A series of improvements are being planned for the ambush site in mid-Cork where Michael Collins was shot dead by Anti-Treaty Forces on August 22, 1922.
Cork County Council’s architects department is planning to upgrade the Béal na Bláth site next year as part of the centenary celebrations of the 1916 Rising.
Conor Nelligan, the council’s heritage officer, said the extent of the upgrade would depend on funding, but at this stage it looks as though the council will carry out road improvement works; landscaping; put up interpretive boards; and generally freshen up the area. The road will be realigned, providing extra safety and additional parking opportunities.
Mr Neligan said there were no plans at this stage to build an interpretive centre on the site, especially as the council is preparing to open a museum in Clonakilty to commemorate the War of Independence hero.
It had been expected that museum — which is in a three-story house in Emmet Square, close to where Collins once lived — would open late this year. But Mr Neligan said it now seemed likely it would be next year.
The centre will display a large amount of Collins memorabilia and visitors to the centre will be able to view footage on screens, bringing his contribution to local and national history to life. It is expected to be a big draw for tourists.
As part of the council- organised 1916 centenary commemorations, a new play Michael Collins, with the working title The Big Fella, is expected to be launched by GDI Productions.
Meanwhile, in Kilmurry — which is just two miles from Béal na Bláth — the locals are preparing a number of events for next year, which will include officially opening a museum on Easter Sunday.
It will have a strong focus on the War of Independence including artifacts connected to Béal na Bláth and the Kilmichael ambush.
The latter took place in November 1920 when 17 RIC/Auxiliaries were killed in a controversial attack led by IRA Cork No 3 Brigade, commanded by Tom Barry.
The Kilmurry Historical and Archaeological Association is also planning to provide tours of the area’s War of Independence and Civil War sites and, in association with Ballinhassig Historical Society, carry out a re-enactment of a Volunteer march through the village. Both these events are pencilled in for March 27.
Meanwhile, Dúchas Clonakilty Heritage is organising an open meeting at 8.30pm on Wednesday to examine how Clonakilty can commemorate the Easter Rising.
The meeting will be held at the former Boys’ National School in the town, (now the Parish Centre), where three past pupils who participated in the Rising itself in Dublin were taught.
Michael Collins, Con O’Donovan, and Seán Hurley, (the only Corkman killed during Easter Week in the fighting in Dublin), were all pupils at the school before they left as young teenagers.
All local organisations, schools and groups, as well as interested individuals, are encouraged to attend the open meeting.
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