History lessons at school presented Michael Collins as a national hero and a towering figure in the struggle for Irish independence.
It struck me then how similar were the life stories of Collins and that Irish hero of myth Cuchulainn, who chose to live large, die young and be remembered forever.
Collins may not have chosen to die young but he was aware of that likelihood. It did not deter him from his life’s mission.
I was amazed when I got older that the story of Michael Collins is known across the world by many of the peoples who have been under the yoke of the colonising nations of northern and western Europe. It seemed incredible that the ideas and efforts of one man affected world history and started the turn of fortune of the furthest reaching empire the world has ever known.
I tried to express in his stance this boldness of intent and to give a sense of his awareness of the importance of his endeavours, the very work that would earn him his place in history. In his face I wanted to read that strength of character that sustained him – he would need every bit of it to succeed.
Michael Collins looms large among the many Irish patriots who would not rest until the people could once again take charge of their own destiny.
“I shall not last long; my life is forfeit, but I shall do my best. After I am gone, it will be easier for others”