Reports on the Funeral of Michael Collins 1922 | Adoption of the Flag

Lying in State Michael Collins
Lying in State Michael Collins

1922 - Funeral of Michael Collins

When the boat was moored, we went on board and as we advanced towards the coffin, covered by the national flag, Emmet Dalton, Collins’ companion in the fatal ambush, emerged from the companion-way bearing the dead hero’s military cap

(Fr Doyle - Military Bureau Statement)

Coverage of the Funeral

(At the pro-cathedral) “Down the steps came the great oak coffin, with its purple handles, bearing the tricolour flag and single white lily, the last gift of the dead General’s military cap, ….


“He was our hero, our legend, and his words were the word of a poet rather than of a soldier at arms”  (General Richard Mulcahy, oration)

The Irish Times, 29 August 1922, p5. 


The Tricolour that draped his coffin

Sister Celestine, Michael Collins’s sister, left her home in Clonakilty in August 1901 to join a convent in Hull and never saw him again, returning to Ireland to attend his funeral. She was presented with the silk tricolour that draped the coffin, and she took it back with her to Hull, later presenting it to the Church of the Apparitions, in Paray-le-Monial, France.

(Irish Independent, 14 June 1965, p10)

The symbols of an Army

Another article of “The symbols of an Army” considered the purpose of a soldier’s uniform, and how the tricolour was used at the birth of the state as part of the tribute to a dead soldier.

[A soldier] gives up his own free will to be obedient to the country’s will; he relinquishes his birthright of freedom, taking up voluntarily the yoke of sacrifice. When a soldier dies, the tricolour is laid on his body, as symbolic of the fact that he died in the service of his country … It is of greater still moment to die honorably in that sacred service, reflecting by one’s own death added lustre on the colours of the army and the nation. The reversal of arms at a funeral are an acknowledgement of the victory of the spiritual life over the mortal life of man. Death puts the rifle to shame, and the reversed arms are a fitting sign of reverence. It provides part of the atmosphere of military mourning. The shots fired over the grave are the last salute from the comrades of the dead soldier to his soul passing on its way to eternity.”

An t-Óghlách, 24 June 1922, p1




Lustre: glory or distinction

Reverence: deep respect

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