Up to 2002 no statue of Michael Collins existed anywhere in the world, so a small group got together in Clonakilty in 2001 to rectify that situation. The main organizers were Tim and Dolores Crowley of the Michael Collins Center and Traolach O’ Donnabhain of Clonakilty Historical Society. Sculptor Kevin Holland was commissioned to make a seven foot bronze statue of Collins and it was decided to place the piece at the edge of Emmet Square in Clonakilty.
The patriot lived in the square with his sister Margaret and her husband Patrick O’Driscoll from 1904 to 1905. For many years, street lore indicated that the house where the O’Driscolls lived was No 7 Emmet Square. But in 2014, entries in the Cancelled Land Books were discovered in the National Archives, which prove that the O’Driscolls and Michael Collins lived in No 13 Emmet square, now a private residence.
Over £100,000 was raised for to pay for the statue and to fund a weeklong festival leading up to the unveiling ceremony. August 22nd 2002 the 80th anniversary of the Big Fella’s death was picked as the date for the unveiling and film actor Liam Neeson agreed to travel from the United States to unveil the statue.
Seven and a half thousand people attended the event, on a beautiful August evening and today a statue depicting Michael Collins making a speech stands proud in his hometown of Clonakilty.