Michael Collins Centenary to be commemorated by Cork's Imperial Hotel - Whats On In West Cork

Michael Collins Centenary to be commemorated by Cork's Imperial Hotel

WO Media Team 17:37 10 Aug 2022


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Cork’s Grande Dame hotel unveils plans to pay tribute to one of their most famous guests

  • The Imperial Hotel will mark the centenary of the death of Michael Collins with a programme of commemorative events.
  • The historic hotel on South Mall was where the Irish Revolutionary leader spent his last 2 nights prior to his assassination at Béal na Bláth in West Cork on 22 August 1922

Cork’s Grande Dame, The Imperial Hotel, has announced plans to mark the 100-year anniversary of the death of Irish revolutionary leader Michael Collins. The luxury boutique hotel has planned a centenary commemoration programme for the 21st and 22nd of August 2022.

Collins, an iconic figure in Irish history and one of Cork’s most famous sons, was a regular guest and poignantly spent the last two nights of his life at the city centre hotel, which had been used as a military headquarters at the time.

They will be joined on the date of the anniversary by relatives of Michael Collins, who will officially open the new ‘Michael Collins Suite’ and unveil a newly commissioned portrait of the revolutionary leader. About 30 of Collins’s relatives will have spent the night previous as guests of the hotel before joining for a private family breakfast on ahead of the portrait unveiling at 10am Monday 22nd August. The family will depart the Imperial mid-morning and follow the exact route Michael Collins took to West Cork 100 fateful years ago.

The West Cork native departed the Imperial Hotel at 6.15 am on Tuesday, August 22 1922 via Pembroke Street where the main entrance was at that time. Travelling with Emmet Dalton in a yellow Leyland Thomas Straight Eight touring car, along with a small military convoy, they headed to Macroom,, Crookstown, Bandon, Clonakilty and Skibbereen. The convoy was ambushed by anti-treaty forces at Béal na Bláth just before sunset, at 7.30 pm where Collins was fatally wounded. He was initially transferred to the armoured car and then the touring car for the sombre return journey. Collins’ body was brought back to the Imperial Hotel where he was examined by a military doctor and formally pronounced dead. He was tragically just 31 years old at the time of his death.

‘The Big Fellow’, as he was known, was an Irish revolutionary, soldier and politician who was a leading figure in the early-20th century struggle for Irish independence. Having fought in the Easter Rising in 1916, Collins rose through the political ranks and was elected as a TD for South Cork and appointed Minister for Finance in the first Dáil. He was a major figure in the War of Independence, a key negotiator of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, Chairman of the Provisional Government of the Irish Free State and commander-in-chief of the National Army until his untimely death during the Irish Civil War.

To pay tribute to the larger-than-life historic figure and one of their high-profile guests, the Imperial has fittingly planned a number of commemorative tributes this August:

New Michael Collins Suite:

Room number 115, where Collins stayed, will henceforth been known as the ‘Michael Collins Suite’ and has undergone a significant renovation in order to curate the historic connection in a luxury 1920’s style. The suite will be officially unveiled on the weekend of the anniversary by family members who will also be the first to sign the visitor book in the room.

While bedrooms throughout the hotel have a modern white door and frame, the former room 115 will now stand out from the crowd with a striking mahogany door and frame and a brass nameplate bearing the inscription ‘Michael Collins Suite’. The interior styling of the room will feature green hues in the soft furnishings, an impressive mahogany four poster bed, an elegant wooden floor and furniture dating from the period. The suite, which will feature a bust of Collins on the writing desk, will be left vacant with a rope and black ribbon on the day of the centenary as a mark of respect.

New portrait of Michael Collins to be unveiled:

The Flynn Family (owners of the Flynn Collection of hotels which includes the Imperial Hotel) have commissioned a new portrait of Michael Collins by Irish portrait artist Mick O’ Dea from Ennis. This painting will be officially unveiled in the hotels spectacular lobby on Monday 22nd of August 2022 by Collins’ grandniece Fidelma Collins and grandnephew Aidan O’ Sullivan. The painting will be available to be viewed by guests and members of the public from that date forward.

Michael Collins Last Days Documentary Screenings

On Sunday 21st August members of Michael Collins’s family will sit in for the screening of two documentaries which will be introduced by historian Bartle Darcy. The first documentary will be the premier of the award-winning documentary called ‘The Collector’ by Fionnáin Creative Arts and has a run time of 30mins.The main feature will be a documentary called Michael Collins The Final Days directed by Marcus Howard from Easter Rising Stories and this has a run. time of 1 hour. Members of the public are welcome to also attend the screening which will take place in the ballroom at 6.30pm but as spaces in the room are limited to 100 booking via the hotel is essential to avoid disappointment.

Booking link: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/michael-collins-last-days-documentary-screenings-tickets-397602679317

Michael Collins Lecture in partnership with Cork City Library:

In the evening of the centenary there will be a historical talk given in partnership with Cork City Library by Pól O’Murchu who is a grandnephew of Michael Collins. The talk, titled ‘Michael Collins Himself’ will focus on Collins the man rather than Collins the politician.will take place in Lafayettes at the Imperial Hotel at 6.30pm on Monday 22nd August and anyone who would like to attend should register in advance on

Booking link: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/micheal-collins-himself-tickets-397788745847

The Big Fellow’s Final Journey Tour

Members of the public will have the option to pre book a tour given by Denis O’Sullivan of Wild Atlantic Luxury Tours which will depart the Imperial from the South Mall will follow the same route Michael Collins took on what would tragically be his final journey. See https://wildatlanticluxurytours.ie/ for more

Commenting on the centenary Allen Flynn Owner of the Imperial Hotel said “As a proud Irish family run business we at the Flynn Hotel Collection have the unique pleasure of owning and operating a number of historic properties including the Cork’s Grande Dame the Imperial Hotel. In its 206-year history the hotel has welcomed famous and historic figures, but the Michael Collins connection is especially strong as he was a repeat guest and tragically spent his last night in room 115. It is a deep honour for us to pay tribute to Collins with a newly commissioned portrait and by turning the room where he stayed into the majestic Michael Collins Suite, which we hope will be met with his family’s approval and be a place for those who have an enduring regard for his place in history to stay in the future”

For queries or bookings contact michaelcollins@imperialhotelcork.ie, call 021-4274040 or see imperialhotelcork.com #ImperialMoments #MichaelCollinsCentenery #RememberingMichaelCollins

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