This is Michael Collins forcing a smile for the cameras just hours after he signed the Anglo-Irish Treaty – and, by his own admission, his death warrant.

The rare photograph was taken in London 90 years ago today, the very day that Collins signed the treaty that led to independence for 26 Irish counties.

One of four Irish signatories, Collins was photographed in London in the rare shot which experts say capture perfectly his mood on the day he predicted: “I have signed my own death warrant.”

Collins was late mortally wounded in a gun attack by anti-Treaty activists during the Irish Civil War.

The photograph of Collins on the day he signed the Treaty has just gone on display in Dublin’s National Library.

The Treaty was signed on behalf of the new Irish Free State by Collins, Arthur Griffith, Robert Barton and George Gavan Duffy.

London police, living in fear or a terrorist attack, held crowds back when the Irish delegation arrived at Downing Street to sign the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

Fianna Fail founder Eamon de Valera refused to be part of the delegation despite the pleas of Griffith, Collins and WT Cosgrave.


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