Béal na Bláth – The local story
As the Decade of Centenaries enters its later stage, the manner in which the heritage sector, communities, schools, the arts sector and, both local and national government have handled the period of commemoration has been commendable; ensuring that their dictum “appropriately, proportionately, respectfully and with sensitivity” has been adhered to. We in the Independence Museum Kilmurry have benefitted from the efforts and support of other cultural bodies, historians and local heritage offices. The locals, wider public and tourists have been a great support and encouragement in all our efforts to commemorate the key events on the arduous path to Independence. Our museum’s key publications and exhibitions have all adhered to the key objectives as envisaged by the Decade of Centenaries programme, while remaining faithful to our own tagline, “See Ireland’s History Through A Local Lens”.
Commemorating the Civil War should be no different despite the difficulties and particular sensitivities raised. The Centenary Commemoration of Michael Collins’ death at Béal na Bláth was always going to be a key component of the commemoration of the Civil War.
No different to the other commemorations locally of the 1916 Rising (commemorating the assembly of local volunteers and those of companies from Cork City, East Cork, South Cork, and the Bandon and Kinsale districts in Kilmurry on Easter Sunday 1916) and the War of Independence (The Lissarda Ambush, Cork 1920 Hunger Strike, Terence MacSwiney’s death on hunger strike in Brixton, etc.,) we will reflect on the Béal na Bláth Ambush by exploring “the local story”.
Our Béal na Bláth – The local story Exhibition will focus on :
- Commander-in-Chief Michael Collins’ journey through Cork on the day
- Map of the ambush site
- The anti-Treaty IRA personnel involved in the ambush
- The National Army convoy personnel
- The local safehouses where the Officers of the Southern Division of the anti-Treaty IRA were accommodated
- Commemorating the local anti-Treaty Volunteers killed that July in the Battle of Limerick.
The Exhibition will be accompanied by a display of artifacts particular to the local details of the ambush.
This Exhibition has been kindly funded by Cork County Council under the
County Cork Commemorations Grant Scheme 2022
The County Cork Commemorations Grant Scheme is part-funded by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries Programme 2012-2023.
COUNTY CORK COMMEMORATIONS GRANT SCHEME 2022
Object Of The Month August
Reproduction rights owned by the National Library of Ireland.
MICHAEL COLLINS’ CROSS
On the 23nd August 1922, having been fatally wounded in the ambush by anti-Treaty Forces at Béal na Bláth the previous evening, the body of Michael Collins was brought to Shanakiel Hospital in Sunday’s Well, Cork City.
Michael Collins’ wound was cleaned by doctors and his body prepared for repose at the hospital. While in repose a crucifix from the hospital church was placed alongside his bed (another wooden cross and rosary beads were placed in his joined hands).
The crucifix was thereafter referred to as The Michael Collins Cross by the Duggan family who owned the hospital at that time. The Duggan family, who would later on succeed the Warren family as residents of Warrenscourt in Kilmurry, thereafter used the crucifix, over many years, when priests, related to the family, would frequently celebrate Mass in Warrenscourt.
Kindly donated to the museum by The Duggan Family, Warrenscourt.
“The dead Commander-in-Chief of the Irish Army was laid out in his uniform and boots. …. A sixteen inch high silver crucifix was placed on a table to the right of the body. Six large “mourning” candle-sticks and candles were strategically positioned, three at each side of the bed. The curtains were drawn and the candle lights flickered and a guard of honour was mounted in the room. Dr. Christy Kelly, who had a camera in his wardrobe (this was his room) decided that he would like to have a picture.”
The Day Michael Collins Was Shot – Meda Ryan (Poolbeg Press 1989)
Independence Museum Kilmurry are delighted to announce the release of a digital presentation, comprising our main collection dealing with one community’s experience from the Great Famine, through revolution, and on to independence. This release comprises approximately 1/3 of our extensive collection and will showcase our current museum collection as well as our archive; many of these artefacts are available here for the first time and thus make them easily accessible to citizens, students, national and international scholars, and historians.
Substantial funding has been generously granted from the Heritage Council, for resources, under their Community Heritage Grant Scheme for 2021.
The digital archive will be standardised according to international museum standards as part of the National Museum of Ireland’s aim “to encourage communities across the country to document and digitally safeguard the irreplaceable artefacts of their local heritage.”
While nothing can recreate the unique experience of the physical proximity to history and heritage that an actual visit to a museum offers, the digital aspect allows for the wider presentation, perusal and protection of documents and artefacts that would not otherwise be possible. The digital presentation will also allow a wider and more inclusive audience to browse or indeed search and engage with our archive.
Independence Museum Kilmurry
This project has been funded by The Heritage Council @HeritageHubIRE