Michael Collins was born in Sam's Cross near Clonakilty Co Cork, the youngest of eight children. Collins was always passionate about Irish Nationalism. He was fondly know as "the big fellow"
He initally joined the GAA and through this the IRB (Irish Republican Brotherhood). The Easter Rising was his first appearance in national events. He was an intelligent organiser and highly respected in the IRB from early on. He fought alongside Patrick Pearse, James Connolly and the other members of the Rising. He was arrested and imprisoned in Frongoch internment camp in Wales. In December 1916 he was released and sent home.
In the 1918 General Election Sinn Fein swept the poles and he was elected to the first Dail as MP for Cork South. In 1919 De Valera appointed him Minister for Finance.
The Irish War of Independence began the day that the first Dail Convened 21 January 1919. The British Prime Minister, Lloyd George, eventually offered a partition of Ireland and a 'Free State'. Collins and Arthur Griffith had been sent to London as the Irish delegation because DeValera knew that the ultimate aim - independence - was not attainable.
The resultant civil war that broke out between the pro-treaty and anti-treaty factions was bloody, but Collins defeated his former comrades-in-arms only to eventually have his own life taken in an ambush in Cork in 1922.