Kerry marks first anniversary of Casement execution
Ardfert, 7 August 1917 - Events have been held in various parts of the country to mark the first anniversary of the execution of Sir Roger Casement, who was captured on the morning of Good Friday last year.
In Kerry, a procession of Sinn Féin members took place, starting at the Tralee Sports Field and continuing to the Carrahane Strand in Ardfert, the place of Casement’s arrest. The procession involved large contingents of young men and women, many carrying tricolours, from districts as remote as Dingle, Cahirciveen, Listowel and beyond.
Thousands of so-called ‘footmen’ took part in the procession, joined by over 500 cyclists, nearly 300 on horseback and a number of cars.
Pipers’ bands, brass bands, and fife and drum bands joined the processionists at points along the route. The parade culminated at what was formerly known as ‘McKenna’s Fort’ but has now become known as ‘Casement’s Fort’ at Carrahane Strand, which is situated about two miles from Ardfert and seven miles from Tralee.
A plan to have an anniversary mass for Casement’s soul celebrated at the fort was scuppered by the refusal of the parish priest at Ardfert to grant permission. Despite this, a requiem mass in his honour was celebrated in Cork, where many in the congregation sported Sinn Féin badges.
In the absence of a mass at Carrahane Strand, the rosary was recited in Irish and a speech was delivered by Thomas Ashe, himself a released rebel. Despite the large crowds, no trouble was reported and the police opted not to interfere, except for preventing the hiring of motorcars for the occasion.
[Editor's note: This is an article from Century Ireland, a fortnightly online newspaper, written from the perspective of a journalist 100 years ago, based on news reports of the time.]