Cork County Council urged to buy Michael Collins walking stick at auction

Cork County Council urged to buy Michael Collins walking stick at auction

Cork County Council is being urged to buy a rare artifact which once belonged to General Michael Collins and add it to a collection dedicated to his life which is housed in a museum the council runs.

De Veres Irish Art Auctioneers and Valuers has announced it will be holding a major auction of 'Outstanding Irish Art' at the Royal College of Physicians on Kildare Street, Dublin on Nov 26.

Among the items to go under the hammer is Lot 84, a walking cane which once belonged to Collins, who was killed in an IRA ambush at Beal Béal na Bláth, Co Cork on August 22, 1922.

Lot 84 is described as "an important rosewood and silver mounted walking cane" which Collins, Chairman of the Provisional Government, was often photographed holding while dressed in his Commander-in-chief of the National Army uniform.

At 92cm in length the cane comes with a letter of provenance. For many years it was on public display in Kilmainham Gaol museum with other Michael Collins' memorabilia.

The cane is part of the collection of Jack Cormack from Lucan who was a driver for The Big Fella.

In 1921 Cormack was shot in his leg and hand close where the Red Cow Roundabout is today.

Collins gave Cormack his cane to aid his walking while he was recovering.

"This item has significant history attached to it as it," a spokeswoman for De Veres said.

She said the cane comes with a surprisingly low guide price of €2,000.

"But as we enter years of centenary commemorations, and with interest in Ireland's revolutionary history increasing, this rare piece of Michael Collins' history will no doubt go beyond it's guide price," the spokeswoman added.

Cork County Council urged to buy Michael Collins walking stick at auction

She said the auctioneers was hoping the cane "will find it's way back into public display in the country both Collins and Cormack fought for."

Mayor of County Cork, Cllr Christopher O'Sullivan, said he would urge senior Cork County Council officials to purchase the cane and put it on display at the Michael Collins House museum in Clonakilty, Co Cork.

The museum is based at 7 Emmet Square, Clonakilty, one of just a handful of planned Georgian squares outside of Dublin.

The museum explores Collins's life but also looks at local revolutionary patriots such as Tadhg an Asna who led the local forces into battle in 1798 and the unrepentant Fenian, Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa, both of whom influenced the young Collins.

"Michael Collins House is an important attraction and visitor numbers there are increasing year on year. As far as I'm concerned we need more Michael Collins' memorabilia there and news of this auction presents us with a great opportunity to purchase the cane he once used," Cllr O'Sullivan said.

Michael Collins was born at Woodfield, a few miles west of Clonakilty on October 16, 1890.

The council started restoring the house at 7 Emmet Square after it was purchased in 2012 by Clonakilty Town Council.

Collins moved into a house in the same square in 1903 where he lived with his sister, Margaret, while he was attending the town’s national school.

Her husband, Patrick O’Driscoll, published the newspaper The West Cork People from the house and a young Collins helped out in by doing reporting work on various local events.

In 1906, he left Clonakilty for a job in the Post Office in London, where he became associated with the Irish Republican Brotherhood and the Gaelic League. Collins returned to Ireland in 1916.

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