State Commemoration for Sir Roger Casement takes place at historic landing site on Banna Strand
The arrival on a Kerry beach of Sir Roger Casement and his travelling companions, Robert Monteith and Daniel Bailey one hundred years ago today will be commemorated at a State Ceremony at Banna Strand later which will be attended by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins. Joe McHugh TD., Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will be in attendance and the President will be greeted by Cllr. Pat McCarthy.
The State Ceremony at noon will be held on Banna Strand where, in the early hours of Good Friday 1916, Casement, Monteith and Bailey came ashore having left a German U-boat which transported them from Germany. An attempt to rendezvous with The Aud, which was carrying 20,000 guns for use in the Easter Rising had failed.
Casement, who was unwell, remained behind at McKenna’s Fort, while Monteith and Bailey walked to Tralee to alert the local Volunteer leadership. Casement was arrested and taken to jail in England. He was tried for treason, found guilty and hanged on 3 August 1916 at Pentonville Prison.
The ceremony will hear a keynote address from President Higgins and will feature the laying of a wreath by the president at the anchor of The Aud, which was recovered from Cork Harbour several years ago. There will be a number of performances by local groups as well as a formal ceremony including the raising of the national flag and the singing of the national anthem.
Minister of State at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Joe McHugh said: “The State Ceremonial programme is the moment when the State, on behalf of the people of Ireland, pays tribute to the men and women who played a significant role in the events of 1916. It is an opportunity to remember those who lost their lives in the pursuit of our self-determination and democracy. Today, we honour humanitarian and Irish nationalist Sir Roger Casement, who along with Robert Monteith and Daniel Bailey played such a pivotal role in the events of 1916, and set Ireland on the road to independence.”
Co-ordinator of Kerry 2016, Kate Kennelly said the events at Banna are integral to the story of the Easter Rising:
“The iconic arrival of Casement at Banna in the early hours of Good Friday and his subsequent arrest are pivotal events. It is appropriate that we acknowledge what happened in Kerry in those fateful days. Kerry’s story is central to the Rising story and we are honoured to have the president with us today for this commemoration.”
Later today, at 4pm, President Higgins will visit Kerry County Museum to view a new exhibition ‘Casement in Kerry: A Revolutionary Journey’. Marking the centenary of the Easter Rising in 1916 this major exhibition will take visitors on a series of revolutionary journeys: Roger Casement’s path from servant of the Crown to Irish nationalist that led to the gallows in Pentonville Prison; the road to independence for Ireland with the first stepping stone of the Easter Rising; and the experience of the Kerry people whose lives were transformed by the events of 1916.