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General’s diaries now published in just-released book

August 30th, 2022 8:30 AM

By Southern Star Team

The book based on Collins’ own diaries is out now.

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A SYNOPSIS of the diaries of Michael Collins, which were handed over to the State by members of his West Cork family at his home place of Woodfield last year, has been published.

In the book, ‘Days in the Life, Reading the Michael Collins Diaries 1918-1922’, Michael Collins’s biographers, Anne Dolan and William Murphy, capture the nature of this new Collins source.

From 1918 to 1922 Michael Collins wrote in the diaries details of his busy revolutionary life. They are a collection of hurried notes, necessary lists, names and appointments, things to do, and things not done. They are a record of his long working days, and they got him to where he needed to be on time.

The diaries end in 1922 with Collins as the most powerful figure in Ireland, having begun with Collins a single man, at the end he is about to be married to Longford woman Kitty Kiernan.

The authors present thematic reflections on what the diaries reveal of his transformed life.

Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin said she was honoured to be present at the birthplace of Michael Collins at Woodfield near Clonakilty last November when the diaries were handed over to the national archives by the family of the late Liam and Betty Collins, nephew of Michael Collins.

In the intervening months, the archives’ team worked hard to conserve and digitise all five diaries, thereby ensuring their long-term preservation.

In partnering with the Royal Irish Academy and working with historians Anne Dolan and William Murphy, this beautiful book now tells the story of an extraordinary life lived in extraordinary times to the public, she said.

Also speaking about the release of this book, Orlaith McBride, director of the National Archives, said the diaries, with their day-by-day insights into the last five remarkable years of his life, offer a ‘compelling new perspective on the experience of revolution in Ireland’.

Royal Irish Academy editor Ruth Hegarty, said the academy was delighted to partner with the National Archives to publish the book and ebook, which gives a new window onto Michael Collins’ life. ‘Readers will see pages from the diaries for themselves, and can leaf through the records of the National Archives, and a wealth of other sources, guided by authors Anne Dolan and William Murphy,’ she said.

The book is published with support from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 Programme.

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