The Gun and Irish Politics

Examining National History in Neil Jordan’s 'Michael Collins'

by Raita Merivirta (Author)
©2010 Monographs X, 192 Pages
Series: Reimagining Ireland, Volume 11


In the 1990s, Irish society was changing and becoming increasingly international due to the rise of the ‘Celtic Tiger’. At the same time, the ongoing peace process in Northern Ireland also fuelled debates on the definition of Irishness, which in turn seemed to call for a critical examination of the birth of the Irish State, as well as a rethinking and re-assessment of the nationalist past. Neil Jordan’s Michael Collins (1996), the most commercially successful and talked-about Irish film of the 1990s, was a timely contributor to this process. In providing a large-scale representation of the 1916-1922 period, Michael Collins became the subject of critical and popular controversy, demonstrating that cinema could play a part in this cultural reimagining of Ireland.
Locating the film in both its historical and its cinematic context, this book explores the depiction of events in Michael Collins and the film’s participation in the process of reimagining Irishness through its public reception. The portrayal of the key figures of Michael Collins and Eamon de Valera comes under special scrutiny as the author assesses this pivotal piece of Irish history on screen.


X, 192
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2011 (March)
National cinema Political violence Anglo-Irish treaty Republicanism
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2009. X, 192 pp.

Biographical notes

Raita Merivirta (Author)

The Author: Raita Merivirta is writing a doctoral thesis on Indian literature in English at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. She holds an M.A. in English literature and an M.A. in history from the University of Turku, Finland. She was awarded a Licentiate of Philosophy degree in Indian English literature in 2007 and a Licentiate of Philosophy degree in history in 2009, both by the University of Turku. This book is based on her history Licentiate thesis. She has published several articles on Irish cinema and history, as well as on Indian literature in English.


Title: The Gun and Irish Politics