August Document of the Month: Funeral of General Michael Collins

On 22nd of August 1922, General Michael Collins was killed in action during an ambush with Anti-Treaty forces at Béal na mBláth, County Cork.  Collins had departed Portobello (later Cathal Brugha) barracks in Rathmines, Dublin two days previously to begin his ill-fated tour of the south, as the Irish Civil War entered into its third month.  Portobello barracks, which was then General Head Quarters of the Army, was also the location of Collins’ quarters while Commander in Chief.  The barracks is today home to the Military Archives, while the Defence Forces School of Music occupies the building where Collins once lived.

This month’s featured document at Military Archives is a handwritten list of the pall bearers for General Collins coffin, which was carried by Gun Carriage from the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin to be interred at Glasnevin cemetery.  According to the Ceremonial Order for the Funeral Mass, which was held on Monday 28th August 1922:

“…The pall bearers will parade outside [the] Pro-Cathedral at 10.40a.m. At 1055 they will march into the church to take up positions on each side of the catalfa[q]ue and will act as Guard of Honour during Mass.

After Mass, the remains will be borne by them to the Gun Carriage. The coffin will be carried on the arms until the street is reached when it will be raised to the shoulders and carried to the Gun Carriage. They will march in two files directly behind the Gun Carriage keeping in line with the wheels... (Military Archives file IE/MA/3/25462)

The handwritten list of the pall bearers is taken form the Old Dublin BrigadAssociation private collection at Military Archives (IE/MA/ODB/06).  We have also included a photograph of the pall bearers at the steps of the Pro-Cathedral, reproduced by kind permission of the Collins 22 Society.

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Members of bearer party for Michael Collins funeral (IE/MA/ODB/06)
Collins bearer party (Courtsey of Collins 22 Society)