Welcome to the Michael Collins Room, this room explores the most active period of Collins life in terms of his political and military career.
The War of Independence and Dail Eireann
Having spent 10 years living and working in London, Collins returned to Ireland in 1916 to participate in the Easter Rising. As a Captain in the Irish Volunteers, Collins served in the General Post Office as Aide de Camp to Joseph Mary Plunkett, one of the leaders of the Rising. In the years that followed the rebellion, Collins emerged to become on of the leaders of the republican movement. He was elected in the 1918 general election for the Sinn Fein party and became member of the underground revolutionary government, Dáil Éireann, which met for the first time in January 1919. Collins would serve as Minister for Finance. In this role, he is celebrated for the raising and promotion of the ‘Dáil Loan’, a massive bond scheme that funded the revolutionary government.
Militarily, as Director of Intelligence of the Irish Republican Army, Collins’ intelligence network was key to the success of the guerrilla warfare carried out during the War of Independence. He is also credited with using his ‘Squad’ to eliminate British agents operating in Dublin.
The Anglo-Irish Treaty
When the truce was called, Collins was selected as one of the leaders of the Irish delegation to negotiate the Anglo-Irish Treaty between the British and Irish governments. This was signed on the 6 December 1921 and ratified in the Dáil soon after. It created an independent Irish Free State for 26 of the 32 counties of Ireland, but maintained partition of Northern Ireland and the South. The King of England as the head of the British commonwealth would continue to be recognised as the head of the Irish Free State.
The Civil War
The Treaty caused a split in the national movement between the Collins lead Pro-Treaty side, who felt that the Treaty was a great achievement and a ‘stepping stone’ towards full freedom. The Eamonn De Valera lead Anti-Treaty side felt the terms of the Treaty fell too short of the full republic which they had fought for during the War of Independence. This split eventually resulted in Civil War which started in June 1922.
For more information please explore our information boards and discover some of our interesting artefacts in the cases in this room. When you are ready proceed to the next room and the final stop of our tour.