By Áilín Quinlan
Cork County Council has been urged to move ahead with plans for a special Michael Collins Trail for West Cork, in a bid to end confusion among tourists in relation to two Clonakilty museums celebrating the renowned hero and revolutionary.
Tim Crowley of the family-run Michael Collins Centre at Castleview, just outside the town, has called on the local authority to begin work as soon as possible on establishing a special Michael Collins Trail, to have the project completed in time for the 2019 summer tourism season.
His centre, which celebrates its 20th anniversary next year, is completely family-run and has never received any government support.
He believes a special Michael Collins Trail incorporating clear signposting on roads around the town, as well as an information app, leaflets and fliers is badly needed.
The problem, he claims, is visitors are confused between the relatively new Michael Collins House museum in the town’s leafy Emmet Square and the long-standing Michael Collins centre at Castleview, a few miles outside Clonakilty.
“There is a lot of confusion about this among visitors to Clonakilty,” said Mr Crowley.
“We are number one on TripAdvisor for
Things to Do in Clonakilty
but a lot of our visitors are confusing us with the Michael Collins House in the town, and we feel that a Michael Collins Trail would sort that out.
“Some of our visitors have gone into the museum in the town to discover that they are in the wrong place,” he says, adding that coaches meant for the Castleview venue were instead going to the museum and had to be redirected to Castleview.
“We have been meeting with the local authority and have seen a dossier of plans for the signage — there’s plans in place but nothing is happening.”
Mr Crowley said the proposed trail would ideally include clear information on both museums and also local sites associated with Michael Collins such as Béal na Bláth where he was killed; Sam’s Cross where he regularly visited, and the birthplace at Woodfield.
The idea was mooted by Mr Crowley to the local authority several years ago and an agreement had been reached about the concept. But, as yet, nothing has been done.
“Ideally we would like this to be in place for the 2019 summer season, which will be our 20th season in operation — without a cent of government funding.”
Mr Crowley, a historian related to Michael Collins through his great-grandmother, operates the centre with his wife Dolores.
It hosts a huge collection of Michael Collins artefacts and memorabilia and also features replicas of two vehicles associated with Collins, the armoured car and a Leyland 8 touring car.