Arts/Antiques News

Michael Collins display in Kilmainham Gaol Museum

Kilmainham Gaol Museum

The Kilmainham Gaol Museum is exhibiting artefacts pertaining to the death of Michael Collins at Béal na Blá. The display marks the centenary of his assassination on 22 August 1922.

Amongst the significant artefacts are items that once belonged to Lady Hazel Lavery, such as a note Collins wrote but never sent on the day he was killed. It reads: ‘Hazel, my Dear Dear Hazel, I too wish it were tomorrow, With all my love, Your M’. The missive was subsequently pasted into an edition of Rossetti’s poems along with other notes he sent her.

Other items range from the scapular Collins was wearing when he died, a lock of his hair, and a letter from Sir Shane Leslie to Sir John Lavery, which was found on Collins’s person after his death. The letter was written in June 1922 and in it, Leslie praised paintings of Lavery’s which were on display in the Grosvenor Gallery in London and included portraits of Hazel and Michael Collins. Apparently, when Hazel Lavery showed the letter to Collins, he asked if he might keep it.

Visitors can also view other pieces connected with Collins, such as a military stick which formed part of his uniform as a general in the new Irish army; he can be seen holding the stick in several photographic portraits from that time. The museum also holds a silver-backed hairbrush inscribed with his signature, which he was gifted by his fiancée Kitty Kiernan.

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