A museum dedicated to the memory of Michael Collins and other revolutionary icons from West Cork will open in Clonakilty on Easter Saturday, March 26.
The county council has completed the refurbishment of a Georgian-built house in the town’s Emmet Square, where Collins lived as a young man. The museum will commemorate his life and those of Tadgh Astna O’Donovan and Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa.
While Collins will take centre stage, there will also be a section dedicated to the famed pikeman Tadgh Astna O’Donovan, who led the bloodied Battle of Shannonvale, the only other major skirmish against the British outside of Vinegar Hill, Co Wexford, in 1798.
A further section will be dedicated to O’Donovan Rossa and his association with the IRB.
Council official Justin England, who has headed the team responsible for renovating and equipping the building, said the local authority was also set to appoint a manager to oversee its day to day running.
“Michael Collins’ family have donated to us several of his notes and papers,” said Mr England. “We have also teamed up with Foxford Woollen Mills to sell replicas of the original blanket he was wrapped in when taken to hospital after the shooting at Béal na Bláth.”
Mr England said the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork had given, on loan, the famous Michael Collins bust sculpted by Seamus Murphy.
“We have also acquired other memorabilia ourselves through auctions which will be displayed in the new centre,” he said. “Clocks and furniture associated with Michael Collins have also been donated by members of the public which we are very grateful for.”
Relatives of O’Donovan Rossa contributed “some nice artefacts” to add to a growing collection of the fenian leader, born at nearby Reenascreena, Rosscarbery.
Public and media access to the museum is restricted until the March 26 opening. However, councillor Christopher O’Sullivan, who is on the board of management, said: “I was very lucky to get a glimpse and it’s going to be very impressive. It will be a focal point for the[revolutionary] history of the West Cork region and a major attraction for tourists.”
Mr English, meanwhile, said the refurbishment of the house was now complete and the council was presently upgrading pedestrian paths in the vicinity.
A tourist office will also be located inside the imposing corner building which will specifically provide visitors with information on the region’s part in Irish risings from 1798 up to the Civil War.
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