Fragile side of Collins exposed in memorial card

September 1st, 2020 11:45 AM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Cal McCarthy of the Michael Collins House in Clonakilty who made the discovery of the memorial card owned by Michael Collins, which he is holding.

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A PREVIOUSLY unseen artefact belonging to Michael Collins – a memorial card of his mother Marianne – shows a more fragile side to him, according to the manager of Michael Collins House in Clonakilty.

The artefact was discovered by staff member Cal McCarthy while he and colleagues were cataloguing a collection of artefacts and papers on loan to the museum from the Collins family.

It was while opening a small booklet belonging to Michael that a small envelope fell out which had ‘M A O’Brien Collins’ and ‘Mother’s Funeral and mass card’ handwritten on it.

‘Inside was a memorial card to Marianne O’Brien, Michael’s mother who died in April 1907. Interestingly, her age at her death was incorrect and underneath “54” someone had written “52”,’ said Jamie Murphy manager of Michael Collins House.

‘This struck a chord with our staff and we realised that this card was the one described in the Michael Collins biography by Tim Pat Coogan. The numbers ‘52’ had been written by an ‘ever sentimental, ever meticulous’ 17-year-old Michael Collins.

The memorial card was kept in the envelope, along with a delicate, well-worn, newspaper clipping of an eulogy and poem in memory of Marianne, which was printed in the-then West Cork People, Michael Collins’ brother-in-law’s paper.

‘We are delighted to have uncovered such a valued and prized collection of Collins’. This little envelope that he held so dear certainly shows a more fragile side to Collins, who was then just a 17-year-old who had just lost his mother and indeed both his parents at this point, while attempting to begin a new life in London.’

The memorial card and envelope are now on display at Michael Collins House in Clonakilty and pre-booking to visit the museum is necessary due to Covid-19 safety precautions.

For more, contact 023-8858676 or email [email protected] 

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