Newstalk listeners were given the task of deciding who had made the greatest contribution to the nation in the last 100 years.
The poll asked Newstalk listeners who had made the biggest contribution to Ireland since independence from Britain 100 years ago. Irish revolutionary Michael Collins came out in first place.
The competition was fierce, but the top ten Irish heroes in the last century have been revealed, with Michael Collins coming out at number one.
Ireland’s greatest hero revealed – a rebel and a hero
Michael Collins, a rebel and a hero, has been voted by Newstalk listeners as Ireland’s greatest hero in the last century.
Born in Cork in 1890, Michael Collins was a key figure in the 1916 Easter Rising. He is also best remembered for his guerrilla war strategy during the Anglo-Irish War from 1919 to 1921.
Collins was sent to London by Eamon de Valera to negotiate a peace treaty. He returned in December 1921 with the Anglo-Irish Treaty, the most controversial document in Ireland’s history.
Ireland would gain independence but at a terrible cost. The island of Ireland would be partitioned into two. While Collins defended the freedom the treaty gave, others saw it as a new form of subservience to the British. This terrible divide led to the Civil War of 1922.
In August that year, Collins was ambushed and murdered on the Béal na mBlath in his native Cork at just 31 years old.
The top ten – fierce competition
Many other great Irish folks or those who have made contributions to the nation in the last 100 years were put forward for the crown.
Architect of the peace process, John Hume, deservedly made the list along with Ireland’s first female President, Mary Robinson.
Literary legend James Joyce also made the list as well as 1916 rebel Eamon De Valera. Other names on the list include Vicky Phelan, Gay Byrne, Noel Browne, Jack Charlton, and Tom Crean. However, it was Michael Collins who took the top spot.
100 years since his death – a harrowing anniversary
Michael Collins was murdered on 22 August 1922. The centenary of his assassination is fast approaching this month.
An Post has issued a stamp to commemorate his life. However, people are calling for a statue in his honour for his contribution to the state. Specifically, at the sight of the ambush, Béal na mBláth in Cork.
Patrick O’Donovan, who serves as Minister with responsibility for the Office of Public Works, said, “I know of nowhere in the democratic world, certainly where a leader of a democratic nation is assassinated, and there is no national commemoration to him.”
Find Your Dream Hotel in Ireland
On the hunt for the ultimate hotel for your Irish adventure? Explore a curated selection ranging from the charming heritage of boutique accommodations in Dublin's vibrant heart to the tranquil luxury of rural retreats and the captivating coastal vistas. Start your search below to find the perfect stay with our trusted hotel partner.