A lock of hair from Irish revolutionary leader, Michael Collins, is to be donated to the National Museum of Ireland.
The hair belonged to Collin’s sister until the 1950s, when she gave it to a friend. It is not known who owns the hair now but they have said that they are to donate it to the museum.
It had originally been expected to be put up for auction as memorabilia from Irish history at St Steven’s Street, Dublin.
That plan was abandoned after it caused a fair amount of controversy. Collins’ Grandniece, Mary Banotti, a former Irish MEP, said: “I’m fully aware that taking locks of hair was part of the culture for many years, but not selling it for a huge price in an auction, that’s really where I feel it shows a certain amount of disrespect and insensitivity.”
Cotton swab will be up for auction
At another event, a cotton swab used by nurses to clean Collins’ face when he was shot in the Irish civil war, will be up for auction. Mrs Banotti is also opposed to the cotton swab going up for auction.
However George Mealy, the auctioneer it was a symbol of a hugely important period of Irish history. He said: “It is something that is so evocative and so important and directly linked to Michael Collins.”
He said it will not go to the highest bidder, but rather somebody who respects and appreciates its significance. He continued: “It is a very sensitive item but the future of it will be secured. It will not be lost through the cracks of history. Whoever buys it will appreciate it.
“It is not about selling to the highest bidder but more about selling to someone who will know its importance and appreciate it and maintain its future existence.”
The auction that includes the Cotton swab is titled: ‘Ireland’s Struggle – Irish and Republican Memorabilia’, and will take place on 25th April.