The Life and Times of Michael Collins: An Irish Patriot

Michael Collins
Michael Collins


Professor William Matthews from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst returns to the Irish Cultural Centre to continue his popular Irish Historical Lecture Series. The lecture takes place on Friday, May 3, at 8pm. Admission is $5 for Members and $10 General Admission. Prof. Matthews will focus this lecture on describing the life and politics of Michael Collins, one of Ireland’s most well-known political leaders, whose life certainly provides enough material for a whole lecture series in itself. Tickets for this event will be available for purchase at the door.

Michael Collins was the charismatic leader of the Irish fight for independence from 1919-1922. He held many titles during his lifetime, including the Adjutant General of the IRA, Minister of Finance, and Director of Intelligence. In 1921, he negotiated the first treaty between Ireland and England in 700 years—yet he paid for those efforts with his life. Prof. Matthews will present phases of General Collins’s life as a child in Clonakilty, his relationship with de Valera, and his death at Beal na Blath in 1922. He was one of the greatest Irishmen who ever lived.

Over the last 10 years, Professor Matthews has made frequent visits to the Military Archives in Dublin to study documents on the War of Independence and to the National Library to study material related to the Rising of 1916. He is currently planning a future book on the post-Civil War IRA. Professor Matthews is a veteran of Vietnam and is keenly interested in the issues of guerilla warfare.

Professor Matthews is a first generation Irish American who holds both American and Irish citizenship. His mother came to America in the late 1920's from Co. Cavan. His father is a second generation Irish American whose family immigrated to the US from Co. Cork. Irish history and the fight for Irish freedom has long been a part of Professor's Matthews family background. Two Matthews relatives, John and Robert, were incarcerated with Robert Emmett in the ill-fated Rising of 1803. His great uncle is reported to have been one of the soldiers in the fatal convoy with Michael Collins at Béal náBlath. His father is a cousin of West Cork's own Irish patriot, IRA Adjutant, General Gearoid O'Sullivan.
Professor Matthews’s lectures are always well-attended and highly entertaining. His six-part lecture series also includes “Green Against Green: The Tragedy of Irish Civil War”; “Eamon deValera: The Man Who Was 20th Century Ireland”; “The Irish Fight for Freedom: 1919-1921”; “The Irish Famine: 1845-1847”; and “The History of the IRA”. The ICC Pub will be open for dinner prior to the lecture which begins at 8:00pm on Friday May 3, 2013

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