Mementos of 1921 Michael Collins visit to Albert Hall for auction

Programme signed by Collins in Irish included among items for sale

The souvenir programme, signed in pencil on the cover by Michael Collins (in Irish as Micheál Ó Coileáin) and a ticket for the concert will be auctioned in Whyte’s history auction on November 8th

The souvenir programme, signed in pencil on the cover by Michael Collins (in Irish as Micheál Ó Coileáin) and a ticket for the concert will be auctioned in Whyte’s history auction on November 8th

 

More than 90 years before the Ceiliúradh organised for President Michael D Higgins during his State visit to Britain last April, Michael Collins was the guest of honour at a concert in London’s Royal Albert Hall. Rare mementos of the event have turned up in a Dublin saleroom to be sold in an auction of historical memorabilia next month.

On October 26th, 1921, four “Irish-Ireland Societies” in London organised a charity concert and reception in the famous Kensington venue for the Dáil Éireann delegates attending talks with the British government which led to the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

The four societies were the Irish Self-Determination League, the Gaelic League of London, the GAA and the Roger Casement Sinn Féin Club.

The five Irish delegates were Arthur Griffith, Comdt-Gen Michael Collins, Robert Barton, Comdt Eamonn Duggan and George Gavan Duffy.

The information printed on tickets for the concert, and in the programme, was partially in Irish – including the Irish version of the delegates’ names – believed to be the first time that the language was used in promotional material in the Royal Albert Hall.

The concert featured Irish music and a selection of songs including The Felons of Our Land and Who Fears to Speak of ’98? sung by Bernard Dudley; She Is Far From The Land sung by Agnes Tracey, and The West’s Asleep, sung by Patrick Henebery.

Patrons were informed that “a silver collection will be made during the interval”.

A souvenir programme, signed in pencil on the cover by Michael Collins (in Irish as Micheál Ó Coileáin) and a ticket for the concert will be auctioned in Whyte’s history auction on November 8th.

The estimate is €5,000-€7,000 for what the auctioneers describe as “a very rare and desirable memento of this most important episode in Ireland’s history, signed by one of the most influential Irish leaders of the 20th century”.

Whyte’s auction features numerous other lots relating to Collins and other major figures in modern Irish history.