Artist Mick O’Dea pictured at the unveiling of his portrait of Michael Collins. Photo: Joleen Cronin

AN ENNIS DUO have collaborated together to complete a portrait in honour of Michael Collins, marking the centenary of his death.

Cork’s Imperial Hotel honoured the centenary of Collins’ death with the unveiling of a new portrait by Mick O’Dea. The historic hotel on South Mall was where the Irish Revolutionary leader spent his last two nights prior to his assassination at Béal na Bláth in West Cork on August 22, 1922.

Ennis based Allen Flynn of the Flynn Hotel Collection own The Imperial Hotel. The newly commissioned portrait by artist Mick O’Dea is now proudly on display in the hotel’s resplendent lobby. It was unveiled by Allen and John Flynn together with representatives of the Collins family, grandniece Fidelma Collins and grandnephew Aidan O’Sullivan.

Room 115 where Collins stayed at The Imperial Hotel is now The Michael Collins Suite. Allen said that they collaborated with the family for two years to complete the project. “It was a COVID project, while we were closed we thought a lot about the hotel and a lot about the people who stayed here during the years, of all the most iconic person would have been Michael Collins, we thought it was an ideal opportunity to take the room he stayed in and make it very much a bespoke room within the hotel. We decided to go back to the 1920s and think what the room would have been like at that time, we designed it very much for the period it was in”.

He added, “It is a way of celebrating an iconic aside from anyone’s politics, it is about celebrating the contribution he did. He was a TD, a Minister for Finance, one of the Chief Negotiators for the Treaty, his position within the Army and yet with all of that his life was taken tragically at the age of thirty”.

“It is a grey day outside but very much a lovely feeling within the hotel and a sense of the history coming back to the hotel, it dates back 200 years and we feel it is an ideal opportunity to highlight and showcase the contribution that Michael Collins has made,” the co-owner of The Old Ground Hotel stated.

Applause has been extended to Clare artist, O’Dea for his portrait of the Irish revolutionary leader. “I guess it’s because he spent about six weeks in total in uniform, the iconic images we have of him are in uniform and quite often those photographs that the paintings and images are taken from have been at occasions like Arthur Griffith’s funeral or important occasions like that, usually funerals. I think of Collins mainly as a fantastic administrator, a very capable and able man when it comes to organising and hence I chose to portray him out of uniform and as the very able administrator rather than the heroic military man,” he explained of his decision not to paint Collins in his military uniform.

Space above Collins’ head in the portrait symbolises the premature death of the Cork native, O’Dea outlined. “It is about placing him in space, it is within a large rectangle. I think the rectangle with a lot of space above his head is all about speculation, its mental capacity to speculate on the possibilities that were Michael Collins and the great tragedy that was his premature death”.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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