Michael Collins House opened to the public in April 2016 as part of the 1916 Centenary commemorations. The museum was originally conceived by Clonakilty Town Council who purchased the building for the purpose of a museum dedicated to Michael Collins. After the abolishment of the town councils in 2014 the project was taken over by Cork County Council who continues to fund and run the museum today.
This house, built c1795, forms part of the only planned Georgian square located outside of Dublin, was commissioned by the Earl of Shannon, giving the square its original name, ‘Shannon Square’. The houses were mainly built for wealthy merchants and other upper class members of society. Over time, the square evolved and the old order passed into history to be replaced by a new gaelic ‘elite’ on a square that bore the name of an Irish republican, Robert Emmet.
Originally local lore would have confirmed that Michael Collins lived in this building, No. 7 Emmet Sq. but it was later found not to be the case. While we know Michael Collins lived on Emmet Square from 1903 to 1905, unfortunately due to a lack of conclusive evidence we cannot confirm in which house he lived.
No.7 Emmet Square, for much of its time, was owned by the local landlords, the Hungerfords and was leased to Unionists, Thomas Wright and Sons (solicitors) during Collins’s school days. Ironically, because of the error of local historians, the house that Michael Collins would have known as a pillar of the British justice system, now bears the name of a man who was instrumental in overthrowing that system. A simple error may have created a monument far more fitting than the young Collins could ever have imagined.