent a crucible of fire. Hundreds of vastly outnumbered and out-gunned republicans held out against thousands of British troops, under brutal artillery bombardment, for a week. There, and in the Rising’s aftermath, he saw many of his mentors and closest friends lose their lives.

Following the Rising he was imprisoned with over a thousand others. The execution of the Rising’s leaders thrust young men like himself to the fore. As he boarded the boat with fellow prisoners, he was already discussing plans for “next time.” While still interned at the prison camp, he was instrumental in re-organizing the survivors: first in a campaign of non-cooperation with prison authorities.  Later planning the underground campaign, which would lead ultimately to Britain’s capitulation in 1921.

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/
As a history and mystery buff I couldn’t help but keep reading..”

https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/the-assassination-of-michael-collins
“... a great read on a fascinating story …
The Assassination of Michael Collins is definitely a must-read if you have any interest in this period of Irish history, or any interest in Collins himself.”

Or ask at your local book shopAssassination of Michael Collins COVER

Michael Collins: The real meaning of the 1916 Rising

1916 Proclamation heading close-up

How Ireland Made Her Case Clear

Following are excerpts from Michael Collins’ own writings on 1916 and the struggle for Irish freedom

“The period from 1914 to 1918 is an important one in the struggle for Irish freedom.  It was a transition period.  It saw a wholesome & necessary departure from the ideas and methods which had been held & adopted for a generation, and it is a period which is misread by a great many of our people, even by some who helped that departure, and who helped to win the success we have achieved.

“The real importance of the Rising of 1916 did not  become apparent until 1918.  It is not correct to say now that the assertion of the republican principle which was stated by the leaders of the Rising was upheld as the national policy without a break.  The declaration of a Republic was really in advance of national thought, and it was only after a period of two years’ propaganda that we were actually able to get solidarity on the idea.

“The European War, which began in 1914, is now generally recognised to have been a war between two rival empires…Germany spoke frankly of her need for expansion, and for new fields of enterprise for her surplus population.  England, who likes to fight under a high-sounding title, got her opportunity in the invasion of Belgium.  She was entering the war ‘in defence of the freedom of small nationalities.

“America at first looked on, but she accepted the motive in good faith, and she ultimately joined in … ‘Shall,’ asked President Wilson, ‘the military power of any nation … be suffered to determine the fortunes of peoples over whom they have no right to rule except the right of force?

“But the most flagrant instance of the violation of this principle did not seem to strike … President Wilson, and he led the American nation – peopled so largely by Irish men & women who had fled from British oppression – into the battle and to the side of that nation which for hundreds of years had determined the fortunes of the Irish people against their wish, and had ruled them, and was still ruling them, by no other right than the right of force.

“There were created by the Allied Powers half-a-dozen new Republics as a demonstration of adherence to these principles.  At the same time, England’s military subjection of Ireland continued.  And Ireland was a nation with claims as strong as, or stronger than, those of the other small nations.

This subjugation constituted a mockery of those principles, yet the expression of them before the world as principles for which great nations were willing to pour out their  blood and treasure gave us the opportunity to raise again our flag of freedom and to call the attention of the world to the denial of our claim.

“We were not pro-German during the war any more than we were pro-Bulgarian, pro-Turk, or anti-French.  We were anti-British, pursuing our age-long policy against the common enemy.  Not only was this our policy, but it was the policy that any weak nation would have pursued in the same circumstances…

“We remembered that England’s difficulty was Ireland’s opportunity, and we took advantage of her engagement elsewhere to make a bid for freedom.  The odds between us were for the moment a little less unequal… We had made common cause with France when France was fighting England.  We made common cause with Spain when Spain was fighting England.  We made common cause with the Dutch when the Dutch were fighting England…

“Our position was our old position.  Our aim was our old aim.  Our intention was simply to secure liberation from the English occupation …

“The Rising expressed our right to freedom.  It expressed our determination to have the same liberty of choice in regard to our own destinies as was conceded to Poland or Czecho-Slovakia, or any other of the nations that were emerging as a result of the new doctrines being preached…

Our claim was to govern ourselves … It was a gesture to the world that there could be no confusion about. It was an emphasis of our separate nationhood and a declaration that our ultimate goal was and would continue to be complete independence...

“We were to learn that freedom was to be secured by traveling along a different road … that it was [the English] presence alone which denied it to us, and we must make that presence uncomfortable for them, and that the only question between us and them was the terms on which they would clear out and cease their interference with us.”

 Read more
Path to Freedom cover image
The Path to Freedom
by Michael Collins
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/157332.A_Path_to_Freedom

 

 

Book Cover - The Assassination of Michael Collins: What Happened at Béal na mBláth?

 

 

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

Best Reads of the year – Rabid Readers Reviews
http://www.rabidreaders.com/2015/01/05/best-rabid-readers-reviews-reads-of-2014/

Customer reviews:
http://goo.gl/sDmWfh

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.

 

No royals at 1916 commemorations

Irish Citizen Army 1916

The Irish Citizen Army 1916: “We serve neither King nor Kaiser, but Ireland!”

A major public debate is now in progress, concerning the suggestion that members of the British royal family might be invited to attend official commemorations of the 1916 Easter Rising. 

Permission has been obtained to re-blog here the following excellent analysis by an anonymous poster at an online forum.

If the royal family wishes to show respect for Ireland’s national independence day, the best way they can express that is to stay home. And write us a nice letter.

During President Michael O’Higgins’ state visit to the UK, we are informed that the Queen “invited herself” to Dublin’s official 2016 commemoration ceremonies. This immediately gave rise to controversy; and rightly so.

Because the question immediately becomes not shall we receive her, but can we refuse?

This is evident in that the Dublin mayor, in expressing his opposition to royals at Easter Rising events, has already felt it necessary to apologize for any offended feelings in the UK.

The Queen’s very manner of raising the question gives the game away. She’s already treating us like subjects. She’s already making herself at home, as if this were her domain.

‘Inviting herself,’ in her world, is to magnanimously send word ahead that one is to be honoured by the royal presence. That’s what she does in England. And at this resounding word, everyone scurries about, breathlessly preparing a suitable reception. Because it’s an honour they can’t refuse.

But she’s not at home here. This has slipped her mind. She must be made to remember it.

Because let a reigning British sovereign but once attend, and a precedent is set. Receiving royals at 1916 events will come to be seen as an obligation. And to refuse them would then be an international incident.

Overnight their presence at 1916 events will have become in effect obligatory. Where we are obliged to receive, they will reign. And the path they trod will be thick with their followers, official and unofficial, overt and covert.

If we already dare not refuse, for fear of giving offense, that is the greatest reason why her self-invitation to this sonorous national occasion must be declined.

The Dublin government must refuse: just to prove that it can.

The 1916 Rising is not an event to commemorate by clinking glasses with British royalty.

It marks an epoch on this island which is defined, above all, by our right to be entirely free from the British Crown and all its works.

It’s argued that it’s a statement of confidence in our independence, that we can now magnanimously put past conflicts aside, to entertain the Queen, as we would any other visiting diplomat.

But an English sovereign can never be any other visiting diplomat. Nor is Ireland’s independence so very complete or secure; as the international banking collapse has proven.

Relations between Ireland and England will always require great delicacy and circumspection; if the laudable dream of mutual respect is to be realized.

The Queen, as the UK’s number one diplomat, showed a sad lack of such delicacy or circumspection, when she condescendingly informed us to prepare to receive her.

No Irish man or woman should ever apologize to any UK citizen for our right to determine who we shall or shall not invite to our national events, or for any other decision taken by the Irish people, as a nation.

Thanks for inviting yourself, but no, you can’t come.  That’s all.  End of story.  No apologies.” 

This writer can only wonder … What would Michael Collins do?

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

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

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

Or ask at your local bookshop

Michael Collins Commemoration 2014

photo of 1st Commemoration 1923

The first Commemoration, 1923

Béal na mBláth Annual Commemoration 2014
will take place Sunday 24 August 3PM
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.

This year’s main speaker will be broadcaster / author George Hook, whose wit and wisdom are an institution on the airwaves.

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/201-oration/

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

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/

See George Hook’s latest book
http://www.omahonys.ie/catalog/this-is-rugby-p-380663.html

Mary Banotti’s book: “There’s Something About Mary
http://www.amazon.com/Theres-Something-About-Mary-Banotti/dp/1856079627

** 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

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