Imperial Hotel Cork Marks Michael Collins Centenary

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The Imperial Hotel, Cork has announced plans to mark the 100-year anniversary of the death of Irish revolutionary leader Michael Collins. The luxury boutique hotel has planned a centenary commemoration programme for the 21 and 22 of August 2022.  

Imperial Hotel Cork Marks Michael Collins Centenary

Michael Collins, an iconic figure in Irish history and one of Cork’s most famous sons, was a regular guest and poignantly spent the last two nights of his life at the Imperial Hotel, which had been used as a military headquarters at the time. 

They will be joined on the date of the anniversary by relatives of Michael Collins, who will officially open the new ‘Michael Collins Suite’ and unveil a newly commissioned portrait of the revolutionary leader.

Family Members Attending Commemorations

About 30 of Michael Collins’s relatives will have spent the night previous as guests of the hotel before joining us for a private family breakfast ahead of the portrait unveiling at 10 am Monday 22 August. The family will depart the Imperial mid-morning and follow the exact route Michael Collins took to West Cork 100 fateful years ago.  

The West Cork native departed the Imperial Hotel at 6.15 am on Tuesday, August 22, 1922, via Pembroke Street where the main entrance was at that time. Travelling with Emmet Dalton in a yellow Leyland Thomas Straight Eight touring car, along with a small military convoy, they headed to Macroom,, Crookstown, Bandon, Clonakilty and Skibbereen.   

The convoy was ambushed by anti-treaty forces at Béal na Bláth just before sunset, at 7.30 pm where Collins was fatally wounded. He was initially transferred to the armoured car and then the touring car for the sombre return journey. Collins’s body was brought back to the Imperial Hotel where he was examined by a military doctor and formally pronounced dead. He was tragically just 31 years old at the time of his death.  

The Big Fellow

‘The Big Fellow’, as he was known, was an Irish revolutionary, soldier and politician who was a leading figure in the early-20th century struggle for Irish independence. Having fought in the Easter Rising in 1916, Collins rose through the political ranks and was elected as a TD for South Cork and appointed Minister for Finance in the first Dáil.  

 He was a major figure in the War of Independence, a key negotiator of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, Chairman of the Provisional Government of the Irish Free State and commander-in-chief of the National Army until his untimely death during the Irish Civil War.  

To pay tribute to the larger-than-life historic figure and one of their high-profile guests, the Imperial has fittingly planned a number of commemorative tributes this August. 

New Michael Collins Suite

Room number 115, where Collins stayed, will henceforth be known as the ‘Michael Collins Suite’ and has undergone a significant renovation in order to curate the historic connection in a luxury 1920s style. The suite will be officially unveiled on the weekend of the anniversary by family members who will also be the first to sign the visitor book in the room.  

While bedrooms throughout the hotel have a modern white door and frame, the former room 115 will now stand out from the crowd with a striking mahogany door and frame and a brass nameplate bearing the inscription ‘Michael Collins Suite’. The interior styling of the room will feature green hues in the soft furnishings, an impressive mahogany four-poster bed, an elegant wooden floor and furniture dating from the period.  The suite, which will feature a bust of Collins on the writing desk, will be left vacant with a rope and black ribbon on the day of the centenary as a mark of respect. 

Portrait of Michael Collins to be unveiled

The Flynn Family (owners of the Flynn Collection of hotels which includes the Imperial Hotel) have commissioned a new portrait of Michael Collins by Irish portrait artist Mick O’ Dea from Ennis. This painting will be officially unveiled in the hotel’s spectacular lobby on Monday 22nd of August 2022 by Collins’ grandniece Fidelma Collins and grandnephew Aidan O’ Sullivan. The painting will be available to be viewed by guests and members of the public from that date forward. 

Michael Collins Last Days Documentary Screenings 

On Sunday 21 August members of Michael Collins’s family will sit in for the screening of two documentaries which will be introduced by historian Bartle Darcy. The first documentary will be the premier of the award-winning documentary called ‘The Collector’ by Fionnáin Creative Arts and has a run time of 30mins. 

The main feature will be a documentary called Michael Collins The Final Days directed by Marcus Howard from Easter Rising Stories and this has a run. time of 1 hour. Members of the public are welcome to also attend the screening which will take place in the ballroom at 6.30 pm but as spaces in the room are limited to 100 booking via the hotel is essential to avoid disappointment, book here.

Michae Collins Uniform as worn by Liam Neeson in film
The uniform worn by Liam Neeson in the film Michael Collins from the Art of Costume Exhibition at Russborough House, Co. Wicklow

Michael Collins Lecture in partnership with Cork City Library

On the evening of the centenary, there will be a historical talk given in partnership with Cork City Library by Pól O’Murchu who is a grandnephew of Michael Collins. The talk, titled ‘Michael Collins Himself’ will focus on Collins the man rather than Collins the politician. It will take place in Lafayettes at the Imperial Hotel at 6.30 pm on Monday 22 August and anyone who would like to attend should register in advance, book here.

The Big Fellow’s Final Journey Tour 

Members of the public will have the option to pre-book a tour given by Denis O’Sullivan of Wild Atlantic Luxury Tours which will depart the Imperial from the South Mall and follow the same route Michael Collins took on what would tragically be his final journey.  See more details here.   

Commenting on the centenary Allen Flynn Owner of the Imperial Hotel said “As a proud Irish family-run business we at the Flynn Hotel Collection have the unique pleasure of owning and operating a number of historic properties including the Cork’s Grande Dame the Imperial Hotel. In its 206-year history, the hotel has welcomed famous and historic figures, but the Michael Collins connection is especially strong as he was a repeat guest and tragically spent his last night in room 115. 

 It is a deep honour for us to pay tribute to Collins with a newly commissioned portrait and by turning the room where he stayed into the majestic Michael Collins Suite, which we hope will be met with his family’s approval and be a place for those who have enduring regard for his place in history to stay in the future”  

For queries or bookings contact [email protected], call 021-4274040 or see here.

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Joan Scales
Joan Scales
Award-winning journalist, Joan has been writing about travel and tourism for many years principally for The Irish Times and lately for travel2ireland. Joan has appeared many times on television and radio talking about the business of travel and all its component strands. She is also a public speaker and has appeared at many international conventions and conferences.

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