The Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr Gillian Coughlan at the launch of the new Michael Collins Trail. Photo: Brian Lougheed

Historical trail for the Big Fella

West Cork is now home to a new trail which will guide people to sites associated with the life of Michael Collins.

The Michael Collins Trail, which comes ahead of the centenary of his death next year, consists of 140 signs and waypoints linking points of interest relating to his life.

The trail has been developed by Cork County Council and has been designed to act as a historical guide, linking locations and providing tourists with an easy way of following the route and immersing themselves in the life of one of Ireland’s most important historical figures.

The Trail follows Collins’ birthplace, the West Cork Regional Museum and Michael Collins House in Clonakilty, while also linking to the ambush site at Béal na Bláth, the Independence Museum in Kilmurry and the Michael Collins Centre outside Clonakilty. There are alternative routes signposted which take in Bandon and Newcestown, and the trail is also signposted from the N22 at Crookstown.

Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr Gillian Coughlan said: “The story of Michael Collins is one that is well known, but the Michael Collins Trail will be a new way of following in his footsteps. From the place of his birth, to where he spent his formative years, to where he met a tragic end, these new signposts will help bring history to life. This new, free historical experience will allow visitors to remember the effort and sacrifice of one of the founding fathers of the modern Irish state.”

Tim Lucey, Chief Executive of Cork County Council, said: “Every sign on this new trail tells a unique part of the life of Michael Collins. As we move through this period of commemoration of the events that led to the foundation of our state, it is only appropriate that Michael Collins is appropriately remembered in his native West Cork. We look forward to there being a renewed interest in his life as we formally commemorate the centenary of his death in 2022.”