"We have so many objects of national importance, but sometimes it’s the everyday gems that capture the imagination."
Those were the words of the National Museum of Ireland following a social media stir surrounding one of their archived items.
The item in question is a pair of cobalt blue slippers each embroidered with a wolf's head, owned by none other than Michael Collins.
There's been a lot of curiosity about #MichaelCollins' slippers which Curator @BrenMalone recently showed to— National Museum of Ireland (@NMIreland) February 24, 2021
online students on a behind the scenes tour at the NMI We have so many objects of national importance, but sometimes it’s the everyday gems that capture the imagination pic.twitter.com/Vdd1IKVn2n
The slippers were shown to a group of MA students at John Moores University in Liverpool during a virtual behind the scenes tour of the museum and have since amassed an enormous amount of attention on social media.
Thanks to @BrenMalone who spoke to @LJMUHistoryMA students this morning - live from the stores of the National Museum. And as an extra treat we got to see my favourite objects - Michael Collins’ wolf slippers. #museum #irishhistory #publichistory #artefacts pic.twitter.com/oq0WnaMuAe— Dr Gillian O'Brien (@gillianmobrien) February 23, 2021
"This pair of slippers were donated to the National Museum in 1953 by Bridget O'Connor, who stated that they had been left in their house in Donnybrook by Michael Collins.
"Bridget and Batt O’Connor were good friends of Collins, and he stayed with them very frequently," Brenda Malone, Curator with responsibility for the museum's Military History Collections told.
The slippers are wool upper with leather soles.
They are a size 9, although the museum notes this is "in 1920s sizing".