The Collins Papers Online Release


In response to the ongoing Decade of Centenaries and increased public interest in accessing archives which chart the revolutionary period, the Military Archives is pleased to announce the online release of The Collins Papers. Over 6,000 documents dating from 1918 to early 1922, taking in the War of Independence years (1919 – 1921) and tumultuous post Truce and Treaty period are held in The Collins Papers.

The collection contains communications (despatches) mainly between I.R.A. Brigade and Battalion Officers and predominately those holding appointments in I.R.A. General Headquarters including Michael Collins, Richard Mulcahy, Cathal Brugha and Gearoid O’Sullivan. The chief creator and man behind most of the paperwork held in this collection was General Michael Collins. The collection, which has been in the custody of the Military Archives for decades, was named ‘The Collins Papers’ to signify that connection.

The paperwork links to Michael Collins’ successive G.H.Q. appointments post the third Convention of the Irish Volunteers (19th November 1917) including the periods when he was Director of Organisation, Adjutant General and Director of Intelligence. Much of the later intelligence material (post Truce and Treaty period) held in the collection can be attributed to Collins’ intelligence deputies, Frank Thornton and Liam Tobin. The collection also contains a number of files linked to Collins' ministerial position in the Department of Finance and as Teachta Dála (TD) for Armagh (1921-1922) in Dáil Eireann.

The release of these papers online marks the final stage in a very long journey which took these papers from their point of creation to eventual preservation in the Military Archives. The advent of the Collins Papers online presents new opportunities to a global audience to analyse the years preceding and encompassing the War of Independence and the post Truce and Treaty period, using the records created by I.R.A. leaders and General Headquarters staff.

More details on the collection, its archival history and contents can be found by visiting the Collection Page, which also includes a customised search tool to assist users in the navigation of the catalogue and the associated digitised collection files.