It’s a poignant piece of local history.
The room where Michael Collins spent his last night on Earth before his death in an ambush at Béal na Bláth in West Cork has been renovated and renamed in his honour.
Collins, an iconic figure in Irish history and one of Cork’s most famous sons, was a regular guest at The Imperial Hotel on the South Mall and poignantly spent the last two nights of his life there, as it was used as a military headquarters at the time.
The West Cork native departed the Imperial Hotel at 6.15 am on Tuesday, August 22nd, 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 7.30pm where Collins was fatally wounded.
Collins’ body was brought back to the Imperial Hotel where he was examined by a military doctor and formally pronounced dead, aged just 31.
One hundred years later, family members of Collins will stay at the same hotel and join in commemorative events including documentary screenings, the unveiling of both a new Michael Collins portrait in the hotel’s lobby and the dedication of a new ‘Michael Collins Suite’ in the former room 115, which has been given a vintage 1920’s style makeover.
“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’.” a hotel spokesperson told Yay Cork.
“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.”
Michael Collins Lecture in partnership with Cork City Library
On the evening of the centenary, there will be a historical talk given in partnership with Cork City Library by Pól O’Murchú, a grandnephew of Michael Collins. The talk, titled ‘Michael Collins Himself’ will focus on Collins the man rather than Collins the politician and will take place in Lafayettes at the Imperial Hotel at 6.30pm on Monday, August 22nd. Register here for a seat.