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03 Oct 2022

Taoiseach and Tánaiste welcome An Post’s stamp marking Michael Collins centenary 

 

Stamp by designer Ger Garland commemorates the centenary of Collins' death in 1922

Michael Collins centenary stamp

Stamp by designer Ger Garland commemorates the centenary of Collins' death in 1922

Today An Post marks the centenary of the death of Michael Collins with a new stamp.  

 

The national rate stamp, designed by Ger Garland, goes on general release on Thursday August 18 and is available in selected post offices nationwide and at anpost.com/shop. The design features photography by C. & L. Walsh, of Michael Collins in military uniform (courtesy of the National Library of Ireland.)  

 

An Post have also produced a commemorative First Day Cover (envelope) which carries the new stamp and a specially designed cancellation mark featuring Collins’ name in similar typeface to that on the Béal na Bláth monument. In a break from tradition, and marking Collins’ Cork background, the cancellation mark includes the designation ‘Corcaigh’. 

 

Michael Collins’ death on August 22, 1922 was the highest profile casualty of the Irish Civil War, which arose over the terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. As Chairman of the Provisional Government and Commander-in-Chief of the newly established Irish Army, Collins was the main pro-Treaty advocate. 

  

The Taoiseach, Micheál Martin said: "I welcome An Post’s issue of a single commemorative stamp to mark the centenary of Michael Collins death. It is fitting that an individual such as Michael Collins, who played such a pivotal role in the foundation of our state, should be commemorated in this way."

 

The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar said: "Michael Collins was instrumental in shaping our State. To me, he is first among equals among its founders. He had the courage to take on an Empire forcing it to the negotiating table. He then risked his reputation and his life by working to secure a peace settlement persuading the majority of people to support it. It is especially fitting that this stamp will be issued by An Post ahead of the centenary of the assassination of Michael Collins on Sunday 22 August."

 

On August 20, Collins left Dublin with an escort convoy for his native County Cork. Two days later, they travelled to West Cork, passing through the tiny crossroads village of Béal na Bláth, where they were spotted by a scout with the local anti-Treaty forces. With many of the roads in the area blocked, they returned via the same Béal na Bláth route, where anti-Treaty forces ambushed the group, Collins was the only fatality in the ambush. 

  

Known as the "Big Fellow" —  Michael Collins was a leading figure in the War of Independence. He was aide-de-camp to Joseph Plunkett during the 1916 Easter Rising. A British signatory to the Anglo-Irish Treaty in December 1921, Lord Birkenhead, said that, in doing so, he may have signed his political death warrant. Michael Collins, a member of the five-strong Irish delegation who signed, was quoted as saying: “I may have signed my [actual] death warrant.” His premonition tragically came to pass less than nine months later when he died in the ambush at Béal na Bláth. 


Collins said of Ireland “We are a small nation. Our military strength in proportion to the mighty armaments of modern nations can never be considerable. Our strength as a nation will depend upon our economic freedom, and upon our moral and intellectual force. In these we can become a shining light in the world.”


The stamp is a fitting tribute to Collins and depicts him looking strikingly handsome in military uniform. His charisma, intelligence and leadership qualities made his death a significant loss to the new Irish State. The stamp launch is an element of a series of events to commemorate the death of Collins this year. Locally, the Kilkenny Historical Re-enactment Group will commemorate the 100th anniversary marking the death of Michael Collins on August 21 at 4:30 pm in Kilkenny Castle Park.

 

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