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Michael Collins Lecture

Lithograph of Michael Collins (1921) by Sir John Lavery RA RHA RSA

(1856-1941)

Lavery painted Collins in 1921 when he was in London negotiating the terms of the Irish Treaty. The original portrait was said to have been given to Kitty Kiernan and has since been lost.

 
Fr Brian gave a talk and introduced the showing of a rare film to the Murroe Historical Society on Thursday, 15 July.  The film was produced in August 1919 in order to publicise the Dail Eireann internal loan.  It was made by John MacDonagh of the Film Company of Ireland.  He was the brother of Thomas MacDonagh, who was executed in 1916. 
 
Michael Collins, the Minister of Finance of Dail Eireann, featured prominently in the film, which was made on the steps of Patrick Pearse’s school,  St Enda’s.  The young Collins, aged c.28, was shown in animated form as he handed certificates to those who had invested in the loan.  Among those shown receiving certificates were Mrs Pearse, Mrs Clarke, other widows of those executed in 1916 and several members of Dail Eireann, such as Arthur Griffith, Count Plunkett and Robert Barton.
 
In response to questions, Fr Brian stated that, as soon as the film was made, members of the IRA took copies of it to many cinemas in Dublin and forced the projectionists to show it on their screens.  It was also sent to America for propaganda purposes and was extremely successful.  Harry Boland, then in America, wrote to Collins and told him ‘that film of yourself and Hegarty selling Bons brought tears to my eyes.  Gee Boy! You are some movie star.’
 
Other original source material regarding Michael Collins was also presented: firstly, the Civil Service file on Collins (c.1906-1915); the secret police file on Collins (Colonial Office 904/196, c.1916 until his death); and the prison diary of Michael Collins written in Sligo Jail in April 1918.
 
The meeting began 8.45 and ended 11 pm. 
 
 Officials of the new Murroe Historical Society include the following:
 
Michael Hassett, Chairman;
Joan Commons, Treasurer;
Ann Marie Ryan, Secretary;
Thomas Holmes, PRO.
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