The best quotes from and about Michael Collins



Michael Collins, the beloved revolutionary hero of Ireland who helped guide the Irish people during the War of Independence and the Anglo-Irish Treaty, was assassinated on August 22, 1922 in Béal na Bláth in County Cork.

He was the most admired Irishman of his generation and he spoke some memorable words during his lifetime. Here are our ten best quotes from Michael Collins:

“He comes from a smart Cork family.”

-Based on a Dublin Castle file that Collins himself found.

“There is no crime in detecting and destroying in times of war the spy and the informant. They destroyed without trial. I paid them back in their own room.

-Collins commenting on Bloody Sunday, when his men shot dead British spies in Dublin.

“Of Pearse and Connolly, I admire the latter the most. Connolly was a realist, Pearse the opposite. I would have followed Connolly to hell if such action had been necessary. But honestly, I doubt I would have followed Pearse … ”

-On the 1916 Easter Rising.

“Lloyd George… I find it particularly odious. He’s all comrade, all cunning and cunning – all arms around one shoulder … not so long ago, he would have happily had me at the end of the rope.

-On Lloyd George, then British Prime Minister.

“Give us the future..we have had enough of your past..give us our country to live in – to love.”

-During treaty negotiations.

“For me, the task is detestable. I go into the mind of the soldier who acts against his better judgment on the orders of his superior.

-By being sent to Downing Street for negotiations.

“Think about what I have for Ireland… Something she’s wanted for the past 700 years, will anyone be happy with this business, right?” I’m telling you, early this morning I signed my death warrant.

-After signing the treaty.

“In my opinion, this gives us the freedom, not the ultimate freedom that all nations desire… but the freedom to achieve it. “

– His point of view on the treaty.

“Yerra, they’ll never shoot me in my own country.”

-Just before leaving to face his fate in Beal Na mBlath.

“He was a sincere and fearless Irish patriot.”

-Winston Churchill on the man he once considered a relentless enemy.

Quotes from “The Little Green Book of Irish Wisdom” edited by Dermot McEvoy, Skyhorse Publishing.

* Originally published July 2014, updated August 2021.

Central Irish history

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