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A legend of Ireland

Michael Collins was a soldier and a politician who was an important part in fighting for Ireland’s independence in the 20th century.

Around that time there was a lot of tension in Ireland as Britain was trying to take over. 

Michael was born in Cork in 1890. After he left school, he worked in London for nine years and it was here that he became involved in Irish nationalist politics. He became a member of the main nationalist party in Ireland at the time and still today, Sinn Fein, in 1908 and later joined the IRB; the Irish Republican Brotherhood.

He then returned to Dublin in January 1916 and took part in the Easter Rising, On Easter Monday, April 24, 1916, a group of Irish nationalists proclaimed the establishment of the Irish Republic and, along with some 1,600 followers, staged a rebellion against the British government in Ireland. The rebels seized prominent buildings in Dublin and clashed with British troops. 15 Irish men were later cruelly shot dead in front of their families. Collins however was imprisoned during the Easter Rising however was later released.

Michael Collins is best known for leading Ireland in the War of Independence from Britain. Eamonn deValera the Irish president at the time and Michael Collins were the two most powerful men in Ireland and Britain decided to call it a truce. Collins led the Irish delegation at the peace conference in London which resulted in the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921. The Irish Free State was created which resulted in Ireland being freed from British Rule however 6 of the Northern Irish counties remained part of Britain. 

However not everyone was happy with this new treaty. They believed that Britain should not control any of Ireland not six of our counties. This was the beginning of the Irish civil war. Collins took charge as commander-in-chief of the pro-treaty, Free State army. His campaign was successful but before its conclusion, on 22 August 1922, he was assassinated by anti-treaty forces in an ambush in County Cork.

The reason that I chose to do my article for this month on Michael Collins is because I really admire him for putting his life on the line for the sake of his country. I don’t however agree with all his decisions during his life especially the decision to agree with the treaty of December 1921. In my opinion, Britain should never have been allowed to control the six counties in Northern Ireland. To this day, there is still a lot of conflict in Northern Ireland due to this and many lives have been lost because of Britain wanting control. My family have also been very involved in wanting a free Ireland throughout the years and I am very proud of this.

Text written in August 2019.

Short bio of the volunteer:

My name is Kelly Quinn. I am from County Donegal in Ireland. I have studied Journalism in university and I am interested in getting a job hopefully either working on television or on radio. Being in Madeira is such a different experience for me; I get to experience new cultures, meet new friends and also of course, try the famous ‘poncha’! I am so happy to be here and I can’t wait to see what the rest of my time here will be like. I am hoping by being here and working with the rest of the volunteers, I can improve my public speaking and achieve a higher level of confidence in myself.


Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3 (KA3) which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.