Famous throughout Ireland, Michael Collins was an Irish revolutionary leader, Minister for Finance and Teachta Dála (TD) for Cork South in the First Dáil of 1919. A director of Intelligence for the IRA and member of the Irish delegation during the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations, Collins was an influential and respected figure in Ireland then and still today, and each year an annual commemoration ceremony takes place in August at the ambush site at Béal na Bláth, Cork, where Collins was shot and killed in August 1922, during the Irish Civil War.
Today, some 90 years after his passing, the prayer book belonging to Collins has surfaced in France. Titled the Christian Armed against the Seductions of the of World and the Illusions of His Own Heart, it contains prayers and meditations.
The leather bound prayer book with gilt-edged pages was found among his belongings in the Portobello Barracks, Rathmines and was returned to the Collins family, who passed it on in November 1922 as a gift to a nun, Sr Aloysius at the Covent of Mercy in Cappoquin, County Waterford.
The prayer book was eventually inherited by an Irish woman now residing in Southern France, who has decided to sell it, along with a letter from a priest, Fr Ignatius of the Passionist Order, who had given the book to Collins.
Sure to be high on the wish list for all collectors of Collins memorabilia, the prayer book and priest’s letter will be returning home to Ireland to be auctioned together by rare book auctioneers, Mealy’s, in Dublin in December.