Ireland and Michael Collins

Essay by Chris O'KaneHigh School, 10th gradeF, March 1997

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(justified) Chris O'Kane

There are many conditions under which Ireland was divided into

two nations. Two main men were the main leaders of this split, Emon

de Valera and Michael Collins. Sinn Fein also played a large role. Their

differing visions for an Ireland free of British rule was the root

motivation for the split.

Born in New York City in 1882, Emon de Valera was described as

a 'tall, spectacled, schoolmasterly, of Jewish cast' as Tim Healy said.

Edward Norman, the author of A History of Modern Ireland, added that

de Valera was an 'austere theoretician' (Norman, 265). Michael Collins

was born in 1890 at Clonakilty, Co. Cork. Edward Norman said his

personality was to be to the contrary of de Valera's; he said Collins was

not an intellectual and was a man of violent impulses. He took that

statement further when he said the Collins would go as far to tumble his

colleagues on the floor and bite their ears in playful attention.

Now that

de Valera's and Collins' personalities have been established, we can now

analyze the events and actual conditions under which Ireland was under

that led ultimately to her freedom.

All across Ireland people were repulsed by the executions which

they considered to be needlessly brutal. What they lacked was new

leadership to focus the restless energy of the Irish into effective political

action, but it was not long in coming. At Christmas 1916 all rebel

prisoners who had been interned without trial, those that the British had

considered insignificant, were released as a goodwill gesture to the

United States which had been very angry by British conduct regarding

the rebels. This proved to be a costly mistake. Among those released

was a cadre of IRB men who had spent their time in prison...