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Fighting for the love of Michael Collins

August 16th, 2022 3:45 PM

By Niamh Hayes

Kitty Kiernan, the great love of Michael Collins’ life.

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A longer version of this article originally appeared in our 24-page Michael Collins 'DEATH OF A LEGEND' magazine which is free in this week's Southern Star. Get your copy in shops across West Cork or online via the Southern Star digital edition ➡️  http://bit.ly/2Z9T9Z1

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As well as being a political giant, Michael Collins is said to have won the hearts of women everywhere he went. Niamh Hayes discovers some of the women rumoured to have caught his eye

WOMEN played a huge part in Michael Collins’ life, from his mother and sisters, to the countless women who helped him in his fight for freedom.

Romantically, Michael has been linked to a number of women, most famously, his fiancée Kitty Kiernan, but there are also others, who he may have won over, too.

When he was in his early 20s, Susan Killeen is said to have been Michael’s first girlfriend.

Originally from Co Clare, she lived in London with Michael’s second cousin, Nancy O’Brien. She worked in the savings department at West Kensington where Michael had worked previously, and was active in Irish society where they met each other at social events and dances.

After the outbreak of the First World War, Susan returned to Dublin, and although they wrote to each other for some time, their romance tapered off due to the distance.

Madeline Dicker was a spy during the War of Independence. She travelled on the mail boat to and from England, intercepting letters being sent from Dublin Castle to the British establishment, and revealing the names and activities of British intelligence men to Michael.

A romance between them is said to have blossomed, with Michael affectionately calling her Dilly, and using her home in Dublin as a safe house when he was back there.

Lady Hazel Lavery was the American wife of painter Sir John Lavery. She had a lot of connections in the UK and brought Michael to meetings and social functions regularly, connecting him with many people.

Their friendship is said to have flourished into something more, but this was during the time of the Treaty negotiations and may have been exaggerated by his opponents.

After the death of Michael, Lady Lavery’s husband painted a portrait of Michael, titled Love of Ireland, while he was lying in state, dressed in military uniform with the Irish flag draped over him.

A few years after Michael’s death, Lady Lavery wrote a letter to a biographer describing Michael as a man of brilliancy and a romantic figure. While it is unknown whether they had a romantic connection, they certainly did have a deep friendship.

In his short life, Michael was linked to many women, but whether he was romantically involved with any of them (other than Kitty) or not, it is clear that he had many close connections to them and was certainly held in high regard amongst them.

He was a devoted man, to his work, to his country and to all the women that made an impact on his life.

A longer version of this article originally appeared in our 24-page Michael Collins 'DEATH OF A LEGEND' magazine which is free in this week's Southern Star. Get your copy in shops across West Cork or online via the Southern Star digital edition ➡️  http://bit.ly/2Z9T9Z1

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