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
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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:

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)

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:

Assassination of Michael Collins COVER

“Michael Collins, a Musical Drama” at Kilkenny Musical Society


MCmusical2 MCmusical3

Collins’ life and times have everything that makes for great theatre of operatic proportions: love, war, heroism, villainy, high tragedy, ultimate triumph, and a cast of thousands.

Yet what librettist today would ever have the political saavy to tackle the complex and delicate issues of Collins’ story? What composer would be equal to rendering the epic nature of Ireland’s struggle for independence? No one, you might say …

Well, I have seen the musical. And it is that good.

Think “Les Miz” meets the Neal Jordan film. Above all, they get the story right. Or we should say he got it right: the show is entirely written by one Brian Flynn, who can hold his head up among both Collins aficanados and the best composers today. The music is hot and infectious. It ranges from the mysterious ambient to hopping latin-afro-celtic. Vocal solos, duets, trios and choruses of ravishing beauty and power just keep coming, throughout the evening.

“Michael Collins – A Musical Drama”
by Brian Flynn

Performances through Saturday 12 April
8 PM Tickets €12 – €18

Watergate Theatre
Parliament Street
Kilkenny, County Kilkenny
353 56 7761674
Presented by Kilkenny Musical Society

Soundtrack album on iTunes:

The Assassination of Michael Collins: What Happened At Béal na mBláth?
by SM Sigerson


See photos from the original cast production:




What did Nelson Mandela and Michael Collins have in common?


Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela


(The following is an excerpt from the new book

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

“Ireland’s independence was not achieved by a letter-writing campaign. . . . What do these popular leaders, so far separated by time and place, have in common?  What was similar about their lives and deaths and struggles?

Consider also Emiliano Zapata (assassinated en route to peace negotiations); Augusto Sandino (assassinated under cover of peace negotiations); Che Guevara (eased out by former comrades as the revolution consolidated victory); Mahatma Ghandi, Salvador Allende, Martin Luther King, the Kennedies, Patrice Lamumba . . . The list goes on.
Why would and why do such gifted people sacrifice themselves for the common good? . . .

“The larger picture of republican revolutions in world history is very much a work in progress.  We, the natives of modern Western democracies are the living products of that political maelstrom: the ending of which has yet to be written.  What John Stuart Mill called the great modern social and spiritual transition.  In this greater ongoing process, Ireland is indubitably a success story . . .

“. . . Statistics show that modern democracies, governed on principles of universal human / civil rights, the rule of law and separation of powers, are the most successful form of government.   Such republics tend to be more prosperous and more stable than autocracies.  Countries where the public has a powerful voice in decision-making are dramatically less likely to go to war, or to deteriorate into anarchy.  Such stability fosters more flourishing trade, health, industry, learning and generally enhanced cultural and economic development, over longer sustained periods.”

Paperback or Kindle edition here: 


photo of Michael Collins' death mask

Michael Collins’ death mask

From the Introduction:
Why do we need to know?

“…There are those who disparage such inquiry. Some characterize this as raising bygone ghosts of a past era, needlessly re-hashing dead issues, etc. But the issues surrounding Michael Collins’ end are very far from closed.

The 26-county Republic of Ireland, and the 6-county Northern Ireland statelet, directly owe their ex-istence, their institutional structures, and much of their history, to Michael Collins’ life and times; to the controversies which culminated in his death; and to the travesties which his death enabled.

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:

All other e-reader formats:

Read reviews:

Or ask at your local book shop

From the Introduction