Michael Collins is for sure an important person in Irish history. With his profound engagement in fighting for the Irish independence, he has left permanent marks in Ireland. Michael’s biggest aim was to free Ireland from England. He truly believed that “there is an abundance of wisdom and an awareness of things which are Ireland” (Quote, M. Collins, age 12). This sincere thought of a strong, independent Ireland, with its own language, state and rule was to follow him throughout his whole life.
Ever since his childhood, Collins was great with words. Both in written and oral occasions he managed somehow to convince and impress people with his opinions. This can be connected to the fact that he was surrounded with people who spoke for Irish independence. They displayed a pride over being Irish, and this influenced Michael a whole lot. His father, who died only few years after Michaels birth (he was 75 when Michael was born), encouraged him to learn patriotic ballads and poetry. He said he had a great belief in his son, and nearly assumed that he would inherit and continue the work of a free, Irish state. Michael’s school teacher, who was a member of the IRB (Irish Republican Brotherhood), also inspired him a lot. Besides, he read newspapers and books from an early age. In that way he developed his talent for building up sentences and speaking out.
Collins is often referred to as a man with temperament and passion. He had no boundaries when it came to tell people what he meant and what he wanted to do. As already mentioned, he was a convincing man. He is world-known for his incredible speeches before and during the Civil War. He spoke of a right, Irelands right for a free state and a free people, and for most of the Irish this seemed logical and of course. And together with Michaels talent for speaking, was the content of his words, which inspired and gathered a whole nation to fight for their country.
He was an essential member of the IRB, and this membership played a major role in his life. He was also elected to the executive committee of Sinn Fein (a nationalist party, that still exists) and led a violent campaign against anything that represented British authority in Ireland. Furthermore, Michael took part in the Easter Uprising in Ireland, where national, so-called “rebels” who fought for Irish independence, were made heroes. It was obvious for everyone that he was a great leader. He was and is still admired for his leadership and his ability to motivate people. Although the fight for Irish independence was met with resistance from several groups, Michael never gave up. That is probably what he always will be remembered for; his constant willingness.
Michael Collins was also a man of emotions and sympathy. He was charming as few and his talent for speaking led him to women. But most important for this Irish man, was defiantly to fulfill his dream about a free Ireland. He was willing to sacrifice a lot do make it real, and with prove, he did. Michael is perhaps the most prominent character in the fight for the Irish independence, and was highly respected among the politicians at that time. His popularity and politic reached its highest point when Eamonn De Valera, considered to be that time’s leading republican politician, sent him to London to negotiate a treaty with England. The negotiations were difficult and it took three months before the treaty finally was signed by Collins and Arthur Griffiths (the founder of Sinn Fein). It was agreed that Ireland should have dominion status within the British Empire; i. e. that Ireland could govern it self, but remain within the British Empire. The six northern counties were allowed to sign out of the treaty and remain part of the U.K.
For Michael Collins, this treaty was nothing but the start of a process which he hoped would result in full independence for what was then the Free Irish State. It was only the beginning; neither he nor his allied was content with the treaty. He is said to have commented this when he signed it “I tell you, I have signed my death warrant.” This expression only strengthens the picture of Collins as a hardworking, engaged man with ambitions. And besides, he also displayed humble sides of his personality, when he at first refused to go to London to negotiate. He felt that he hadn’t the experience enough to do it. But De Valera was harsh, and forced him to go.
Many were unpleased after the treaty, and responded with violence. Thus the Civil War broke out, in where Michael took great part and kept fighting for his dream. Sadly, his life came to an unexpected end when he was shot during a journey to Country Cork, where he was to meet troops of the new Irish Army. Michael was shot, and is said to have died immediately. No one’s quite sure of what happened or who killed him. However, this great Irish leader was and is never to be forgotten. He have made a great impact on Ireland as a free state, and the work and efforts he put in for Ireland is of great, historical and political meaning. He made way for new engaged politicians, new treaties and new revolutions; for Michael Collins was above all a revolutionary man.
Important facts about Michael Collins
1890: Date of birth
1909: Sworn in as member of Irish Republican Brotherhood
1916: Took part in Easter Rising
1921: Anglo-Irish treaty signed
1922: Civil War broke out
1922: August 22: Killed by ricochet bullet, in West Cork