Tuesday 21 August 2018

Kitty Kiernan vanity case and rare souvenirs from Michael Collins to go under the hammer

Kitty Kiernan and Michael Collins Photos: Whyte’s Auctions
Kitty Kiernan and Michael Collins Photos: Whyte’s Auctions
Kitty Kiernan’s vanity case and a photo of her at Béal na Bláth, where her fiancé Michael Collins was assassinated, are to be sold at auction next month. Photos: Whyte’s Auctions

Sarah Slater

A vanity case belonging to the fiancée of revolutionary, soldier and politician Michael Collins is to go under the auction hammer next month.

Mr Collins proposed to Catherine 'Kitty' Brigid Kiernan, on October 8, 1921, in the Grand Hotel in Greystones, Co Wicklow. She had also been the love interest of Mr Collins's friend Harry Boland. Kitty first met Collins in 1918 when he stayed at the hotel in Granard, Co Longford, where she hailed from.

As the Civil War progressed in Ireland Kitty became anxious to fix a date for her wedding and was hoping to have a double wedding with her sister Maud, who was due to marry barrister Gearóid O'Sullivan.

But before a day could be chosen Mr Collins was assassinated by anti-treaty irregular forces at Béal na Bláth, Co Cork, on August 22, 1922.

Now her black leather vanity case, with fitted interior lined, dark green watered silk is on sale at Whyte's auction house in their Eclectic Collector sale on May 5 in Dublin.

Estimated to be worth up to €6,000, Lot 117 contains silver-mounted glass jars and accessories hallmarked in 1897.

A headscarf, a pair of gloves and eight various photographs of Kitty including a photograph of her at Béal na Bláth in 1923 are also going under the hammer.

Stuart Purcell, head of collectables at Whyte's, said: "We expect there to be good interest in Kitty Kiernan's vanity case, given her connection to such a giant of Irish history Michael Collins. The lot certainly is a unique piece and as such is valued to reflect this."

According to the Glasnevin Trust, after Mr Collins's death Kitty spent more than a year wandering from relative to relative carrying the souvenirs of her dead lover. She died in 1945.

Irish Independent

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