Michael Collins was born near Clonakilty Co. Cork on the 16th of October, 1890. His father, also named Michael, was a farmer. His mother was named Mary Anne O'Brien. At 25 years old on her wedding day, she was 37 years younger than her husband. The couple would go on to have eight children, of whom Michael was the youngest.
Michael attended the Lisavair primary school where he was influenced by the nationalist views of one of his teachers. After 10 years working in the civil service in London, Collins returned to Ireland where his role in the fight for Irish independence would become the stuff of legend, earning him the moniker 'The Big Fella' many decades after his death.