Collins named as Britain’s second greatest foe
As UCC begins its programme of events to commemorate the centenary of the ‘revolutionary decade’ in Irish history of 1912-23, Gabriel Doherty of the School of History was recently invited to speak in support of Michael Collins’ right to be named as Britain’s greatest enemy commander, in a competition organised by the National Army Museum in London.
The Museum’s initial longlist of thirty names had previously been whittled down by a public internet vote to a shortlist consisting of five names - Kemal Atatürk, George Washington, Erwin Rommel, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Michael Collins. In the final stage of the competition, five historians were then invited to address a public audience during the course of a day-long event at the Museum, with each being asked to speak on the merits on one of the candidates, after which the members of the audience voted for their candidate. Michael Collins was placed second in the final list, behind George Washington but, memorably, ahead of Napoleon Bonaparte, as well as Atatürk and Rommel.
The competition has drawn attention in both Britain and Ireland to the ‘decade of centenaries’, that is, the anniversaries of the series of landmark events in the decade from 1912-23 that irrecoverably shaped modern Ireland. UCC has developed a comprehensive programme of events to reflect the significance of this decade, including research projects, conferences, and innovative academic programmes – including a new MA in the Irish revolution, which is due to come on stream in Autumn 2012, with additional elements due to be added to the programme as the decade progresses.