An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD and Alan Shatter TD Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence were in The Curragh on Saturday to view the Irish War of Independence hero Michael Collins’ armoured car, writes Paula Campbell. The car has been restored by members of the Defence Forces based at the Curragh.
The car, which was escorting General Michael Collins when he was ambushed at Béal na Bláth in 1922, is of special significance to the Irish Defence Forces’ Cavalry Corps. It was among those vehicles handed over to the fledgling Cavalry Corps by the British Army following the War of Independence.
“It was restored at the vehicle workshop in the Curragh,” said Sgt JJ Ryan.
“It has been in the Curragh for the past 60 years before it was decided to restore it. It was a big job as it has a Rolls Royce engine.”
The car was travelling behind ‘The Big Fella’ on that fateful day when he was shot by a sniper in Beal na mBlath in Cork in August 1922.
“If he had have been in the car he would have been OK,” added Sgt Ryan. “There were three cars orginally [in the convoy] but this is the only one that is left.”
The official unveiling of the restored car was part of the Cavalry Corps Day last Saturday, September 3.
The ceremony centred around the annual anniversary mass for deceased members of the Cavalry Corps which was followed by a wreath laying ceremony at the Corps Memorial Garden.
The Taoiseach said that “it is my great pleasure to be present here on Cavalry Day to celebrate our country’s proud military tradition, which is so comprehensively recalled in the beautifully restored armoured car, ‘Sliabh na mBan’”.
‘Sliabh na mBan’ will be on display at the Curragh for public viewing.