After a lovely weekend down at the end of the road in Garnish, West Cork, we found ourselves passing through the village of Béal na mBláth. Taking the opportunity and being so close we decided to visit the site of the the ambush of Michael Collins and his subsequent death at a bend in the road just outside Béal na mBláth. The ambush site is marked by a huge celtic cross and an interpretative sign located approximately where Collins was shot in August 1922. A small marker (which I show here) marks the spot where Collins expired.
Michael Collins was one of the leaders in the movement that resulted in Irish independence and was tragically assassinated on an inspection tour of his home county of Cork during the Irish Civil War.
The ambush site is located on what is still a small and winding road surrounded by hills on either side – a superb choice for an ambush. A large celtic cross is surrounded by a well maintained ironwork fence at the bend in the road. There are yearly commemorations of the anniversary of the tragic loss of Michael Collins to the future of Ireland. The siginificance of the loss is still the subject of conjecture and has much to do with the colour of one’s political stripes. Fine Gael hail Collins as the forefather of the party and sees the anniversary as a spiritual annual event. Fiana Fáil supporters on the other hand may be a little more tight lipped on their opinions about the event. In either case, the significance of the event is of unquestionable importance in Irish history. An article from the Independent published in 2007 eloquently expressed the significance of Michael Collins to modern Ireland.
Interestingly, the cross itself is littered with coins. I presume they are left as good luck tokens, but found this a curious practise. Maybe tribute to Michael Collin’s role as finance minister?