Those words were spoken by a man called Michael Collins when he signed what was in effect a peace agreement between Ireland and Britain to end the bloodletting of the War of Independence, knowing his country would be deeply divided on the question of the amount of independence the treaty would grant. He signed anyway because he was realistic about what was politically achievable but also for another reason.

It was never about him but his love of something bigger – his country. It’s often conveniently forgotten nowadays by both sides just how savage that war was. Make no mistake, a lot of things on the road to places like Lidice and Oradure-sur-Glane happened out in the sticks and not even the big cities were untouchable. The country and the people had suffered enough, even in his home county of Cork and something workable that would bring peace was finally on offer.

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