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Michael Collins' grand-niece, Helen Collins lays a wreath at the spot where the iconic photograph of her grand-uncle was taken in August 1922, in Cathal Brugha Barracks just days before he was killed in Cork. Photo by: Laura Hutton/Photocall

Michael Collins memorial unveiled on 91st anniversary of his killing

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Michael Collins' grand-niece, Helen Collins lays a wreath at the spot where the iconic photograph of her grand-uncle was taken in August 1922, in Cathal Brugha Barracks just days before he was killed in Cork. Photo by: Laura Hutton/Photocall

A plaque in memory of Irish Revolutionary leader Michael Collins was unveiled in Dublin yesterday to mark the 91st anniversary of his killing on August 22nd, 1922.

According to the Irish Times, the Chief of Staff of the Irish Defense Forces, Lt Gen Conor O’Boyle, carried out the unveiling in honor of the first commander in chief of the national Army.

The memorial is reportedly situated at the place where an iconic image of Collins walking through Cathal Brugha Barracks in Dublin alongside a young piper, Alphonsus Culloten, was taken.

The photograph was taken as Collins returned from a memorial service on August 7th, 1922, shortly before his death.

Barracks barber Pte Noel O’Donnell reportedly researched the background to the photograph with assistance from the Barrack Engineer Section and Military Archives, as the photo had hung in his barber shop for many years.

'Today is the finish of two years work. I’m very happy. It’s a good day and a dream come true.  The photo is the most iconic photo there is of General Collins,' O'Donnell said.

Pte O’Donnell has a number of Collins’ personal belongings in his barber shop, including Collins’ keys to the magazine fort and what he believes was Collins’ prayer book, which was handed down over four generations of military personnel.

The exact location where the image was taken was determined as the site for the memorial, financed by the soldiers of Cathal Brugha Barracks, which reportedly meant a lot to Collins’ grand-niece Helen Collins.

'I was totally struck that the whole idea came from the garrison themselves and that they had collected the money. To me, that was very important. It was personal,' she told the Irish Times.

'I just found the whole event today really lovely and quite emotional. It makes me feel very strongly connected to Michael Collins.'

Speaking at the ceremony, Lt Gen O’Boyle said: 'I wish to commend the men and women of Cathal Brugha Barracks on proposing and establishing such an appropriate and fitting memorial to our first commander in chief.

'It reaffirms the Defense Forces’ enduring loyalty and commitment to the memory of General Michael Collins, and this memorial is very much a tangible example of that, planned, funded and erected by the soldiers of this historic barracks in his memory.'

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