Friday 22 March 2013

Men of Yore: Michael Collins

This is another in a series of posts about men from history who have either achieved great things in one form or another by pushing boundaries: either in themselves or in society or science or exploration of some form.  Boundary pushing and growth is what men do, it's their nature: to grow and push outwards.  We, as men, are the frontiersmen/the vanguard, the first to discover/uncover new territory, in a metaphysical sense (i.e. including both material and the immaterial) that is later colonised and 'civilised' by the rest of humanity. 

It is also partly intended to show images, be they paintings, statues or photographs of the countenances of men of yore.  Because, quite frankly, many men wear the countenances of women these days: smiling, smirking, cooing, rolling their eyes, looking smug etc.  It's a sign of the times, and by showing some images of men from the past, I hope to show some modern men why looking surly, frowning and giving hard-ball stares at people is something to do, something to practise.

Michael Collins, 1922 (aged 32)

Michael Collins (Irish: Mícheál Ó Coileáin;[1] 16 October 1890 – 22 August 1922) was an Irish revolutionary leader, Minister for Finance and Teachta Dála (TD) for Cork South in the First Dáil of 1919, Director of Intelligence for the IRA, and member of the Irish delegation during the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations. Subsequently, he was both Chairman of the Provisional Government and Commander-in-chief of the National Army.[2] Throughout this time, at least as of 1919, he was also President of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and, therefore, under the bylaws of the Brotherhood, President of the Irish Republic. Collins was shot and killed in August 1922, during the Irish Civil War.
Although most Irish political parties recognise his contribution to the foundation of the modern Irish state, supporters of Fine Gael hold his memory in particular esteem, regarding him as their movement's founding father, through his link to their precursor Cumann na nGaedheal.
Collins was a bright and precocious child, with a fiery temper and a passionate feeling of nationalism. This was spurred on by a local blacksmith, James Santry, and later, at the Lisavaird National School by a local school headmaster, Denis Lyons, a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB).
Michael Collins first became known during the Easter Rising in 1916. A skilled organiser of considerable intelligence, he was highly respected in the IRB, so much that he was made financial advisor to Count Plunkett father of one of the Rising's organisers,
While some celebrated the fact that [the Easter] rising had happened at all, believing in Pearse's theory of "blood sacrifice" (namely that the deaths of the Rising's leaders would inspire others), Collins railed against it,[..]with his soldiers operating as "flying columns" who waged a guerrilla war against the British, suddenly attacking, then just as quickly withdrawing, minimising losses and maximising effectiveness.)
Like all senior Sinn Féin members, in the 1918 general election Collins was elected as an Irish MP[.]
Collins created a special assassination unit called The Squad designed to kill British agents; arranged the "National Loan"; organised the IRA; effectively led the government when de Valera travelled to and remained in the United States for an extended period of time; and managed an arms-smuggling operation.
Outside of the War for Independence in Ireland, Michael Collins was also a lover and a bureaucrat. The public view of Michael Collins is of a militaristic person, however he was more of a paper pusher and orator than a military man.[51] Many pictures of Collins were taken while he was in uniform. The picture of Collins in his full general's uniform is one of the most used and recognized pictures of him of all time. Behind the scenes of the war Collins was first, an administrator, Collins did not see any of the fighting from the time of the 1916 Easter Rising until the fire fight that ensued at his death/assassination.[51] During the last five years of his life, Collins became very close with a woman by the name of Kitty Kiernan. Collins wrote back and forth with Kiernan for years, describing what he was doing and what was going on in the war effort.[52] In later years, Collins shifts the tone of his letters to joy and love, he says in one particular letter "My thoughts just now are all with you, and you have every kind wish and feeling of mine."[53] One of the later letters Kiernan sends to Collins points out the difference in opinions that they have. Kiernan was more interested in love and romance, where Collins was much more interested in talking politics.


Check out some of the other entries from the 'Men of Yore' series:
King Alfred, the Great
John MacDouall Stuart
Richard Trevithick
Wyatt Earp
William 'Wild Bill' Cody
Andrew Carnegie
Duke of Viseu (Henry the Navigator)
Meriwether Lewis
Arthur Schopenhauer
Theodore Roosevelt
Rudolph Diesel
John Snow
Ludwig van Beethoven
Henry Ford
George Custer


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