Michael Collins' custom made 'high nelly' bicycle discovered
Irish leader used bike to get around Dublin during the War of Independence
The original ‘high nelly’ bicycle used by Michael Collins during the War of Independence has been discovered.
The famous bike, which was captured in one of the most iconic images of Collins, will now go on display around Ireland as part of a touring exhibition.
The custom made bike, which had two crossbars, was built for the Irish revolutionary leader in 1919, by Rudge-Whitworth, a British bicycle manufacturer.
Perhaps the most important bicycle in Irish history was traced by high nelly historian Marty Mannering and his team, following a seven month search.
"We started in Clonakilty in the Michael Collins museum, but they didn't know where it was," Mannering explained to the Irish Independent.
The team interviewed several people as part of their search and former Irish MEP Mary Banotti, who advised them to contact a number of family relatives.
"I was told, as far as the museum was aware, that a priest had the bike in Clonakilty. He was the last known possessor of it in the '30s or '40s. We went down the line of trying to establish who this priest was and that eventually led us to the guy who now owns the bike," he added.
They were given the name of a priest "who allegedly had the bike," the bicycle expert said.
"We went down the line of trying to establish who this priest was and that eventually led us to the guy who now owns the bike," he said.
"It took seven months but we now have the bike. It's on loan to us."
Collins' grandniece expressed her delight over the discovery.
"I'm delighted if he has found it. It's a fun idea what he's planning to do," she said.
"It was a very efficient way for him (Collins) to get around. I think, for him, being anonymous and unrecognized was vital.
"The bicycle, ironically, turned out to be the safest form of transport. The high nelly was the bike of choice of the time."
The exhibition is set to begin in Limerick at the Elemental festival on September 14 and and in Mayo for the Quiet Man festival on October 5 and 6.
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