Michael Collins Centre
The Michael Collins Centre in Clonakilty is the only facility in Ireland, at which visitors can receive a comprehensive presentation, by expert guides, on the life and times of Michael Collins.
Tim and Dolores Crowley have been interpreting the life of Michael Collins since 1997, when they organized the first Michael Collins Tours, taking visitors to the important sites in West Cork associated with the famous patriot. Elizabeth Slyne Crowley, grandmother of Tim Crowley was a cousin of Michael Collins and her husband Tim Crowley was on active service during the 1916 rebellion.
As soon as visitors arrive at the Michael Collins Centre, they proceed to the Cottage/theatre. A twenty minute audio/ visual explores the Big Fella’s childhoodA twenty minute audio/ visual explores the Big Fella’s childhood his family history, his school days and the important Collins’ sites around Clonakilty. A guide then continues the presentation, using slides, large photographs or film clips, the visitor is taken through the 1916 rebellion, War of Independence, Treaty talks and the Civil War. The tragic death of Michael Collins at Beal Na Blath and his Legacy are also discussed. The presentation ends with a guided tour of the ambush trail, a life size replica of an ambush site complete with Crossley Tender and replica of Michael Collins, famous Rolls Royce Armoured Car, “Sliabh Na mBan”. Here the events at Beal na Blath and the history of the vehicles in the Collins convoy are explained in more detail. Visitors can then return to the Cottage/ Theatre to view the exhibition of photographs, documents and militaria.
The Michael Collins Tour is a special feature of the Centre. The Tour is conducted with Tim Crowley as guide usually in the visitors own car or Tour Coach. However for visitors without their own car, or those not confident about driving on Irish country roads, transport can easily be arranged.
The Tour begins at the Michael Collin Centre or Michael Collins Statue in Clonakilty and visits the following places associated with the patriot, Clonakilty Town, Sam's Cross, Woodfield, Lisavaird Village, Saint Mary’s Cemetery, Beal Na mBlath and Newcestown village. Detailed history is given at each site and other local history is highlighted along the way.
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