Show Less

The Gun and Irish Politics

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


Raita Merivirta

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.


Show Summary Details
Restricted access



Acknowledgements ix chapter 1 Introduction 1 chapter 2 The Untold Story of Irish History 7 Films and History 7 Cinema and Ireland 13 Neil Jordan and the Film ‘like a National Institution’ 22 chapter 3 The Soldier: ‘Everything’s possible if you wish hard enough’ 31 1916 Easter Rising: Introducing the Characters 31 War of Independence 47 The Good, the Bad and the Heroic 60 Michael Collins: A Romantic National Hero? 76 chapter 4 The Statesman: ‘I signed my death warrant’ 91 Collins versus de Valera 91 The Split 107 The Civil War and the Death of Collins 118 chapter 5 Back to the Future: A View of the 1990s 131 Michael Collins: The Lost Leader 131 Northern Ireland 138 Irish National Cinema and Hollywood 151 chapter 6 Conclusion 165 Bibliography 173 Index 185

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.