ONE OF Ireland's greatest heroes was born on this day 130 years ago.
Michael Collins, who would help lead 26 counties of Ireland to freedom from the British, was born on 16 October 1890 in County Cork.
Mr Collins famously fought in the Easter Rising but escaped the death sentence handed down to much of his comrades, instead spending time as a prisoner of war.
Upon his release began rising in the ranks of Irish government while also strategising Irish movements during the war of Independence.
The revolutionary was the very first Chairman of the Provisional Government of the Irish Free State, and he kept the title until his untimely death by ambush on the 22nd of August, 1922.
Today, politicians and the public from Ireland and beyond are paying tribute to the man regarded as a hero to thousands of people across the globe.
Dedicated Irish history page The Irish At War posted two photographs of the soldier-- one a largely-circulated portrait, the other of him as a young boy in his hometown, along with the caption:
"In his short life, Collins would go on to fight in the GPO in 1916, become Minister of Finance, Director of Intelligence, Commander-in-Chief of the National Army & more all by the time he was 32."
#OnThisDay 1890 Michael Collins was born near Clonakilty, Cork. In his short life, Collins would go on to fight in the GPO in 1916, become Minister of Finance, Director of Intelligence, Commander-in-Chief of the National Army & more all by the time he was 32.#Ireland #History pic.twitter.com/v8Z5u0OGah
— The Irish at War (@irelandbattles) October 16, 2020
Former Ambassador from Ireland to the US, aptly-named Michael Collins, wrote "I am proud to bear the name of a hero."
"As the only Michael Collins ever to have served as an Irish Ambassador, it was invariably to my great advantage that so many encounters throughout my career opened with 'Any relation to the Big Fellow...?'"
Fine Gael senator Martin Conway wrote "Today we remember the great General Michael Collins on his birthday. He was born on 16th October 1890. Happy Birthday Mick."
Today we remember the great General Michael Collins on his birthday. He was born on 16th October 1890. Happy Birthday Mick pic.twitter.com/RjEZHS29dr
— Martin Conway (@conwayforclare) October 16, 2020
Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick, who created the world-famous portrait of Che Guevera and has also worked with Irish band Thin Lizzy, said "Without his intelligence and determination we would never have won Irish Independence".
Cork Fine Gael Councillor Joe Kavanagh shared a photograph of himself alongside 'the big fellow' and said he was "Privileged to light a candle in his memory and his significant contribution to the independence of our State."
Michael Collins was born 130 years ago today on October 16th 1890. Privileged to light a candle in his memory and his significant contribution to the independence of our State. pic.twitter.com/A5HMDpnece
— Cllr. Joe Kavanagh (@Joekavanaghcork) October 16, 2020
The Hugh Lane Art Gallery posted a haunting but "majestic" oil painting of Michael Collins lying in repose and wrapped in a Tricolour following his assassination in Béal na Bláth in 1922.
'Michael Collins (Love of Ireland)' ~ Sir John Lavery.
This image of Collins in death has a majestic quality that is underscored by the purple pillow on which his head rests. The emblems of the crucifix and tricolour emphasise that Collins died for his country. pic.twitter.com/OMtRZWuNhI
— Hugh Lane Gallery (@TheHughLane) October 15, 2020
Michael Collins was born 130 years ago and died 98 years ago, but his legacy prevails.
A portrait of the revolutionary hangs alongside Éamon de Valera in the office of the Taoiseach of Ireland-- and flowers and gifts are left on his Glasnevin grave each year.