A MYSTERIOUS diary found in the attic of an old stone cottage in Donegal reveals long-held secrets about the assassination of republican leader, Michael Collins, exactly one hundred years ago, according to a new novel by an Andersonstown author.

In his historical fiction – Driver’s Diary: Death At The Mouth of Flowers – Sean Hillen, a former columnist for the Andersonstown News and later foreign correspondent for The Irish Times, gives his dramatic interpretation of the tragic event that shaped the future of Ireland for generations. 

“The shooting of Collins, the most popular man in Ireland at the time, remains one of the country’s most infamous unsolved murders,” said Hillen, who conducted research for his novel at Béal na Bláth in Cork, the site of Collins’ death, and in Clonakilty. close to where the revolutionary leader grew up.

“He could easily have been the leader of the nation and unlike Eamon De Valera who allayed himself closely with the Catholic Church, Collins had little respect for the Church and more for the socialist traditions of those who died in Easter 1916. As such, Ireland could have been a very different country today if Collins had lived. Certain people in high places were fully aware of this and with Collins winning the Civil War, it was important for them that he be eliminated, and fast.”

The discovery of the intriguing handwritten diary forms much of the novel’s suspense as it was written by the driver of the armoured car in which Collins was travelling in before being ambushed. That driver saw everything that happened that fateful day but was too afraid to speak out. 

Sean’s book is now available on Amazon.