Civil War, Michael Collins, News, War Of Independence

Art brings tragedy to life

Michael Collins at Béal na Blá painting

The artist William Mulhall who is based in county Down called me out of the blue a few months ago and we spoke for a while about Michael Collins.

I told him about an idea for a painting I had for a good few years. As I don’t believe in the conspiracy theories, I often tried to imagine the shock and horror that struck Emmet Dalton and Sean O’Connell, Michael Collins’ two officers at Béal na Blá, when they found Collins had been shot.

Their idol, this larger than life figure, lying helpless on the side of the road with a horrible bullet wound on the back of his head. The fact they found their Commander in Chief lying face down with his head resting on his rifle and the weapon gripped in his two fists, conjures up in my mind the image of a crucifixion. William Mulhall decided to paint the scene and he gave us a big surprise last week when he told us he was going to present the painting to our museum.

Some paintings of the events at Béal na Bla glorify the death of Michael Collins, but I think William’s work which is somewhat shocking, really portrays the huge price that this great leader Michael Collins paid for his country and for all of us.

Thank you, William

We would also like to thank a good friend of our museum who also commissioned William Mulhall to create his version of “Love of Ireland” the famous painting by Sir John Lavery. That painting has also been donated to our museum.

The photographs below show the new Michael Collins at Béal na Blá painting, the artist William Mulhall with the work and Dolores, Tadhg and yours truly with the two new paintings.

The Michael Collins Centre Museum will be open for just two presentations on tomorrow Monday, the one hundred anniversary of the death of Michael Collins, at 11am and 1pm.