A BRAND new suite will be unveiled as part of the historic Imperial Hotel’s plans to commemorate the centenary of Michael Collins’ death.
Collins was a regular guest at the South Mall hotel in Cork, and stayed in room 115 the night before his death in an ambush at Béal na Bláth on August 22nd 1922. Now, 100 years on, Collins family members will stay in the hotel and join in a programme of commemorative events.
Among the events planned include the unveiling of the new suite in room 115, which has undergone significant renovation and will be decorated in 1920s style, to maintain the historic connection.
Family members will be first to sign the visitor book in the room, and the suite – which will feature a bust of Collins on the writing desk – will be left vacant with a rope and black ribbon on the day of the centenary as a mark of respect.
On Sunday August 21st, two documentaries will be screened, with members of Collins family invited to view the main feature Michael Collins: The Last Days, directed by Marcus Howard. Members of the public are welcome to attend, but there is a limit of 100 tickets available, so early booking via the hotel is essential.
A new portrait of the revolutionary leader will also be unveiled in the hotel on the morning of August 22nd by Collins’ grandniece Fidelma Collins and grandnephew Aidan O’Sullivan. The painting is a special commission by portrait artist Mick O’Dea, and will be available to be viewed by guests and members of the public. Allen Flynn, owner of the Imperial Hotel, said that they were proud to have welcomed Collins in their past, commenting: ‘In its 206-year history the hotel has welcomed famous and historic figures, but the Michael Collins connection is especially strong, as he was a repeat guest and tragically spent his last night in room 115.
‘It is a deep honour for us to pay tribute to Collins with a newly-commissioned portrait and by turning the room where he stayed into the majestic Michael Collins Suite, which we hope will be met with his family’s approval and be a place for those who have an enduring regard for his place in history to stay in the future.’
• See also, p5 and our centenary
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