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Roger Casement anniversary marked with a new poem
Cartoon shows a skeletal hand (labelled 'Sentence of Death') on the shoulder of Sir Roger Casement who holds a document labelled 'Rebellion Plans' and dreams of 'Irish Independence' Photo: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. USA

Roger Casement anniversary marked with a new poem

Ardfert, 5 August 1918 - The second anniversary of the execution of Roger Casement has proved a quiet affair.

In Kerry, police and military authorities made efforts to avoid the scenes of last year by stationing troops at Casement’s Fort in Ardfert to deter crowds from assembling there.

In various districts of Dublin, the Press Association has reported that small buttonhole flags were being sold bearing the inscription ‘Remember Casement’ on one side and on the other ‘Died for Ireland, August 3rd, 1916’.

A new poem, written by ‘Benmore’, aka John Clarke, has been published by the Strabane Chronicle in honour of the sacrifice of the fondly remembered Irish nationalist and humanitarian. Entitled ‘Roger Casement. Died 3rd August, 1916’:

‘There’s a lonely grave in a prison yard
Towards which fond memories turn:
A martyr’s mound with never a stone,
And none to kneel or mourn.

There the night winds sigh for the hero dead,
And gently sough and croon
A nightly dirge for a noble one,
Who died in manhood’s noon.

Buried alone, far from Antrim’s Glens,
That his soul oft feasted on;
Stricken to earth from the scaffold’s place,
Awaiting the looked-for dawn.

No children play near that hallowed mound,
No flowers from Ireland strewn.
No monument speaks of worth or fame,
On the marble his name unhewn.

Some pilgrim there, when the twilight shades,
Hangs round that lonely tomb,
Will breathe a prayer for the sleeper there,
‘Mid the solitude and gloom.

In a wayside shrine, in some Irish glen,
A watcher will kneel in the night,
While another will steal to the altar place
To enkindle a blessed light.

And others, too, who cherish his name,
Will throng round the altar rail.
Sending prayers to God for a prince of their race
Who sleeps in an English jail.’

Angus Mitchell gives an account of Roger Casement's execution in 1916

[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.]


Century Ireland

The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago.