Elizabeth “Lily” Mernin and Michael Collins

I’m often quizzed about a lady called Lily Mernin who features in many historical journals relating to the Irish Easter Rising of 1916 and to Irish independence generally. It seems that she worked as a spy for Michael Collins back in the early 1920’s (perhaps earlier).

The Irish Times printed another article about her recently, which is actually a repeat of a similar article from 1996 (around the time that Neil Jordan’s movie of the same name was released).

In terms of her relationship to the current generation of Mernins (based out of Villierstown, Co. Waterford), it seems that she was a first cousin of my Grandfather, Edmund (Neddie) Mernin. She (and her heroic exploits) is often cited when the nationalism of my family name comes into question (mostly in jest, I should add). And indeed while Mernin isn’t generally considered a very Irish name, Lily certainly was.


I’m often quizzed about a “Lily Mernin” who worked as a spy for Michael Collins. This article is a repeat of a similar one from around the the Neil Jordan’s movie of the same name was released some years ago.

Of course my family’s patriotism is also often question (Mernin isn’t a very Irish name) but this article puts paid to that theory I think!

2 thoughts on “Elizabeth “Lily” Mernin and Michael Collins”

  1. I am currently researching an Elizabeth Mernin who is too young to be your relation. However there were a number of families called Mernin living in Waterford City and County who can be traced using the census records of 1901 and 1911. There were also Mernins living in Dublin.

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