Michael Collins. Born 1890 on this Day in Irish History

October 16: TODAY in Irish History:

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Michael Collins For the Love of Being Irish

Snippets of Irish History by Conor Cunneen IrishmanSpeaks 

Conor is a Chicago based Motivational Humorous Business Speaker, Author and History buff.



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1890: Michael Collins

The Big Fella is born in West Cork. Thirty one years later, he was in London negotiating the Anglo Irish treaty that brought independence to 26 counties of Ireland. The negotiations resulted in a vicious civil war that saw Collins lose his life.

Michael Collins emigrated to London aged fifteen where he joined Sinn Fein and the Gaelic League. He returned to Ireland in time to take part in the 1916 Rising. As with most other Irish rebels, he was released by British authorities in 1917 – a fateful and fatal decision as many (most) of those released were soon to take up arms again against Britain with the onset of the Irish War of Independence.


Michael Collins the big fella

Michael Collins illustration in For the Love of Being Irish


Collins can credibly be called the father of modern guerilla warfare. His ability to ambush, harass and execute British forces is of legend. While often perceived in romantic terms, Collins was a brutally effective rebel leader who led a passionate group of ultimately successful independence fighters, often killing fellow Irishmen  e.g. members of the Royal Irish Constabulary.


Writings by Michael Collins


FREE Download The Path to Freedom by Michael Collins .


Execution of Cairo Gang

On November 21, 1920, Collins’ men wiped out much of British intelligence in Dublin. The so called Cairo Gang was targeted and executed by the IRA. A total of fifteen people were killed, although some may not have been intelligence men. The killings engendered vicious reprisal from British troops who the same day went to a football game in Croke Park and fired indiscriminately into the crowd. Fourteen spectators were killed.


A Young Michael Collins
Michael Collins 1919


The IRA guerilla activity eventually forced British Prime Minister Lloyd George to agree to peace talks in London where Michael Collins played a prominent role. After signing the Anglo Irish treaty on December 6, 1921, he wrote a friend “I have signed my death warrant.”

Unfortunately, he was right. De Valera and other anti-Treaty politicians rejected a democratic Dail vote accepting the Treaty, an action which resulted in the Irish Civil War. Collins was killed in an action in his native Co. Cork, August 22nd 1922.

Collins’ Impact

It is impossible to convey the impact Collins had / has on Irish history on this site.

Maybe the best compliment to Michael Collins “The Big Fella,” who fought in the 1916 Rising and forced Britain to the negotiation table, where as he wrote prophetically ” early this morning I signed my death warrant” comes from Tom Barry who fought against Collins in the Civil War.

Barry recollected hearing of Collins’ death while imprisoned in Kilmainham Jail by the government of Michael Collins.

“I saw a most remarkable thing …. We heard the hubbub outside……… there was about 1,000 of us, prisoners in Kilmainham Jail…  There was about seven or eight hundred men and they were all down on their knees saying the rosary for the repose of the soul of Michael Collins. One time he was their leader against the British, then he was the Commander in Chief of the enemy forces.”


SEE: Rare Footage of Michael Collins. Despite the credits, this is unlikely to be in Armagh which is not in “Southern Ireland.”


His once adversary, Winston Churchill wrote of The Big Fella, “Michael Collins was a man of dauntless courage.”


READ: Churchill on Michael Collins


Lloyd George said “His engaging personality won friendships even amongst those who met him as foes and to all who met him, the news of his death comes as a personal sorrow.”

Author Tim Pat Coogan in Michael Collins – A Biography quotes Collins’ nemesis de Valera, “It is my considered opinion that in the fullness of time history will record the greatness of Michael Collins and it will be recorded at my expense.”

De Valera supporters often doubt whether he made that statement, but few can doubt its sentiment.


READ: Detailed Biography of Michael Collins at Military History Online





WATCH: A Short History of Ireland

Want to learn more about Ireland? See these images and more in the acclaimed For the Love of Being Irish

Irish gift ideas. Best selling Irish booksRonnie Drew and Luke Kelly - Musical Irish Gifts to the worldJoyce Image in For the Love of Being IrishMichael Collins: Image from For the Love of Being Irish


This history is written by Irish author, business keynote speaker and award winning humorist IrishmanSpeaks – Conor Cunneen. If you spot any inaccuracies or wish to make a comment, please don’t hesitate to contact us via the comment button.

Visit Conor’s YouTube channel IrishmanSpeaks to Laugh and Learn.

Tags: Best Irish Gift, Creative Irish Gift, Unique Irish Gifts, Irish Books, Irish Authors, Today in Irish History TODAY IN IRISH HISTORY (published by IrishmanSpeaks)


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