BY JACKIE KEOGH
WELL-known West Cork historian Tim Crowley said he would like to see the former hospital in Cork – where Michael Collins’ body was brought after he was shot at Beal na Blath in August 1922 – preserved.
The former hospital was in the news this week after a High Court challenge was brought against An Bord Pleanala’s decision to allow developers demolish the hospital at Shanakiel, re-develop Shanakiel House, and build two new, detached dwellings.
Responding to questions put to him by The Southern Star, Mr Crowley said: ‘One possible solution might be to incorporate the existing building into the new design.
‘I love history – I have loved it all my life – and I believe historical buildings are important. My interest in Michael Collins is obvious because we run the Michael Collins Centre here on our farm at Castleview, three miles outside of Clonakilty.
‘I would be related to Michael Collins as well and grew up listening to all the stories. Then, two years ago, a producer, Marie Young, and myself got involved with John Creedon of RTÉ to make a film as part of ‘Great Irish Journeys’.
‘The last journey of Michael Collins was featured in the TV series. It started at the Imperial Hotel in Cork, went west to The Eldon Hotel in Skibbereen, and the intention was to return to Cork, but Michael Collins was ambushed along the way at Beal na Blath.
‘That was on August 22, and, in the early hours of August 23, he died at the hospital at Shanakiel,’ said Mr Crowley. ‘So, yes, in principle, I would like to see this former hospital preserved.
‘People all over the world have an interest in Michael Collins and one of the most enduring and iconic images is of him, still with his boots on, in the hospital bed, which was, of course, his death bed.’