[Sir] Roger Casement (1864-1916)

[Roger David Casement;] b. 1st Sept. 1864, Doyle’s Cottage, Lawson Terrace, Sandycove, Co. Dublin, to a mixed marriage, his father and namesake Roger being a Church of Ireland priest and retired army officer [King's Own Dragoons; himself the son of Hugh Casement, a bankrupt Belfast ship-builder whom moved to Australia]; his mother, née Jephson, was Catholic (and an alcoholic) and had her four children discreetly baptised as Catholics in Wales [Aberysthwyth, in Casement's account, Rhyl in another] when Casement was 4; family lived in England [Wales]; suffered death of his mother, 1873 [aetat. 9l; var. eft in orphanage by his father at her death]; moved to Antrim to be near relatives; suffered the death of his father, 1877 [aetat 13]; raised by Youngs and Casements in Co. Antrim and ed. Ballymena Diocesan School; spent childhood holidays at Glengorm Castle, nr. Murlough Bay; moved to Liverpool on quitting school [aetat. 16];
employed at Elder Dempster Shipping Co. under headship of Alfred Lewis Jones; and the African from 1884; this association became known as a front for in his takeover of the Congo Free State. travelled to Congo [Zaire], working for for Henry Morton Stanley at the International Association [Association Internationale Africaine], a company serving as a front for King Leopold II of Belgium), 1884; British Foreign Service, 1892; also in Niger Coast Protectorate; met and befriended Herbert Ward (artist), and also Josephn Conrad (in 1890) - who later admitted that “Heart of Darkness” (1902) was ‘an awful fudge’ of his [Casement’s] actual experience in the Congo, 1903; appt. Special Commissioner during Boer War; Casement became an early mbr. of the Gaelic League in Ireland; organised Gaelic feis with F. J. Bigger at Cushendall, 1904; estab. and Coláiste Uladh at Cloughaneeley (with Maghnas Mac Cumhaill);
joined Colonial Service and posted to West Africa, then to the French Congo in Aug. 1901, as Consul at Boma in the Congo Free State; commissioned to report on Belgian cruelties in the Congo and reported the use of slave-labour and mutilation by Belgian administration and commercial agents in a report to Lord Landsdowne [Foreign Office], viz., The Casement Report (1904) - where he wrote: ‘The root of the evil lies in the fact that the government of the Congo is above all a commercial trust, that everything else is orientated towards commercial gain’ to the ultimate profit of King Leopold of Belgium (who owned the Congo);met Edmund Dene Morel, a Frenchman living in England, and convinced him to estab. Congo Reform Association, March, 1904 - also joined by Dr. Henry Grattan Guinness (1861-1915) and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; received unsatisfactory explanations from King Leopold of Belgium; international furore inspired by Casement’s Report resulted in the rmovel of the Congo from Leopold’s private control and the formation of the Belgian Congo, administered by the government Belgium;
appt. Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in 1905; posted as Consul to Brazil first at [Espirito] Santos, then to Pará, and finally to Rio de Janeiro, 1906; exposed the Peruvian Amazon Company (aka London Rubber Co., 1910), involved in forced labour exploitation of the Putuwayo Indians by the British-registered Peruvian Amazon Co. operated by Julio César Arana, and covering some 10,000 square miles on the Peru, Columbia, and Ecuador border; Casement travelled twice to the Amazon to collect evidence of whipping [known as the ‘mark of Arana’], torture, mass rape, mutilation, executions and the hunting down of the region’s Indians, visiting and reporting in 1910 and again in 1913; calculated the population had fallen from 50,000 in 1906 to 8,000 in 1911); Casement pointed both the Anti-Slavery Society and the Catholic Mission to make interventions in the region; his Parliamentary Blue Book on Putawayo was published in 1912, largely consisting of official letters to Sir Edward Grey; Casement knighted for humanitarian work, 1911 (during which year his diary records expenditure of £35 on 49 sexual partners);
Casement became friends with Bulmer Hobson, A. S. Green, and F. J. Bigger - all Irish nationalists; mbr. Irish National Volunteers Committee, 1913; contrib. pro-German “Crime Against Europe”, in a letter to Ulster Guardian, over pseud. “Ruari Macasmund” (14 May 1913); became Treasurer of the Irish Volunteers, 1913; published anonymous article in the Irish Review advocating rebellion during World War I; travelled to US and contacted German Ambassador Johann Heinrich von Bernstorff in New York through John Devoy; proposed an anti-Covenant [anti-Carsonite] meeting in Ballymoney to J. B. Armour [q.v.] to ‘set the Antrim hills ablaze’ in defence of Home Rule, resulting in an attendance of 400 in Town Hall, 24 Oct. 1913; st the outbreak of WWI in August 1914, Casement and John Devoy met with high-ranking German diplomat Count Bernstorff and planned an armed rebellion in Ireland; afterwards sent John Kenny, President of Clann na Gael (NY) to Berlin;
in Oct. 1914, Casement he travelled to Berlin by sea via Norway, financed by Clann na Gael; in Christiania, his man-servant Adler Christensen, was offered a bribe of £50,000 and free passage to America to ‘knock Casement on the head’ - - information sent in a letter of complaint to Lord Grey and released by Casement to the press [viz., Hamburger Fremdenblatt, 6 March 1916, with port. of Casement]- and was subsequently said by a British diplomat, Mansfeldt Findlay, to have confided that their relationship was homosexual; and enlisting a mere fifty supporters among Irish prisoners-of-war at Limberg an der Lahn for his Brigade - including Bailey, who was arrested with him; reached agreement with the German Foreign Office that incls. 20,000 rifles (Mosin-Nagant type of 1891 pattern) with ten machine-guns but no German military personnel to be sent to Ireland on the Norwegian merchant-man Aud-Norge but actually a German ship named Libau;
Aud intercepted by HMS Bluebell on Good Friday and scuttled by its captain Karl Spindler before landing in Cork; Casement leaves his papers with Dr. Charles Curry at Riederau before departing aboard U-19, shortly after the Aud departed; U-20 soon replaced with SM U-19 after engine trouble; accompanied by Robert Monteith and Sargeant Daniel Bailey; Casement sent a message intended to persuade Eoin MacNeill as head of the Volunteers to cancel the Rising and merely collected the arms - but the bearer certain John McGoey, recently arrived in Germany, disappeared - only to reappear later in New York, having passed the remainder of war in the British Navy [d. in a building site accident in 1925];
Casement landed on Banna Strand (Co. Kerry, on 21 April 1916, being rescued from the surf by Bailey who went to Tralee for help - Kerry Brigade (Irish Volunteers) failed to rescue him in response to to an order from leadership in Dunblin (‘Do nothing’) - occasioning an IRA investigation in which they were acquited of blame; Casement was arrested by police at McKenna's Fort in Rahoneen, Ardfert; transferred via Dublin to the Tower of London where he was held in rat-infested dungeon; made two suicide attempts in prison; transferred to Brixton with suicide watch;o circumstances would Germany invade Ireland in a hostile spirit ‘but as the forces of a Government that is inspired by goodwill towards a country and people’ (The Continental Times, 20 Nov. 1914);
Casement charged under the 1351 Treason Statute for aiding the enemies of the Crown ‘in the realm or wherever the the King’s enemies might be’ - a phrase which led the judges to recommend the insertion of a comma in the statue to permit the inclusion of Germany as the place associated with the indictment (hence Casement's remark that he was being ‘hanged on a comma’); ineffectively defended at his trial at Bow St. [Royal Courts of Justice] on 16 May 1916 by Serjeant A. M. Sullivan (for George Gavan Duffy, cousin of same) against attorney-general Sir F. E. Smith (later 1st Earl of Birkenhead - of whom Shaw said he was guilty of the offence of levying arms against the Crown with which Casement was actually charged anent the Ulster gun-running); Smith suggested to Sullivan that they jointly submit the diaries in court on the basis that the diagnosis made by Home Office legal adviser Sir Ernley Blackwell that Casement was a ‘womanly’ pathetic who induced men to use him would result in an insanity finding - but Casement refused to use his homosexuality as an excuse or mitigation; Shaw, Alice Stopford Green, Eva Gore-Booth, and others campaign for his reprieve;
the controversial diaries were then circulated privately among his defenders and more widely in American in a character-blackening strategy in America as showing evidence of his homosexual activity; the handling of the diaries managed by Admiral Sir Reginald Hall, the British spy-master behind the Lusitania commemorative medal forgery; a petition for Casement’s reprieve organised by Arthur Conan Doyle, with the signatures of John Masefield, G. K. Chesterton, and others - though Kipling and Conrad refused to sign); his actions during 1915-16 described by J. B. Armour as a tragedy that could only be explained by ‘insanity’; attended in prison by Fr. James McCarroll [var. Fr. Carey] (‘a saint ... we should be praying to him [Casement] instead of for him’); expressed wish to be interred at Murlough Bay, executed by hanging at Pentonville Prison and buried there, 3 Aug. 1916 [aetat. 52] - the hangman John Ellis reporting that his serenity at the time of his execution haunted him for life; post-mortem examination conducted of Casement’s lower intestine and anus for evidence of homosexuality;
a portrait of Casement in the dock was painted as a conversation piece by Sir John Lavery - who also made a larger canvas of the appearance of Casement at the Court of Appeal; accusations of homosexuality airbrushed by Denis Gwynn, 1931; Casement’s diaries wereshown to Michael Collins in 1921 while negotiating the treaty in London, by F. E. Smith, also a participant in thosee negotiations; the forgery theory supplied the subject of a ‘ferocious’ ballad by W. B. Yeats (“The Ghost of Roger Casement”) - though in private he wrote: ‘if Casement were a homo-sexual, what matter!’; his “Speech from the Dock”; printed in Irish Press (9 Feb. 1937); the so-called “Black Diaries” publ. partially from Peter Singleton-Gates’ typescript copy (Olympia Press 1959); the controversial originals - viz., the Dolland and Letts diaries of 1910 and 1911 respectively - was finally released by the British Government in 28 March, 1994 [see fuller details, infra];
P. S. O’Hegarty prepared a bibliography in 1949; a manuscript life by Sean Francis Kavanagh, a close associate and a sergeant in the Irish Republican Brigade, preserved in the possession of Ms. Keely, a grand-daughter living in Washington; a Casement Prize of £50 was instituted by W. B. Yeat’s Irish Academy of Letters (IAL) and awarded six times before lapsing in 1940; Casement’s remains were returned to Ireland in 23 Feb. 1965 and reinterred in Glasnevin Cemetery; a memorial to him was unveiled at Banna Strand in 1968; Casement is the subject of a novel by Mario Vargas Llosa (El Sueño del Celta/The Death of the Celt, Nov. 2010) involving research trips to the Congo and the fateful landing at Banna Strand; the GAA playing field of Casement Park in Belfast is named after him. ODNB DIB DIW DIH FDA OCIL

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Casement on Trial
“I have made awful mistakes, and did heaps of things wrong and failed at much - but ... the best thing was the Congo.” (Letter to a friend shortly before execution - see Iconic Images online; accessed 09.03.2107.)
Casement on Trial (London - 15th May 1916)

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  • Some Poems of Roger Casement [Introduced by Gertrude Parry [signed]; Talbot Press Booklets (Dublin: Talbot Press; London: T. Fisher Unwin 1918), [x]-xviii [Intro.], 27pp. [see details].
  • Herbert O. Mackey, ed., The Crime Against Europe: The Writings and Poetry of Roger Casement (Dublin 1958), and Do. [rep. edn.] (Belfast: Athol Books 2003), 48pp.
  • Passages Taken from the Manuscript written by Roger Casement in the condemned cell at Pentonville Prison (Dublin: priv. 1950), 7pp.
  • Roger Sawyer, ed., Roger Casement’s Diaries, 1910: The Black and the White (London: Pimlico 1997), 400pp.
  • Angus Mitchell, ed. & intro., The Amazon Journal of Roger Casement (Dublin: Lilliput Press [in assoc. with Anaconda Edns. London] 1997), 534pp.,[8]pp. of pls.
  • Jeffrey Dudgeon, Roger Casement: The Black Diaries with a Study of His Background, Sexuality, and Irish Political Life (Belfast: Belfast Press 2002), 680pp., 65 ills. [incls. 1911 Diary, Bibliography, 65 ills., &c.].
  • Angus Mitchell, Roger Casement’s Heart of Darkness: The 1911 Documents (Irish Manuscript Commission [2003]), 864pp.
  • Michael G. Cronin, ‘Pain, Pleasure, and Revolution: The Body in Roger Casement’s Writings’, in The Body in Pain in Irish Literature and Culture, ed. Fionnuala Dillane, et al. [New Directions in Irish and Irish American Literature] (Palgrave 2016),pp.135-48

See also ‘Speech from the Dock’, printed in Irish Press (9 Feb. 1937), p.5.


[ See also Libro Azul Britanico: Informes de Roger Casement y otras cartas sobre las atrocidades en el Putumayo (Presentado a ambas Cámaras del Parlamento por orden de Su Majestad, Julio 1912) - trans. Luisa Elvira Belaunde, and intro. by Introducción Alberto Chirif - online, or as attached; accessed 23.03.2016.]

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Bibliographical details
Casement’s Blue Book on Putumayo
: Miscellaneous No. 8 (1912) / Correspondence / respecting the /TREATMENT OF BRITISH COLONIAL SUBJECTS AND NATIVE INDIANS EMPLOYED IN THE COLLECTION OF RUBBER IN THE PUTUMAYO DISTRICT / Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of His Majesty / London: Published by His Majesty’s Stationary Office / to be purchased, either directly or through any bookseller from WYMAN [London] ... OLIVER & BOYD [Edinburgh] ... PONSONBY [Dublin] / Printed by HARRISONS & SONS [London] [Cd 9366 Price 1s 5d. ] (See Angus Mitchell, ‘Ireland, South America, and the Forgotten History of Rubber’, in History Ireland (July/Aug. 2008), p.45.

Cover and Frontispiece of Some Poems of Roger Casement [Talbot Press Booklets] (Dublin:1918)
Details: Some Poems of Roger Casement [Introduced by Gertrude Parry]; Talbot Press Booklets (Dublin: Talbot Press; London: T. Fisher Unwin 1918), [x]-xviii [Intro.], 27pp.
Contents page
  Introduction [by Gertrude Parry]
“The Heart’s Verdict”
“Mio Salvatore”
“Love’s Horizon”
“Love’s Cares”
The Peak of the Cameroons - I.
The Peak of the Cameroons - II.
Hamilcar Barca
Verses sent from the Congo Free State in response to Mr. Harrison’s appeal for the restoration of the Elgin Marbles to Greece
Lost Youth
The Streets of Catania
The Irish Language
Oliver Cromwell
The Triumph of Hugh O’Neill
Translation from Victor Hugo’s “Feuilles d’Automn”

  [ See full-text copy - as attached ]  

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  • G. H. Knott, ed. The Trial of Sir Roger Casement (London & Edinburgh: W. Hodge 1917.
  • Chris E. Curry [M.D.], foreword, The Casement Diaries and the Findlay Affair [1st edn.] (Munich 1922), frontis. port.
  • Denis Gwynn, Traitor or Patriot, The Life and Death of Roger Casement (London: J. Cape 1930; NY 1931).
  • Capt. Karl Spindler [Reserve Lieutenant of the German Navy], The Mystery of the Casement Ship: with authentic documents by the commander of the “Aud” (Berlin: Kribe-Verlag [1931]), 282pp., 3 ills., facs & front. port.; and Do. [rep. edn.], foreword by Florence O’Donoghue [Anvil Books] (Tralee 1965), 218pp. [Cf. earlier Phantom Ship, 1929, and Gun Running for Casement, 1921.].
  • M. Borsa, La tragica impresa di Sir Roger Casement (Verona: Mondadori 1932).
  • W. J. Maloney [1881-1952], The Forged Casement Diaries (Dublin & Cork: [Talbot] 1936); Geoffrey de C. Parmiter, Roger Casement (London: Barker 1936), 376pp.
  • Robert Monteith, Casement’s Last Adventure [1st Irish ed.] (Dublin 1953); H. O. Mackey, The Life and Times of Roger Casement (Dublin: C. J. Fallon 1954.
  • René MacColl, Roger Casement (London: Hamish Hamilton 1956.
  • Alfred Noyes, The Accusing Ghost [or Justice for] Roger Casement (London: Gollancz 1957), 191pp.; [anon. and unknown], Roger Casement: Irish Patriot - English Traitor (NY 1957.
  • H. O. Mackay, The Crime Against Europe: Writings and Poems of Roger Casement (Dublin: C. J. Fallon 1958), reiss. as Roger Casement: The Truth about the Forged Diaries (Dublin: C. J. Fallon 1966), 95pp., front.
  • Maurois Girodias and Peter Singleton Gates, eds., The Black Diaries of Roger Casement: An Account of Roger Casement’s Life and Times with a Collection of His Diaries and Public Writings (Paris: Olympia Press 1959), 536pp. [ltd. edn.].
  • H. Montgomery Hyde, Trial of Sir Roger Casement (London: W. Hodge 1960, rep. 1973).
  • Herbert O Mackey, Roger Casement, The Secret History of The Forged Diaries, subtitled ‘a guide to the forged diaries’ (Dublin: Apollo Press 1962), 180pp.
  • H. Montgomery Hyde, Famous Trials: Roger Casement (London: Penguin 1964), 226pp. [includes homosexual extracts from diary].
  • Roger McHugh, ‘Casement and German Help’, in F. X. Martin, ed., Leaders and Men of the Easter Rising, Dublin 1916 (1967).
  • Michael Begnal, ‘Eva Gore-Booth on Behalf of Roger Casement: An Unpublished Appeal’, in Éire-Ireland, 6, 1 (Spring 1971), pp.11-16.
  • David Rudkin, ‘The Chameleon and the Kilt: The Complexities of Roger Casement’, in Encounter, 41 (August 1973), pp.70-77.
  • B. L. Reid, The Lives of Roger Casement (Yale UP 1976), xx, 532pp., ill. [12pp. of pls.].
  • S. Ó Cleirigh, Casement and the Irish Language (Dublin: Clódhanna Teo. 1977
  • ).
  • Roger Martyn Sawyer, Origins and Career of Roger Casement with particular reference to the development of his interests in the rights of dependent ethnic groups (PhD Thesis: University of Southampton, Dept. of History, 1979).
  • Roger Sawyer, Casement: The Flawed Hero (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul 1984), 199pp.
  • Paul Hyland, The Black Heart: A Voyage to Central Africa(London: V. Gollancz 1988).
  • Brian Inglis, Roger Casement (London: Hodder & Stoughton 1973; rep. Belfast: Blackstaff Press 1993), 462pp., [index].
  • Brian Inglis, ‘Sir Roger Casement’ [Chaps. 24], in Downstart (London: Chatto & Windus 1990), pp.167-71 [see extract].
  • Medb Ruane, ‘Who Owns Casement?’, in The Irish Times (14 Oct. 1997), [q.p.].
  • Nigel Jones, ‘The Killing of Roger Casement’, in Guardian (28 Feb. 1998), p.6.
  • Richard Kirkland, ‘Rhetoric and (Mis)recognitions: Reading Casement’, in Irish Studies Review, 7, 2 [Irish Studies & Postcolonial Theory Issue] (August 1999), pp.163-72.
  • Reinhard R. Doerries, Prelude to the Rising: Sir Roger Casement and Imperial Germany (London: Cassell 2000), 233pp.
  • Adrian Weale, Patriot Traitors: Roger Casement, John Amery and the Real Meaning of Treason (London: Viking 2001), 300pp.
  • W. J. McCormack, Roger Casement in Death, or Haunting the Free State (Dublin: UCD Press 2002), 256pp. & 4pp. photos.
  • W. J. McCormack, [exposé of W. J. Maloney, exponent of the forged diary theory,] in Borderlands: Essays on Literature and Medicine [Festschrift for J. B. Lyons], ed. Davis Coakley & Mary O’Doherty (Dublin: Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland 2002), q.pp.
  • Jeffrey Dudgeon, Roger Casement: The Black Diaries with a Study of His Background, Sexuality, and Irish Political Life (Belfast Press 2003), 680pp.
  • Kevin Mannerings & Marcel B. Matley, The “Black Diaries” Attributed to Sir Roger Casement, at Westminister Business School - online; [accessed 18.04.2011, 21.08.2103].
  • Angus Mitchell, Casement (Haus Publishing [2003]), 194pp.
  • Colm Tóibín, essay on Casement, in New York Review of Books (27 May 2004) [making reference to W. G. Sebald’s account of Conrad’s meeting with Casement, also noticed in Barra Ó Séaghdha, as infra.
  • Séamas Ó Síocháin & Michael O’Sullivan, eds., The Eyes of Another Race: Roger Casement’s Congo Report and 1903 Diary (Dublin: UCD Press 2004), 376pp.
  • Brendan Clifford, The Casement Diary Dogmatists (Belfast Magazine 2004), 68pp.; critiques views of W. J. McCormack, Jeffrey Dudgeon, Conor Cruise O’Brien et al.
  • Brendan Clifford, Traitors-Patriots in the Great War: Casement and Masryk; with A Review of the Rise and Fall of Czechoslovakia (Belfast Magazine 2004), 68pp. [incls. W. J. Maloney’s preface on traitor-patriots].
  • Mary E. Daly, ed., Roger Casement in Irish & World History (Dublin: RIA 2005), 252pp. [contribs. Margaret O’Callaghan, Angus Mitchell, Lucy McDiarmid, Frank Callanan, Martin Mansergh, et al.].
  • Lucy McDiarmid, The Irish Art of Controversy (Cornell UP; Dublin: Lilliput Press 2005) [final chap.].
  • Mairead Wilson, Roger Casement’s “Black Diaries”: Unravelling the Riddle, with an introduction by Tim O’Sullivan (Belfast: Athol Books/Roger Casement Foundation 2005), 31pp.
  • Barra Ó Séaghdha, ‘Re-viewing Casement’, in The Irish Review, 33, 1 [ Global Ireland] (June 2005), pp. 85-95 [available at JSTOR - online].
  • Angus Mitchell, ed., Roger Casement’s “Hy-Brassil: Irish Origins of Brazil”, in Irish Migration Studies in Latin America, 4, 3 (July 2006) by p.157-65.
  • Séamus Ó Síocháin, Roger Casement: Imperialist, Rebel, Revolutionary (Dublin: Lilliput Press 2008), 680pp.
  • Jordan Goodman, The Devil and Mr. Casement: One Man’s Battle for Human Rights in South America’s Heart of Darkness (NY: Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2010), 322 pp., ill.
  • Michael Laubscher, Who is Roger Casement? (Dublin: History Press 2010), 253pp.

Note: Eoin Neeson, Birth of a Republic (1998), contains an attempted rebuttal of the charges of homosexuality against Roger Casement.

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You are invited to ....
Roger Casement and the 1916 Centenary Seminar - ABEI (Univ. de São Paolo) - March 1916
ABEI - Casement - 2016
[See programme - online, or as attached [accessed & copied 23.06.2016]

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See infra.

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Crime Against Europe (1913; rep. 1958): ‘The British Empire was not founded in peace; how, then can it be kept by peace, or ensured by peace-treaties? It was born of pillage and blood-shed, and has been maintained by both; and it cannot now be secured by a common language any more than a common Bible. The lands called the British Empire belong to many races, and it is only by the sword and not by the Book of Peace or any pact of peace that those races can be kept from the ownership of their own countries.’ (Given on Executed Today website [2008-08-03] - online.)

A real liberal: ‘Sir Edward Grey is not a Liberal in any real meaning of the word. Can you imagine a real Liberal carrying out the Egyptian massacre - “executions” they called it - three years ago, when the pigeon shooting officers were avenged of a whole rural population by widespread public floggings and hangings. Can Liberalism be one thing in England and another in Egypt?’ (Quoted in J. Ardle McArdle, review of Séamus Ó Síocháin, Roger Casement: Imperialist, Rebel, Revolutionary, in Books Ireland, Summer 2008, p.140.)

The Elgin marbles: ‘give back the Elgin marbles, let them lie / Unsullied, pure beneath the Attic sky / The smoky figures of our northern clime / More ruin work than all ancient time ive back the marbles let them vigil keep / Where art lies still over Phidias’ tomb.’ (Quoted by Patrick Comerford in The Irish Times, 4 Aug. 1998.)

Irish blood (Letter to the Irish Independent, 1914): ‘If Irish blood is to be “the seal that will bring all Ireland together in one nation and in liberties equal and common to all” then let that blood be shed in Ireland, where alone it can be righteously shed to secure those liberties [...] let our graves be that patriot grass where alone the corpse of Irish nationality can spring to life.’ (Quoted in quoted in Brian Inglis, Roger Casement, London: Hodder & Stoughton 1973; cited in The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, 1991, Vol. 2, p.299.

Irish Language: ‘I bethought me that a people’s language was a living thing, and that it was a shameful thing for an Irishman to stand by and see the soul of his country being dragged out through his lips. I accordingly gave up my club in London, and devoted the amount of the annual subscription thus saved to a training college in Munster where Irish teachers are perfected in a fuller knowledge of, and a more scientific method of imparting, “kitchen Kaffir”.’ (‘On the Prosecution of Irish’, in H. O. Mackay, The Crime Against Europe, Dublin 1958, p.96; cited in Brian Ó Cuív, ‘Irish Literature and Language, 1845-1921’, William Vaughan, ed., A New History of Ireland, Vol. VI: 1870-1921, OUP 1996, p.410.)

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Diary entry (end of 1915): ‘I very much hope that peace would come [...] it is dreadful to think of all the world beginning the new year with nothing but death - killing and murdering wholesale, and destroying all that makes life happy [...]’ (Brian Inglis, op. cit., 1990; FDA2, p.305).

1916 Rising?: ‘The vast bulk of Irishmen are law-abiding and peace-loving. The will bitterly resent bloodshed and civil strife in Ireland - forced on, as will then seem apparent, by a filibustering expedition launched from Germany for that purpose. And in truth that is just what it is being sent for ... And if it becomes clear - as it surely will become clear - that Germany tried to incite a revolt or “rising” in Ireland by a paltry gift of second-hand rifles put in the hands of excitable young men, all that is solid and respectable in Ireland will be moved to the deepest resentment - “pro-German” feeling today will be changed into wrath and contempt.’ (Diary of 5 April 1916, written in Berlin; quoted as epigraph [inter al.] to Francis Shaw, ‘The Canon of Irish History: A Challenge’, in Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, LXI, 242 (Dublin 1972), p.116.)

Dock Speech (1): ‘Home Rule when it comes, if comes it does, will find an Ireland drained of all that is vital to its very existence - unless it be that unquenchable hope we build on the graves of the dead. We are told that if Irishmen go by the thousand to die, not for Ireland, but for Flanders, for Belgium, for a patch of sand on the deserts of Mesopotamia, or a rocky trench on the heights of Gallipoli, they are winning self-government for Ireland. But if they dare to dream even that freedom can be won at home by men resolved to fight for it there, then they are traitors to their country. But history is not so recorded in other lands. In Ireland alone in the twentieth century is loyalty held to be a crime. If loyalty be something less than love and more than law, then we have had enough of such loyalty for Ireland and Irishmen. If we are to be indicted as criminals, to be shot as murderers, to be imprisoned as convicts because our offence is that we love Ireland more than we value our lives, then I know not what virtue resides in any offer of self-government held out to brave men on such terms. Self-government is our right, a thing born in us at birth; a thing no more to be doled out to us or withheld from us by another people than the right to life itself - than the right to feel the sun or smell flowers, or to love our kind. Freedom is not something given by the English as a gift, but something which is mine and Ireland’s natural right.’ (Quoted in León Ó Bróin, Protestant Nationalists in Revolution Ireland: The Stopford Connection, Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1985, p.135; see comment, infra.)

Dock Speech (2): ‘Ireland, that has wronged no man, that has injured no land, that has sought no domination over others, Ireland is treated today among the nations of the world as if she was a convicted criminal. If it be treason to fight against such an unnatural fate as this, then I am proud to be a rebel, and shall cling to my “rebellion” with the last drop of my blood.’ (Quoted in J. Ardle McArdle, review of Séamus Ó Síocháin, Roger Casement: Imperialist, Rebel, Revolutionary, in Books Ireland, Summer 2008, p.140; following ‘ ‘... on such terms.’)Dock speech (3): ‘Judicial assassination today is reserved for only one race of the King’s subjects, for Irishmen [...] In Ireland alone in this twentieth century is loyalty held to be a crime.’ (Quoted in Richard Kain, Dublin in the Age of William Butler Yeats and James Joyce, Oklahoma UP 1962; Newton Abbot: David Charles 1972, p.124.)Kain adds: ‘Casement’s character is still debatable. No final decision has been reached regarding the insinuations of perversity, so unbelievable in a man of his character [...] Irish minds have never forgotten the Pigott forgeries about Parnell [...] He won the respect and friendship of Joseph Conrad, [Arthur] Conan Doyle, and many others.’ (Ibid., pp.124-25.)

Last thoughts: ‘It is a strange strange fate, and now I stand face to face with death I feel just as if they were going to kill a boy - and my hands so free from blood and my heart always so compassionate and pitiful that I cannot comprehend how anyone wants to hang me.’ (Manuscript written in the condemned cell at Pentonville Prison [priv.]; a short memoir by Father James McCarroll, ref. Herbert O. Mackay, 18 Jan. 1950; quoted in Richard Kirkland, ’Rhetoric and (Mis)recognitions: Reading Casement’, in Irish Studies Review, August 1999, pp.168-69; p.168.)

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Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 2, selects ‘Speech from the Dock’ [295-300]; further remarks: John Devoy, the man who arranged Casement’s meeting with the German ambassador in 1914, 265; Casement is the sixteenth of W. B. Yeats’s title, ‘Sixteen Dead Men’ [806]; In Yeats’s ‘The Municipal Gallery Revisited’, a characterisation of [Lavery’s] painting, ‘Casement upon trial, half hidden by the bars,/Guarded; ...’ [824]; Joseph Conrad’s refusal to sign a petition for clemency, 1012n, & 368-69, Biog. & Criticism [as above]; and note, 295: A. M. Sullivan conducted Casement’s defence, arguing against the inclusion of commas in the Act under which he was tried, but failed to drive home the point that Smith, the prosecuting lawyer, was equally as guilty as an Ulster Volunteer and gun-runner as Casement - or more so being guilty of rebellion in the King’s realm; Sullivan chary of alienating the authorities [Deane, Ed.]. But this is not Bantry A.M. Sullivan (d.1884). Further, quotes letter to the Irish Independent in 1914 [see supra].

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COPAC [Works] lists: The Crime against Ireland and how the War may right it. [Articles written from 1911 to 1914] (1914); The Crime against Europe. A possible outcome of the war of 1914 [2nd edn] (1915); Come combatte l’Inghilterra nella guerra attuale (1915); The Causes of the War and the Foundations of Peace. The Keeper of the Seas (1915); Gesammelte Schriften. Irland, Deutschland und die Freiheit der Meere und andere Aufsätze. [With a portrait] (1916); Putumayo, caucho y sangre: relación al Parlamento inglés (1911); C. Reginald Enock, ed. & intro., The Putumayo, the Devil’s Paradise. Travels in the Peruvian Amazon region, and an account of the atrocities committed upon the Indians therein ... Together with extracts from the report of Sir Roger Casement confirming the occurrences [1912] With 16 illustrations and a map; ilustraciones recabadas de fotografías por Segundo Obando (1985); D. Vangroenweghe, intro. & annot., Le Rapport Casement: rapport de R. Casement, consul britannique, sur son voyage dans le Haut-Congo [1903] with préface et règles d’édition par J. L. Vellut (1985); also, Three poems [reprinted from the “Irish Review”] (1916). Query: Alice Stopford-Greene, The Grey House on the Hill; or “Trust in God and Do the Right” (1874)[ top ]

COPAC [Commentary] lists: Alfred Noyes, The Accusing Ghost; or, Justice for Casement (1957) [With a portrait]; Angus Mitchell, ed. & intro., The Amazon journal of Roger Casement (1997); P. S. O’Hegarty, A Bibliography of Roger Casement. (1949); Peter Singleton-Gates & Maurice Girodias, comp. [ed], The Black Diaries. An account of Roger Casement’s life and times with a collection of his diaries and public writings. With illustrations, including portraits] (1959); Britisches gegen deutsches Imperium. Von einem amerikanischen Iren. [trans. from “British versus German Imperialism”] Mit einem Vorwort von Sir Roger Casement. (1915); Franz Rothenfelder, Casement in Deutschland, etc. (1917); Antonie Meyer, Der Casement-Prozess und seine Ürsachen. Zusammengestellt und aus dem Englischen übersetzt [...] Mit einem einleitenden Vorwort von Dr. Th. Schiemann [Universität Berlin] Dritte Auflage (1916); Captain Robert Monteith, Casement’s Last Adventure [... IRA] (1932), ill. with ports.; Do. [rev. & rewritten] (1953); Casement slanders refuted. / [by] Casement (1968); Roger Sawyer, Casement: The Flawed Hero (1984); Herbert O. Mackey, The crime against Europe: the writings and poetry of Roger Casement (1958); [G. B. Shaw,] A Discarded Defence of Roger Casement, suggested by Bernard Shaw. With an appendix of comments by Roger Casement [and an introduction by Clement Shorter] (1922); Francis Stuart, Der Fall Casement. Das Leben Sir Roger Casements und der Verleumdungsfeldzug des Secret Service ... Deutsch von Dr. Ruth Weiland (1940); H. Montgomery Hyde, Roger Casement: Famous trials [9th ser.], ed. James H. Hodge (1964), with revisions and the addition of a short extract from the 1911 Casement diary); William Joseph Marie Alois Maloney, The Forged Casement Diaries (1936), with plates, including a portrait, and Do. [new edn]; [Das geheimnisvolle Schiff] Kapitän Carl Spindler, Gun Running for Casement in the Easter Rebellion, 1916, trans. by Lieut. W. Montgomery [RNVR] and E. H. McGrath (1921), and Do. [new edn. The Phantom Ship (1929); Denis Rolleston Gwynn, The Life and Death of Roger Casement (1930), with plates, incl. ports.; Herbert Owen Mackey, The Life and Times of Roger Casement (1954), with plates, incl. ports.; Martin Daly, Memories of the Dead ... Some impressions of Roger Casement, Eamonn Ceannt, [and others], &c. (1920); Kapitän Carl Spindler, The Mystery of the Casement Ship, &c. (1931; another edn. 1965); Thomas Ashe, IRA Commandant, Oration delivered at Casement’s Fort, 1917 [on the ideals of Sir Roger Casement] (1917); James McCarroll, Pages taken from the manuscript written by Roger Casement in the condemned cell at Pentonville Prison [memoir] (1950); Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Petition to the Prime Minister on behalf of Roger Casement (1916); Padraic Colum and Edward J. O’Brien, eds., Poems of the Irish revolutionary brotherhood [Thomas MacDonagh, P.H. Pearse/Padraic MacPiarais, Joseph Mary Plunkett, Sir Roger Casement]; Montgomery Hyde, Roger Casement (1964); René Marie Maccoll, Roger Casement (1965); Brian Inglis, Roger Casement (1973); René Marie Maccoll, Roger Casement: A New Judgement (1956), with plates, incl. ports.; H. W. Guenther-Franken [pseud.], Roger Casement. Ein Leben für Irlands Freiheit. Von England verraten. (1940); Roger Sawyer, ed., Casement’s diaries: 1910, the black and the white (1997); Roger Casement [With a portrait] / [by] Parmiter, Geoffrey Vincent de Clifton; Frederick Grant (Dent 1936); Herbert Owen Mackey, Roger Casement: The Forged Diaries (1966); Louis G. Redmond Howard, Sir Roger Casement: a character sketch without prejudice (1916); Dr. Charles Emerson Curry, ed., Sir Roger Casement’s Diaries: “His mission to Germany and the Findlay Affair [Sir Mansfeldt de Cardonnel Findlay, GBE] (1922), with plates, incl. ports.]; Karin Wolf, Sir Roger Casement und die deutsch-irischen Beziehungen (1972); Some poems of Roger Casement (London: Fisher Unwin Dublin: Talbot Press 1918) [Fearon Collection]; Mario Borsa, La Tragica impresa di Sir Roger Casement (1934, with pls., incl. ports.]; George H. Knott, ed., Trial of Sir Roger Casement. [With plates, including a portrait] (1917).

Ulster Libraries: Belfast Public Library holds Some Poems (1918). Ulster University Library (Morris Collection) holds The Life and Death of Roger Casement (1930). Belfast Linenhall Library holds Roger Sawyer, The Flawed Hero (1984).

Cathach Books (Cat. 1996-97) lists Some Poems (Dublin: Talbot 1918), rep.

Hibernia Book (Cat. 19): Passages Taken from the Manuscript written by Roger Casement in the condemned cell at Pentonville Prison (Dublin: priv. 1950), 7pp.

Emerald Isle Books (Cat. No. 95), lists A Protestant Protest, 24 Oct. Ballymoney 1913 (Belfast: Carswell 1913), 54pp., speeches of 30 Oct.

Private collections: Library of Herbert Bell (Belfast) holds Sir Roger Casement Diaries Edited by Chris E. Curry [Munich] 1922.

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The Black Diaries: The diaries containing records of his homosexual life, became the subject of long-running controversy involving charges of forgery aimed at the British government and supposedly motived by the desire to turn public opinion against Casement. Bulmer Hobson refused to believe the allegations but Eamonn Duggan, an Irish Treaty plenipotentiary in 1921, was disgusted by his purported conduct. Their authenticity was disputed publicly by Dr. W. J. Maloney [1882-1952; b. Edinburgh; neurologist and holder of the Military Cross, 1919], as well as H. O. Mackay and others, chiefly Irish nationalists - while Denis Gwynn airbrushed the accusations in his biography, Roger Casement (1931). The supposed forgeries became the subject of ‘ferocious’ ballads by Yeats supporting the theory advanced by Maloney (“The Ghost of Roger Casement” - though in private Yeats wrote, ‘if Casement were a homosexual, what matter!’ Eamon de Valera refuses to take up the issue with British Govt. (‘his reputation is safe in the affections of the Irish people’), 1939. The Black Diaries were publ. by Olympia Press (1959), partially from Peter Singleton-Gates’ typescript copy, and soon followed by a concession from the Home Secretary R. A. Butler that interested researchers might inspect them at the Public Records Office. In an article for Spectator Brian Inglis pointed an accusing finger at Sir Basil Thompson and Admiral Sir Reginald Hall, 1955 - a master-spy associated with the fake Lusitania medal - showing passengers lining up on front of a Cunard Line ticket guichet manned by a skeleton and purportedly struck by the Germans to commemorate the sinking of that ship (see further under Hugh Lane, infra). Hall was responsible for other propaganda forgeries. In Threshold (1960), Roger McHugh charged the British Government and Secret Service with deliberate forgery and misrepresentation in an article based on the same charges in 1960 [Cont.]

The Black Diaries - cont.: The diaries were finally released for general public inspection by the British Govt. on 28 March, 1994 and adjudged to be authentic by Roger Sawyer but considered forgeries by Angus Mitchell, editor of Casement’s Amazon Journal - the former view generally holding in conjunction with the belief that the offending passages were fantasies rather than true records on Casement’s part. The diaries held by the British Public Records Office, and released in 1964; subjected to forensic testing by Audrey Giles of the Giles Document Laboratory, and deemed genuine, March 2002. However, her findings have been contested by others on stylistic and lexical grounds, and also on the grounds that no cross-references to their contents have been discovered in sundry Casement papers copiously gathered by the National Library of Ireland. The Diaries became the subject of an academic colloquium in February 1998 at Goldsmiths College, London, organised by W. J. McCormack, leading to the publication of Roger Casement in Death (2002) - in which they are deemed to be genuine. That finding is, however, contested by Kevin Mannerings & Marcel B. Matley in “The Black Diaries Attributed to Sir Roger Casement”, an online article which countercharges that the documents examined by the colloquium in Goldsmiths were not in fact the right ones, overlooking the contemporary evidence of entries in the so-called White Diaries kept by Casement during Oct. 1910 when he was suffering from eye infection. The authors also refer to obvious evidence of bleaching and interpolation in the Letts diary of 1911 [See Mannerings & Matley, op. cit. - online; accessed 18.04.2011.]

[ A detailed account of the examination and testing of the Black Diaries for holographical authencity as being written by Casement himself is given in the Wikipedia article on Casement > “The Black Diaries” [sect.] - online; accessed 03.08.2020

Casement in Ulysses: ‘Well, says J. J., if they’re any worse than those Belgians in the Congo Free State they must be bad. Did you read that report by a man what’s this his name is? - Casement, says the Citizen. He’s an Irishman. [...] - Yes, that’s the man, says J. J. Raping the women and girls and flogging the natives on the belly to squeeze all the red rubber they can out of them.’ (Bodley Head Edn., 1960, p.435.)

James McKendrick, “Casement Crosses the Line” [poem], in Times Literary Supplement (14 Feb. 2003, [p.10]), includes terms: ‘wounds ... whip ... hands ... stations ... piano keys ... tyres ... knighthood ... enquiry ... murder ... Black Diaries ... degradation ... write his book ... ’s penis ... Vaseline ... dispossessed ... Banna Strand ... for Ireland ....Kaiser’s ... gaols ... unlike his own ... line’ [copied from torn and illegible page - BS].

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Bash at Buswell’s: The Roger Casement Foundation hosts a “Casement Symposium” at Buswell’s Hotel, Molesworth St., Dublin, on 22 October 2005, in conjunction with the launch of Mairead Wilson, Roger Casement’s “Black Diaries”: Unreavelling the Riddle (Belfast: Athol Books 2005).

Note: there is a 5pp. manuscript play in the papers of Thomas MacDonagh entitled “Typescript of The Last Chapter of Roger Casement’s Life” - presumably by Thomas MacDonagh - in the MacDonagh Family Papers - available as PDF at National Library of Ireland - online. [Catalogue by Harriet Wheelock, 2008, p.41.)

Diaries on Radio: Vincent Browne conducted a discussion of the Casement controversy with Jeff Dudgeon, Bill Mc Cormack, et al. on RTE (“Tonight”, Monday, 2 December at 10 p.m.). In the following week “Roger Casement: The Black Diaries” edited by Dudgeon was the subject of a panel-review programme on RTE (Tues. 10 December), accompanied by a reading by Dudgeon.

Kith & kin: Casement’s brother, Thomas Hugh Jephson Casement (1863-1939), helped establish the Irish Coastguard Service and drowned in Dublin’s Grand Canal on 6 March 1939. He was buried in Deansgrange Cemetery, S. Co. Dublin.

Mario Vargas Llosa (1): ‘Despite the doubts of historians such as Angus Mitchell and Jordan Goodman about the authenticity of the “Black Diaries”, the Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa says researching his new novel based on Casement’s life leaves him inclined to believe that they are the work of Casement’s own hand but do not recount actual experiences. “My impression about the big controversy is that probably Roger Casement wrote the “Black Diaries”. But that does not mean that he really lived everything that he told in his diaries. My impression is at least a good part, if not all, of what he told in his diaries he did not experience. It was impossible. There was such exaggeration, particularly in the sexual dimension. / You must remember the kind of times in which he lived. Victorian morals were alive, so it was absolutely impossible that he did everything that he wrote in his diaries. Probably he wrote it because it was the only way in which he could believe in these kinds of experiences. / It was a very symbolic way of having the liberty to do things that in the real world it was impossible for a British diplomat to do. / I think [in Ireland] Casement is not still totally accepted or understood as he was. I think he does not fit into the stereotypical image of a hero. He was not perfect or a saint. He is a hero who is a human being." (See Tom Hennigan, ‘A “traitor” in Britain but an Irish hero in the Amazon’, in The Irish Times, 4 Sept. 2010, Weekend; online - accessed 06.10.2010.) See also Hennigan, ‘An unflinching witness to colonialism’s legacy of brutality’ [on Llosa], in The Irish Times [Fri] 8 Oct. 2010, online; accessed 10.10.2010.

Mario Vargas Llosa (2): The Peruvian-born novelist and later Spanish citizen - having run unsuccessfully for President and lost to Fujimero - issued El Sueño del Celta [The Dream of the Celt] (Nov. 2010), a novel about Roger Casement nvolving research trips to the Congo and Banna Strand, in Co Kerry, where Casement was arrested in 1916. Llosa won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2010.

See also Alison Ribeiro de Menezes, ‘The man who dared to dream’, a review of The Dream of the Celt, by Mario Vargas Llosa, trans. by Edith Grossmann, in The Irish Times (2 June 2012), Weekend Review, p.13:‘[...] Vargas Llosa’s novel is also interesting for its treatment of Casement’s sexuality and the controversial Black Diaries. Rather than judging these to be wholly false, and so a matter of English propaganda, or wholly true, Vargas Llosa (perhaps, as a novelist, closely attuned to the interplay between fiction and reality) reads them as a mixture of factual diary and escapist fantasy. In this sense, they reflect the profound loneliness that the prison chapters in The Dream of the Celt convey so movingly. At the end of the novel the author remarks: “Roger Casement wrote the famous diaries but did not live them, at least not integrally There is in them a good deal of exaggeration and fiction.’ (See full-text version in RICORSO Library, “Criticism > Reviews”, via index, or direct.)

Mario Vargas Llosa (3): ‘He is a man without any trace of self-interest, without any political or professional ambition. He was extraordinarily generous. He had a set of values that were both very strict and based on solidarity. At the same time, there is the man who appears in the diaries, the mysterious Roger Casement. We do not know how much of himself we put into those diaries, or whether they were also a fantasy, a fiction through which he attempted to fill the emptiness of his life ... He was a hero, of course; he was a man of admirable courage, of extraordinary moral conviction, who had the tenacity to live this secret double life. But he was also a weak person, whose body was sometimes at odds with values he espoused. He evidently could not contain or restrain certain behaviours, and this, I think, is what makes him a tragic hero, a hero who generates discomfort among even those Irish nationalists who would otherwise have identified with him more readily.’ (Quoted in Colm Tóibín, ‘A Man of No Mind: The Passion of Roger Casement’, review of The Dream of the Celt by Mario Vargas Llosa, trans. by Edith Grossman (13 September 2012) [available online ; accessed 17.10.2013.]

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You are invited to ....
The Roger Casement 2010 August Gathering
Tionoil Lunasa 2010 Ruairi Mhic Easmainn
Monday, 2 August 2010
Mount Brandon Hotel, Tralee, Co. Kerry
10:00-10:15 - Official opening by Mayor of Tralee.
10:15-10:30 - New developments in the Roger Casement debate.
10:30-11:30 - Xander Clayton, ‘The Casement Ship’.
11:30-12:30 - Donal J. O’Sullivan, ‘The Ballykissane Tragedy’.
15:00-17:00 - Field Trip to Banna Strand guided by Seán Seosamh Ó Conchubhair.
19:00-20:00 - Leo Keohane, ‘Imperialism to Anarchism: Captain J.R. White & the Irish Citizen Army’.
20:00-21:00 - Angus Mitchell, ‘The Language of the Outlaw: Roger Casement and the Irish Language’.
21:00-22:00 - Film Screening: Roger Casement and the Rings of Saturn.

Information supplied on Diaspora List on behalf of Seán Seosamh Ó Conchubhair [email]

Casement is home: A front-page report of the return of Casement‘s remains in Feb. 1965 spoke of ‘night exhumation and dramatic flight to Baldonnell’ and ‘Dail and Commons join in welcoming Britain’s gesture’. (“Casement is home”, The Irish Press, 23 Feb. 1965; noticed by Liam Shortall on Facebook’s Dublin Down Memory Lane Facebook Group 23.03.2022.)

Casement-McBride: When Casement met John McBride he evidentally him ‘a congenial character ... he comes from Ballycastle - from Glenshesk - my own glen and I know his family.’ (Quoted in B. L. Reid, The Lives of Roger Casement, 1976, p.172, and Brian Inglis, Roger Casement, 1972, p.287; both cited in Anthony J. Jordan, The Yeats Gonne MacBride Triangle, Westport 2000, p.113.) RICORSO initially suggested that Casement was prob. confusing his own native Ballycastle in Co. Antrim for Ballycastle in Co. Mayo, frequented by the MacBrides. Fionntáin McCarry has offered a correction: ‘I’ve a small correction to make to your otherwise excellent work on Roger Casement. He wasn’’t mistaken about the MacBride’s/McBride’s and Ballycastle. John’s father Patrick grew up in Glenshesk, Co Antrim, approximately 2/3 miles South of the Casements (both families still reside in the same land to this day). Ballycastle is the small town to the North of Glenshesk where the valley meets the sea, it would have been the main market town at the time.’ (Email to RICORS0 - of 18.11.2013).]

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