Object Detail

Portrait Roger Casement

Portrait Roger Casement

Half-length portrait of Roger Casement.

Roger Casement was an Irish humanitarian and Irish nationalist. Originally born in Dublin, he was raised in Co.Antrim, before working as a British Consul in the Congo for close to fifteen years. At the end of his time in Africa, he published a government white paper which condemned the treatment and oppression of the native peoples.

His findings were confirmed by an international commission appointed by the king, and his report was one of several pressures that led the Belgian government to take over the administration of the Congo in 1908.

Casement retired from the Foreign Office in 1913, having grown increasingly nationalist, as well as disillusioned with his work.

In 1914, he successfully organised the purchase of 1,500 rifles and ammunition in Belgium and their transportation to Ireland. Some of these weapons were used two years later in the Easter rising.

Physical description: 1 photographic negative glass 16.5 x 12 cm.

By the time of the Rising, Casement had travelled to Germany as part of an Irish-American envoy seeking to align with the German government. Upon realising that the Germans were not prepared to send adequate military aid to help the Rising, he asked them to help him return to Ireland so he could convince the Rising's leaders to abandon their plans.

The Germans sent him there by submarine, and it was intended that he would arrive on Good Friday, at the same time as a ship carrying a modest supply of arms. The two vessels failed to rendezvous in Tralee Bay, and Casement, instead set off for the shore in a dinghy. It capsized, and he landed on Banna Strand ill, drenched, and exhausted. He hid and waited for his companions to return with assistance, but was soon captured.

He was tried for treason in June 1916 at the Old Bailey, and having been found guilty was hanged on the 3rd of August 1916. His knighthood, which he had been awarded for his work in Africa was cancelled after his conviction.

Michael Laffan. "Casement, Sir Roger David". Dictionary of Irish Biography.

Object Details

Keogh Brothers Ltd.
Dublin, Ireland, Banna Strand, Tralee (Kerry, Ireland)
Reproduction rights owned by the National Library of Ireland.