Priceless items owned by Granard’s ‘ Kitty’ Kiernan set for auction

Kevin Forde


Kevin Forde


Kitty Kiernan hat

Lot 345: The hat box and other items owned by Kitty Kiernan Cronin and valued at €300-€400.

Fonsie Mealy auctioneers are due to host a mammoth fine arts and rare books auction on Tuesday, June 18, kicking off at 10:30am.

The auction will take place at the Talbot Hotel, Stillorgan Road, Stillorgan, Dublin, and will feature in excess of 700 lots in total.

Viewing of said lots takes place on Sunday, June 16, from 1pm to 7pm or on Monday, June 17, from 10am-6:30pm at the site of the auction.

Admittance strictly by catalogue - €15, with two admits per catalogue. Bidding and queries can be made by telephone to 087-2751361 or 087-2027759.

There will be particular Longford interest in the auction itself, as it is due to sell some items owned by Granard native, Kitty Kiernan.

Catherine Brigid Kiernan, otherwise known as ‘Kitty’, hailed from a commercially well-off family from Granard.

The family owned a number of businesses in Longford, such as a hardware store, a grocery store, an undertakers, a timber business and the Greville Arms Hotel. This, however, was not how Kitty became well-known.

Kitty is probably best remembered for being the fiancée of Irish revolutionary hero, Michael Collins. Collins proposed to Kitty on October 8, 1921, in the Grand Hotel in Greystones, a proposal she accepted, though they never had the chance to walk down the aisle.

This was due to Collins' assassination at Béal na mBláth, Co Cork, during the Civil war. Kitty would later go on to marry Felix Cronin in 1925, a general in the Irish army, and they went on to have two sons, Felix Cronin and Michael Collins Cronin.

The first item belonging to Kitty which will go under the hammer, lot 345, is a hat box once owned by her. The box is stamped by K.Cronin/Lorha and contains a fur hat, another hat, a pair of gloves and other items belonging to Kitty Kiernan.

The fur hat in question is similar to those worn by Kitty in photos and this lot is expected to sell for between €300-€400.
The next items up for auction as part of Lot 314, are The Financial Sinews of the Independence Struggle with Accounts in Michael Collins’ Handwriting, with a value of between €15,000-€20,000.

Fonsie Mealy explained, “An exciting archive. To the best of our knowledge the details of these accounts are unpublished and have not been seen or quoted by any historian.

“They represent important new information on the financial sinews of the struggle for independence and the establishment of the State, including first hand material relating to Michael Collins -astonishing that they should come to light (in an attic) almost 100 years after the event.”

The final lot of interest is Lot 522, which is James Joyce’s Supreme Achievement Cornerstone of any Irish Collection and includes no. 30 of 100 first edition copies signed by Joyce and printed on fine Dutch handmade paper.

These are valued somewhere between €70,000-€90,000.