Michael Collins (the Big Fellow) was born in Clonakilty, Co. Cork on the 16th October 1890. he moved to work in London at the age of fifteen, returning to Ireland in January 1916 to work for Count Plunkett and was a foot-soldier in the 1916 Rising.
During the War of Independence (1919-1921) he became director of intelligence of the I.R.A. He was a member of the delegation that negotiated the Anglo-Irish Treaty of the 6th December 1921 which established the 26 county Irish Free State.
Following ratification of the Treaty, the Irish government split into pro and anti-Treaty camps. A vicious civil war (1922-23) followed with Collins acting as Commander-in-chief of the pro-Treaty army.
On the 22nd August 1922, Michael Collins was fatally wounded at an ambush at Béal na Bláth (Béal Átha na Bláiche). An estimated 300,000 mourners attended his funeral.