A museum dedicated to Irish revolutionary leader Michael Collins will open in Clonakilty, Co Cork, on Easter Saturday, March 26.
A Georgian-built house in the town’s Emmet Square, where Collins once lived, has been refurbished by the county council to house the museum, which will commemorate the revolutionary leader's life. The museum will also honor Tadgh Astna O’Donovan, who led the Battle of Shannonvale against the British in 1798, and Irish Fenian leader Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa, a prominent member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, who was born at nearby Reenascreena, Rosscarbery.
Council official Justin England, who has headed the team responsible for renovating and equipping the building, told the Irish Examiner that the local authority was set to appoint a manager to oversee the museum’s day-to-day operation.
“Michael Collins’ family have donated to us several of his notes and papers,” he said. “We have also teamed up with Foxford Woollen Mills to sell replicas of the original blanket he was wrapped in when taken to hospital after the shooting at Béal na Bláth.”
England said the famous Michael Collins bust sculpture by Seamus Murphy is on loan from the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork.
“We have also acquired other memorabilia ourselves through auctions which will be displayed in the new centre,” he said. “Clocks and furniture associated with Michael Collins have also been donated by members of the public which we are very grateful for.”
Relatives of O’Donovan Rossa have also contributed “some nice artifacts” to add to the collection, said England.
Councilor Christopher O’Sullivan, who is on the board of management, said: “I was very lucky to get a glimpse and it’s going to be very impressive. It will be a focal point for the[revolutionary] history of the West Cork region and a major attraction for tourists.”
A tourist office will also be located inside the corner building and will provide visitors with information on the region’s part in Irish risings from 1798 up to the Civil War.