The moment when Collins felt weight of history on shoulders
Published 06/12/2011 | 05:00
THE forced smile on the face of Michael Collins says it all. The remarkable picture, taken 90 years ago today, shows Collins in London for the signing of the Anglo- Irish Treaty that heralded independence for the 26 counties in the South after centuries of conflict with Britain.
The rare photograph, which has gone on display at a special exhibition in Dublin's National Library, captures the mood of Collins -- who later, and famously, predicted he may have "signed his own death warrant" when he agreed to the treaty.
The treaty established what became known as the Irish Free State, which would be confined to "dominion'' status within the confines of the British Empire.
Police, fearful of a terror attack, had to hold back crowds outside London's Downing Street when the Irish team of negotiators arrived.