MICHAEL COLLINS - AN IRISH REBEL
Michael Collins was born in Cork in 1890. He attended
school and then worked as a local journalist (writing
sports reviews) before moving to London at the age of
15 to work for the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA).
In London Collins associated with the Irish community and
became keenly aware of the history of Irish nationalism.
He joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood in 1909. By
1915 he had risen though the ranks of the London branch
of the IRB and was aware of the increasing tension in
Dublin between the various factions of republicanism. He
returned home and helped in the recruitment that was
necessary before any uprising could be successful. He
also joined the Gaelic League, an organisation that
stressed the use of the Irish language as another means
of nationalistic expression.
Despite the extreme unlikelihood of any success the Easter
Rising went ahead and resulted in the destruction of large
part of Dublin city centre as well as the execution of the
seven leaders of the revolt. This was the mistake by the
British that turned the tide in favour of the insurgents
for the first time. Public sympathy towards the executed
men increased so much that Collins, DeValera and the
remaining leaders could see that nationalism was about to
peak in the country.
Collins was imprisoned in Frongoch internment camp where
his credentials as a leader were further recognised by his
captured comrades. After his release Collins quickly rose
to a high position in both Sinn Fein and the IRB and
started to organise a guerrilla war against the British.
He even broke DeValera out of prison in England. The War
against the British continued on through 1920 and 1921
despite the introduction of the 'Black and Tans' - mercenary
soldiers introduced into Ireland by Churchill.
The British Prime Minister, Lloyd George, eventually
compromised and offered a partition of Ireland and a
'Free State'. Collins and Arthur Griffith had been sent
to London as the Irish delegation because DeValera knew
that the ultimate aim - independence - was not attainable.
The resultant civil war that broke out between the
pro-treaty and anti-treaty factions was bloody indeed
but Collins defeated his former comrades-in-arms only
to eventually have his own life taken in an ambush in
Cork in 1922.
(C) Copyright The Information about Ireland Site, 2000
The Leader in Free Resources from Ireland
Free Irish coats of arms, screensavers, maps and more