85th Anniversary of the Death of "The Big Fella", Michael Collins
~ Eamon de Valera
G. Thomas Fitzpatrick at Recta Ratio reminds us that today is the 85th anniversary of the assassination in an ambush by IRA extremists of one of my heroes - Irish patriot Michael Collins:
Eighty-five years ago today, Michael Collins, driving force of Irish independence and first Commander-in-Chief of the Irish Army was murdered in an ambush by the IRA. Collins had been instrumental in negotiating the treaty by which Britain recognized Irish independence within the Commonwealth and in urging Irish voters to accept the treaty. But the IRA and de Valera, demanding a complete break no matter what the realities, would not be satisfied with the results of the election, and began a civil war.My Comments:
Collins, a native of Cork, was driving along rural areas in an inspection tour to gauge sentiment and to do some secret negotiation with the IRA. In fact, he was travelling under a guarantee of safe conduct from the IRA. In Bael na m Blath ("the Mouth of Flowers"), the small convoy was ambushed. Collins took cover behind his car. The attack lost steam, and Collins' guard began to take the initiative. Just then, Collins stood up to either order his men to go up into the hills after the attackers, or call on the partisans to surrender. He was shot through the head. Ireland was doomed to 50 years of corruption and stagnation under de Valera and his successors.
A truly great man. For more on Michael Collins, see
Michael Collins - The Lost Leader,
The Michael Collins Centre,
The Michael Collins Web Page,
and The "Michael Collins" Official Movie Site (ignore the horribly miscast Julia Roberts bit).