General Post Office and 16 Moore St.
At O’Connell Street turn left and you’ll see the portico of the General Post Office (note the bullet scars on the columns). The Easter Rising started here on April 24, 1916. Collins, then a staff captain, fought inside. By the end of the week, Collins and the other rebels were forced to evacuate the burning building and took refuge at 16 Moore St. (with the dilapidated “Plunket” sign), just off Henry Street. Here five of the seven signatories of the Proclamation, which declared the Irish Republic — including the wounded James Connolly — took refuge. A plaque to the left of the second-floor windows marks the event.
Vaughan’s Hotel, Parnell Square
Proceed along colorful Moore Street — its food and fish mongers are straight out of Joyce and O’Casey — to Parnell Street and turn right. Go along until you meet Parnell Square West, turn left and walk to No. 29. In Collins’s time this was Vaughan’s Hotel — he called it “Joint
Number One” — probably the most important address associated with Collins during this period. He was in and out of the place several times a day even though British “touts” were looking for him.
The Garden of Remembrance
Across from Vaughan’s Hotel is the Garden of Remembrance, directly behind the Rotunda Hospital, the oldest maternity hospital in Europe. In 1916 all the rebels from the General Post Office, including Collins, were bivouacked here for the night after their surrender. It was here that Queen Elizabeth II, on her state visit to Ireland in 2011, laid a wreath in memory of those who died in the fight for Irish freedom. As the queen stood at attention as the Irish national anthem was played, many Dubliners observed that they wouldn’t be surprised if the ghost of Collins, just across the way at Vaughan’s Hotel, was keeping a close eye on the proceedings — and that he would, finally, approve.
Dermot McEvoy is the author of the forthcoming “The 13th Apostle: A Novel of a Dublin Family, Michael Collins, and the Irish Uprising” (Skyhorse Publishing). He can be reached at email@example.com.