Michael Collins (Irish: Mícheál Ó Coileáin; 16 October 1890 – 22 August 1922) was an Irish revolutionary leader, Minister for Finance and Teachta Dála (TD) for Cork South in the First Dáil of 1919, Director of Intelligence for the IRA, and member of the Irish delegation during the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations. Subsequently, he was both Chairman of the Provisional Government and Commander-in-chief of the National Army. Collins was assassinated in August 1922 during the Irish Civil War.
Although most Irish political parties recognise his contribution to the foundation of the modern Irish state, supporters of Fine Gael hold his memory in particular esteem, regarding him as their movement's founding father.
Born in Sam's Cross, near Clonakilty, County Cork, Collins was the third son and youngest of eight children. Most biographies state his date of birth as 16 October 1890, but his tombstone gives his date of birth as 12 October 1890. His father, also named Michael, had become a member of the republican Fenian movement, but had left and settled down to farming. The elder Collins was 60 years old when he married Mary Anne O'Brien, then 23, in 1876. The marriage was apparently happy and they brought up eight children on their 90-acre (36 ha) farm in Woodfield. Michael was six years old when his father died. On his death bed, his father (who was the seventh son of a seventh son) predicted that his daughter Helena (one of Michael's elder sisters) would become a nun (which she did, known as Sister Mary Celestine, based in Whitby). He then turned to the family and told them to take care of Michael, because "One day he'll be a great man. He'll do great work for Ireland."
Collins was a bright and precocious child, with a fiery temper and a passionate feeling of nationalism. This was spurred on by a local blacksmith, James Santry, and later, at the Lisavaird National School by a local school headmaster, Denis Lyons, a member of the Irish Republican...