“‘Bring me into the spotlight of a London conference’: Michael Collins from Truce to Treaty”
A famously reluctant member of the Irish delegation which negotiated a peace settlement with the British government in autumn 1921, Michael Collins seemed best placed to convince many of those committed to the republic to accept the inevitable compromises. The measure of his success or betrayal, depending on your point of view, often flowed from this ambiguous bind. While the reasons that took Collins to London are many, by going, he became the focal point of a new and intense type of attention. Using the stories and press reports that circulated about him during the negotiations, Dr Anne Dolan and Dr Will Murphy will consider in this lecture, the nature and consequences of this focus upon Collins. How did it shape the negotiations? Did it help or hinder Collins? Did that ‘spotlight’ expose as he feared, ‘the common clay of which I am made’? Programmed as part of the Dublin Festival of History, this event is co-hosted by the National Archives and the National Library of Ireland.