17 August 2014: Annual commemoration of the deaths of Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins, Glasnevin Cemetery

DSC_1412The annual Collins-Griffith commemoration took place in Glasnevin Cemetery on Sunday 17 August 2014, to mark the deaths of both Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins in August 1922. Arthur Griffith (31 March 1872 – 12 August 1922) was the politician and journalist who founded and later led the political party Sinn Féin. He served as President of Dáil Éireann from January to August 1922, and was head of the Irish delegation at the negotiations in London that led to the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921. Collins (16 October 1890 – 22 August 1922) was an Irish revolutionary leader, Minister for Finance and TD in the first Dáil of 1919, Director of Intelligence of the IRA, and member of the Irish delegation during the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations. Subsequently, in early 1922 he became both Chairman of the Provisional Government and Commander-in-chief of the National Army. He was shot and killed in August 22nd 1922 in an ambush at Beal na Bláth, in west Cork.


DSC_1491Each year, in mid-August, the Collins-Griffith Commemoration Society organises the ceremony at Glasnevin Cemetery to commemorate the lives and legacies of two of the chief architects of the Irish Free State. Wreaths were laid at the graves of Collins and Griffith, and the cermony was attended by a number of relatives, including former justice minister Nora Owen, a grand-niece of Michael Collins. Others in attendance included Dr. Risteárd Mulcahy, the son of Gen. Richard Mulcahy, the former IRA Chief of Staff who succeeded Collins as commander-in-chief of the National Army. The ceremony was also attended by a Defence Forces colour party, and the iconic armoured car ‘Sliabh na mBan’, which transported Collins’ mortally wounded body from the ambush site at Béal na Bláth back to Cork City on 22 August 1922, was on loan from the Curragh Military Museum, and was positioned beside Collins’ grave. The ceremony was followed by a commemorative lecture by Dr David Murphy of NUI Maynooth.


In addressing the assembled gathering Eddie Nolan, Chairman of the Collins-Griffith Society said that ‘we are here today to commemorate the lives and deaths of these two great Irish patriots…Their names will forever be linked closely together in Irish history particularly their roles in the Treaty negotiations, their achievement in guiding the agreement through Dáil Éireann and also because of their all too premature deaths within a few short weeks of each other’.


Frances FitzGerald TD, Minister for Justice and Equality, also laid a wreath, and stated that ‘on behalf of the Government, I was honoured today to lay a wreath in recognition of General Michael Collins and his heroic contribution to the establishment of the Irish state. I wish to commend the Collins Griffith Commemoration Committee and Glasnevin Trust on their efforts to enhance this commemoration as part of the ‘Decade of Commemorations’. The participation of the Irish Defences Forces at today’s ceremony was particularly fitting given the role of General Michael Collins as Commander of Chief of the National Army at the time of his tragic death in 1922’.


Learn more about the lives and careers of Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins, from the RIA Dictionary of Irish Biography.


Explore the National Archives of Ireland’s online exhibition on the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921.


Watch the British Pathé footage of the funeral of Michael Collins.












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