16 April 2021
By Elaine Murphy
A new documentary, ‘The Young Fella’, funded by Cork County Council’s Commemoration Committee and Michael Collins House, is set to premiere today.
Much has been said about Michael Collins’ life, but the focus is nearly always on his later years. Biographies of ‘The Big Fella’ tend to focus heavily on the revolutionary activity that dominated his final decade. But what about his younger years?
‘The Young Fella’ explores the key events and influences of his formative years and uncovers the deeper story of Michael Collins. Directed by Clonakilty native Samuel Kingston (The Brigade), the story of ‘The Young Fella’ is fittingly produced in Collins’ hometown.
Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Mary Linehan Foley, commended the project, saying,
“As our decade of commemorations continue, this film is a fitting tribute to Cork’s famous revolutionary leader, who in his brief lifetime achieved so much for his country. His legacy continues today, and this wonderful film offers a unique insight into the early years which shaped his destiny. A great achievement.”
Chief Executive of Cork County Council Tim Lucey commented,
“Here in County Cork we take great pride in remembering those people in history who have shaped our lives right up to the present day. Cork County Council’s Michael Collins House is dedicated to the Irish patriot, whose early life is explored in this film. Our historical heritage here in County Cork is an invaluable asset and Cork County Council is always seeking new ways to support and promote our heritage. This film will introduce some people to the story of Michael Collins’ or at the very least, to a brand-new perspective on it.”
The documentary centres around a group of six secondary school students who go on a journey to discover the local history of Michael Collins. History is brought to life and Collins story is told through the students as they visit local sites, meet with local historians and even sit the 1906 Civil Service Exam that Collins passed. They learn about his day to day life, his school life, his friends and family and what influenced his early political beliefs. Collins teenage years are put into perspective as they unveil the story of a normal, rural West Cork boy as he develops into a young man with an extraordinary life ahead of him. Michael Collins was just sixteen when he left Clonakilty for London, the same age as these students who reflect on life now and life then, helping to get a sense of what life was like for ‘The Young Fella’.
The documentary will premiere on the Michael Collins House YouTube channel at 8pm today, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the burning of Michael Collins childhood home at Woodfield by members of the Essex Regiment of the British Army.