A NEW festival to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of Michael Collins, is a ‘cross community collaboration’, attendees at the launch heard last week.
The Michael Collins Centenary Commemoration Festival will take place in Clonakilty and surrounding areas from August 14th to 22nd.
Planned events include public talks, exhibitions, outdoor cinema events, hill walks and even a world record attempt for the largest gathering of people named Michael Collins in one place.
Jamie Murphy of Michael Collins House said the idea behind this festival is to sensitively commemorate the centenary of Michael Collins’ death, but to also celebrate his life.
‘The programme itself that the local groups have put together reflects Collins’ own interests with events ranging from sports to theatre to history, music, art and walks,’ said Jamie.
‘This is also a cross community collaboration with lots of different groups involved including the Michael Collins Centre, The Michael Collins Commemoration Committee Clonakilty, The Sam’s Cross Commemoration Committee, Duchas Clonakilty and Cumann Seanchais Cloich na Coilte.’
He added that they hope that in creating this programme they have a political, unbiased and sympathetic programme which has something of interest for all and that a finalised programme will be released in due course.
In launching the festival, county mayor Cllr Gillian Coughlan described Michael Collins as a ‘giant of Irish history’ and the fact that he came from Clonakilty is something people there are very proud of.
‘He was selfless, brave, committed and clever and he put his ingenuity to work at creating a republic for everyone,’ said Cllr Coughlan.
Meanwhile, Helen Collins, the grandniece of Michael Collins confirmed at the launch that his diaries – which were his own working diaries – will come to Clonakilty this summer and will remain in Michael Collins House in a digital form all year round for all to see, while two or three of the original diaries will come for two months every year thereafter. A companion booklet is currently being prepared by the National Archives, which will go on sale at various centres as well to help people understand the diaries.
‘The real home of the diaries will be in Clonakilty which was what my father always wanted. It was always his hope and dream too that the legacy of Michael Collins would become very much everybody’s legacy and totally non-partisan non- political collaborative basis,’ said Helen.
Some highlights of the festival programme include ‘History Scoops’ taking place in De Barras which will have three short and engaging talks on the theme of Béal na Bláth, while an outdoor cinema event screening ‘Michael Collins’, ‘Beloved Enemy’ and ‘The Young Fella’ documentary will take place in Emmet Square.