20 October 2023
By Elaine Murphy
Join the Collins family, Ronan O’Gara, Jimmy Barry Murphy and Rena Buckley at the official unveiling – The public ceremony will take place outside Cork City Library, Grand Parade today at 12pm.
A highly anticipated statue of Michael Collins will be unveiled on Friday 20th October at 12pm on the Grand Parade, Cork City, the scene of one of Collins’ most famous public orations.
The near lifesize statue will show Collins standing alongside a bicycle, a nostalgic nod to the iconic photograph of him taken with a Pierce bicycle in Wexford in 1922, a reminder of the time when he used to cycle around Dublin despite there being a bounty on his head.
Renowned sculptor Kevin Holland was commissioned to create the new statue and the piece is being described as a “monument for the people, from the people” funded through a crowd-funding scheme spearheaded by the Michael Collins 100 committee. The name of every person who made a contribution to the fundraising drive is in a “time capsule” which has been placed in the plinth of the statue. Holland also created the landmark statue of Collins in Clonakilty.
An open invitation has been extended for the public to attend the unveiling and be part of an historic and long-awaited moment to honour Michael Collins.
On the day, sporting legends Ronan O’Gara, Jimmy Barry Murphy and Rena Buckley will officially unveil the statue with members of the Collins family and the Michael Collins 100 committee also in attendance.
The Armoured car “Sliabh na mBan” from the convoy that made the historic journey on the day of Michael Collins’ death will also be on show, and Cork singing legend John Spillane will perform a new Michael Collins song that he scripted for the very first time.
The public ceremony will take place outside Cork City Library on Cork’s Grand Parade on Friday 20th October at 12pm.
Cast in Germany, the new bronze statue is currently in Macroom where the final coat of bronze patina is being applied.
The statue will be set at ground level, as a nod to Collins running the War of Independence among the people, inside a stone surround of carved limestone paving with information on Collins’ life.
The site was chosen as it has historical links to Collins. On March 12, 1922, the ‘Big Fella’ attended a rally on Grand Parade. That day, Collins delivered a passionate speech to a reported crowd of 50,000 people.
Collins’ convoy would have also passed the spot early on the morning of August 22, 1922, on his journey from the Imperial Hotel, where he spent his last night, on route to Béal na Bláth where he was shot dead later that day. It is also possible that his body passed the location in the early hours of the following morning.
Michael Collins 100 Committee chairman Tim Crowley said “We’re inviting everyone to join us for this momentous occasion and are honoured to have three Cork sporting legends unveil the statue – all extraordinary people in their own right like Collins himself.”.
“We are expecting a large turn-out, so I would advise anyone who wishes to attend to get there before 12 midday. It should be a great day and a fitting tribute to Cork’s and Ireland’s greatest hero.”
For more, see michaelcollinsstatue.com