Dirvla Kirwan

Dirvla Kirwan

Related to the Irish revolutionary leader Michael Collins...

Nick Thorne, Writer at TheGenealogist

Nick Thorne

Writer at TheGenealogist

One episode of Who Do You Think You Are? follows Dervla Kirwan, the Irish Actress best known for her appearances in Ballykissangel and Goodnight Sweetheart.

Dervla was born in 1971 in Dublin and is married to English actor Rupert Penry-Jones, who is also appearing in the series. Her great grandmother Margaret Collins-O’Driscoll was the sister of Irish revolutionary leader Michael Collins. Michael was MP for Cork South & Director of Intelligence for the IRA and later President of the IRB (Irish Republican Brotherhood) which was an oath bound secret organisation committed to the formation of the ‘Independent democratic republic’.

Michael was born in West Cork Ireland to Michael Collins and Marianne O’Brien. Michael was the youngest of 8 children raised on the family’s 90 acre farm and despite the 37 year age gap between his parents the marriage was said to be a happy one.

Sadly when Michael and Margaret were young they lost their father, just before he died Michel Collins senior turned to the family and said to “Take care of Michael, because “One day he’ll be a great man. He’ll do great work for Ireland”.

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London 1910 Kelly's Post Office Trade directory
London 1910 Kelly's Post Office Trade directory

Michael left school at 15 and moved to London where he lived with his sister and studied at Kings College London, and went on to work for Horne & Co Stock Brokers seen in the London 1910 Kelly’s Post Office Trade directory available at www.TheGenealogist.co.uk

Collins was first known during the 1916 Easter Rising and as a highly respected member of the IRB he was made financial adviser to Count Plunkett, father to one of the organisers of the Easter Rising. Many of the participants including Collins were arrested and held at the Frongoch Internment Camp in Merionethshire, Wales, which initially housed German prisoners during the War. The Germans were moved in order to house the 1,800 Irish prisoners.

Michael was killed following an ambush during his convoy back to Cork in 1922, he was engaged to Kitty Kiernan at the time of his death who he met in 1917 after staying at her families hotel in Ireland.

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