Béal na Bláth

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Béal na Bláth
Cross commemorating where Michael Collins, leader of the National Army, was killed in August 1922.
Cross commemorating where Michael Collins, leader of the National Army, was killed in August 1922.
Béal na Bláth is located in Ireland
Béal na Bláth
Béal na Bláth
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 51°49′18″N 8°51′20″W / 51.821751°N 8.855673°W / 51.821751; -8.855673Coordinates: 51°49′18″N 8°51′20″W / 51.821751°N 8.855673°W / 51.821751; -8.855673
CountyCounty Cork

Béal na Bláth, alternatively Béal na mBláth, Béal na Blá, Bealnablath or Bealnabla,[1] is a small village on the R585 road in County Cork, Ireland. The area is best known as the site of the ambush and assassination of Michael Collins.

Michael Collins[edit]

On 22 August 1922, during the Irish Civil War, Michael Collins, Chairman of the Provisional Government and Commander-in-chief of the National Army, was killed in an ambush here by anti-treaty IRA forces while travelling in convoy from Bandon. The ambush was planned in a farmhouse in Béal na Bláth close to The Diamond Bar.[2] Commemorations are held on the nearest Sunday to the anniversary of his death. A memorial cross (coordinates 51°48′49″N 8°51′23″W / 51.81356°N 8.85651°W / 51.81356; -8.85651) stands at the site of the shooting on a local road 1 km south of the village which was a dirt road when Collins was shot. A small white cross marks the spot where he fell.


The original version of the village's name has become obscured with the passage of time. The spelling Béal na mBláth (translating as "mouth of the flowers/blossoms") is widely used, but this version does not fit with the pronunciation used by the last native Irish-language speakers in the area (who survived until the 1940s). This spelling of the name, and the associated translation, most likely arose through folk etymology among non-native speakers.[3]

One proposed reconstruction of the original name is Béal Átha na Bláiche, meaning "mouth of the ford of the buttermilk", by analogy with a similar placename in County Limerick; another version attested in literature is Béal na Bláth (anglicised as Bealnablath) which can either mean "mouth of the blossom" or "mouth of the buttermilk".[3] As of 2012, the Irish Placenames Commission considers Béal na Blá to be the most accurate version of the original placename. The meaning of "blá" is unclear in this context, but it may mean "green" or "lawn".[1]


  1. ^ a b Placenames Database of Ireland. Accessed 16 August 2012
  2. ^ Hopkinson, Michael. 1988. Green Against Green: the Irish civil war. Page 177.
  3. ^ a b Ó hÚrdail, Roibeárd (1999), "The Placename Béal na Blá", Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, 104: 111–116