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Thousands due at Béal na Bláth

August 20th, 2022 1:30 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

General Michael Collins, commander in chief, who was assasinated in Béal na Blath in August 1922

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ORGANISERS of this weekend’s centenary commemoration to mark the death of Michael Collins, who was assassinated at Béal na Bláth 100 years ago on Monday, are expecting several thousand people to attend the event on Sunday August 21st.

Not only has the site been upgraded and improved for this year’s milestone event, but there will be two orations delivered for the first time – one by Taoiseach Micheál Martin (FF)  and the second to be given by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar (FG).

This year’s event is also unique for the fact that it is the first time a sitting Fianna Fáil Taoiseach and leader will make an address at the site where Collins was shot and killed on August 22nd 1922, months into the Civil War.

This is the first official commemoration to take place since 2019 and organisers have ruled out parking at the monument or on any of the approach roads.

As a result, shuttle buses will be used to ferry attendees and there will also be limited parking, with a 900m walk to the site from the bus. A traffic management plan will be activated on the day in co-operation with An Garda Síochána and a temporary road closure will be in operation on the day from 10.30am to 5pm.

‘Those attending from the Kilmurry side will be required to park in a designated parking area and walk to the monument, which is a distance of 300m approximately,’ said a spokesperson. It is understood that several local landowners have made their lands available for the event.

During the road closure, southbound traffic should follow the R-585 west to its junction with the L-2008 at Boxer’s Cross.

Follow the L-2008 south, across the L-2006 and onto the L-6013 into Newcestown village. Take the L-2009 north east to the L-2011 at Mossgrove.

A Park and Ride facility will also be in operation on the day for those travelling from the north and east of the country, via the N22.

This will operate from Crookstown village in the field opposite the post office and gardaí and stewards will be there to direct cars and control parking.

Cars coming from the south and west, and those travelling through Macroom, are being directed to arrive via Kilmurry and will be directed to parking pitches.

Organisers are also encouraging carpooling and have instructed that all cars must be parked by 1.30pm, with the ceremony to start at 3pm, which will also be broadcast live on the RTÉ News channel.  They have also advised that seating will not be provided and attendees are expected to stand during the ceremony, which starts at 3pm.

Meanwhile, RTÉ Radio 1’s ‘Morning Ireland’ will broadcast from the Munster Arms Hotel in Bandon on Friday August 19th, and it will have an extended broadcast past 9am on the RTÉ digital news channel.

Last minute preparations are being undertaken at the site following a major upgrade that sees parking bays installed and a general sprucing-up of the site that draws thousands of visitors each year.

Both the Taoiseach and Tánaiste have a number of other engagements during the weekend in West Cork.

Deputy Micheál Martin will also perform the official opening of the Leap Community Park at 3pm on Monday afternoon, while Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, who will assume the role of Taoiseach again in October, is to perform a ‘meet and greet’ in Bantry Square on Saturday morning (August 20th) at 9.30am.

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