Statue of Michael Collins to be unveiled on Cork's Grand Parade

Statue Of Michael Collins To Be Unveiled On Cork's Grand Parade
Michael Collins speaking from a platform on the Grand Parade in Cork in March 1922 to 50,000 people. The new statue will be unveiled on the exact spot where he gave the famous speech.
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James Cox

A statue of Michael Collins will be unveiled on Friday, October 20th on the Grand Parade in Cork city, the scene of one of Collins’ most famous public orations.

The near life-size statue will show Collins standing alongside a bicycle, "a nostalgic nod to the iconic photograph of him taken with a Pierce bicycle in Wexford in 1922".


Collins famously cycled around Dublin regularly despite there being a bounty on his head.

Renowned sculptor Kevin Holland was commissioned to create the new statue and the piece is being described as a “monument for the people, from the people” funded through a crowd-funding scheme spearheaded by the Michael Collins 100 committee.

The name of every person who made a contribution to the fundraising drive is in a “time capsule” which has been placed in the plinth of the statue. Holland also created the landmark statue of Collins in Clonakilty.

An open invitation has been extended for the public to attend the unveiling and be part of "an historic and long-awaited moment to honour Michael Collins".


Michael Collins speaking from a platform on the Grand Parade in Cork in March 1922 to 50,000 people. The new statue will be unveiled on the exact spot where he gave the famous speech.

Cork sporting heroes Ronan O’Gara, Jimmy Barry Murphy and Rena Buckley will officially unveil the statue with members of the Collins family and the Michael Collins 100 committee also in attendance.

The Armoured car “Sliabh na mBan” from the convoy that made the historic journey on the day of Michael Collins’ death will also be on show, and Cork musician John Spillane will perform a new Michael Collins song that he wrote for the occasion.

The public ceremony will take place outside Cork City Library on Cork’s Grand Parade on Friday, October 20th at 12pm.


Cast in Germany, the new bronze statue is currently in Macroom where the final coat of bronze patina is being applied.

At the launch of the Cork City Statue project at Cork City Hall in December 2022, with a 12-inch model of the statue were L to R Fidelma Collins (grand niece), Sculptor Kevin Holland and Nora Owen (grand niece).

The statue will be set at ground level, "as a nod to Collins running the War of Independence among the people", inside a stone surround of carved limestone paving with information on Collins’ life.

The site was chosen as it has historical links to Collins. On March 12th, 1922, the ‘Big Fella’ attended a rally on Grand Parade. That day, Collins delivered a passionate speech to a reported crowd of 50,000 people.


Collins’ convoy would have also passed the spot early on the morning of August 22nd, 1922, on his journey from the Imperial Hotel, where he spent his last night, on route to Béal na Bláth where he was shot dead later that day. It is also possible that his body passed the location in the early hours of the following morning.

Michael Collins standing with a bicycle at the Pierce bicycle factory in Wexford during a visit there in April 1922. The new Cork Statue is largely based on this photograph.

Michael Collins 100 Committee chairman Tim Crowley said: “We’re inviting everyone to join us for this momentous occasion and are honoured to have three Cork sporting legends unveil the statue - all extraordinary people in their own right like Collins himself.

“We are expecting a large turn-out, so I would advise anyone who wishes to attend to get there before 12 midday. It should be a great day and a fitting tribute to Cork’s and Ireland’s greatest hero.”

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