standard-title Michael Collins Centre

Michael Collins Centre

Michael Collins Centre

At the Michael Collins Centre visitors can enjoy live illustrated presentations, audiovisuals and an impressive exhibition of Michael Collins artifacts, memorabilia, militaria and photographs. The audiovisuals include two films: one explores the sites in West Cork associated with Michael Collins and the other is a collection of archive footage and audio recordings.

Our Centre is famous for its live talks and slideshows, in which over one hundred photographs are used to tell the story of Michael Collins; these are delivered three times daily by our expert historian/guides. The history surrounding Michael Collins is told using the traditional Irish method of storytelling; one of the greatest joys of working at the Centre is listening to the many stories that our visitors share with us regarding their own family connections with Collins, West Cork or that period of our history. The Michael Collins Centre Collection contains some personal items, which belonged to Michael Collins and artifacts from the World War 1, 1916 Rebellion, Irish War of Independence and Civil War.

As well as the Michael Collins exhibition, the Centre has smaller displays on two other historically significant figures with local connections: Henry Ford and former US President, John F. Kennedy. More Irish fought and died in the American Civil War, than in the Irish Civil War. You could argue that the American Civil War was part of the lead up to the Irish revolutionary period. Michael Collins Centre also has a small American Civil War collection.


Memorial Park

The Centre is located on a beautiful site on the Crowley family farm, the highest point in the Clonakilty area, overlooking the magnificent Argideen River Valley with breathtaking views of the Dunmanway hills and the Cork/Kerry Mountains. The area surrounding the Centre has been developed as a memorial park, which is laid out as a series of life-size memorials dedicated to characters, events and sites directly associated with Michael Collins. The Béal na Blá memorial is a 100m, life-size re-creation of the Béal na Blá ambush site, where Michael Collins was killed, with replicas of the vehicles in Collins’ convoy: a Rolls-Royce Whippet armoured car called Sliabh na mBan, a Crossley Tender (troop lorry) and a Leyland Eight touring car.

Archaeological monuments commonly found in the West Cork landscape inspire other memorials; for example the Michael Collins memorial is a life-size replica of a wedge tomb inspired by Leach Neill megalithic tomb near Béal na Blá. The 1798 memorial is a life-size replica of the ruins of an ecclesiastical site inspired by an early medieval church site, Castleventry, which is located near the birthplace of Michael Collins; there are replicas of the ruins of a church, a watch house, a holy well, a grotto and over one-hundred uninscribed grave-markers. The Battle of the Big Cross took place on 19 June 1798, 4km west of the Memorial Park; while most of the names of the men who fought in the battle and the location of their graves are unknown, the replica grave-markers commemorate the local United Irishmen rebels who died that day in their fight for Irish freedom.




The Country Life Show

The Country Life Show was specially created for active retirement groups and for groups who would prefer a more varied presentation. The show takes place in the ‘farmhouse theatre’ with its large, traditional open fireplace and settle, and loft overhead. By candlelight Dolores Crowley, co-founder of the Michael Collins Centre, begins the show with a demonstration on traditional baking methods as she prepares a cake mixture, which is then placed in a bastable on the open fire. As the room gradually fills with the smell of the cake as it bakes, a talk on old superstitions begins. This is followed by a session of stories, humorous songs and monologs presented by Tim Crowley, co-founder of the Michael Collins Centre, and Michael O’Brien, expert guide and all-round entertainer.

A slideshow, is then delivered by Tim Crowley, which traces the history of West Cork from the Bronze Age through to the time of the Irish Civil War; it explores the history of local monasteries, castles, the 1798 Rebellion, the Famine, the 1916 Rising and the story of Michael Collins. Afterwards the cake, cooked on the open fire, is presented to the group to enjoy. Visitors can then take time to view the collection of artifacts, memorabilia and photographs on display in the Michael Collins Centre.
Country Life Show has to be Pre-Booked
Running time: 1.5hours (excluding time for unloading/loading coach).
Capacity of farmhouse theatre: 50 adults.

Cake Baking In The Bastable On The Open Fire



The Michael Collins Centre recently launched a new book entitled “In Search of Michael Collins”. It was written by Tim Crowley, co-founder of the Michael Collins Centre. The 122-page book is an illustrated history and guide to the places in Co. Cork associated with Michael Collins; it is filled with local historical information, Collins family history and lore, maps, original artwork and photographs. It also includes some never-before-seen photographs of Collins, his family and his homestead, as well as extracts from interviews with close relatives of Michael Collins.

In Search of Michael Collins is available from the Michael Collins Centre, Castleview, Clonakilty, Co. Cork. 
Cost: €10 plus P&P.


In search of Michael Collins