Roger Casement August Gathering 2011

This year’s Roger Casement August gathering (Tionól Lúnasa Mhic Easmainn) took place over two days, 31 July and 1 August, in the Brandon Hotel, Tralee.

Sunday’s events started with a walk around the parts of Tralee associated with Casement led by Seán Seosamh Ó Conchubhair (which I did not attend). Afterwards at the Brandon Hotel Angus Mitchell gave a talk on 2010’s Nobel prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa, whose historical novel El sueño del celta has prompted an upsurge of interest in Casement, not least in South America. The only known film footage of Casement was screened afterwards. As Brian Ó Conchubhair was unable to give his planned talk, Donal O’Sullivan talked about GAA icon Sam Maguire, who was also the IRB’s Director of Intelligence in London.

On Monday morning, the event was officially opened by Tralee’s Lord Mayor Cllr Grace O’Donnell. Helen O’Carroll of the Kerry County Museum talked of plans to commemorate Roger Casement in 2016. Tom Toomey gave a talk about the personalities involved in the Aud gunrunning and attempted uprisings in Kerry and Limerick. Alan Drumm talked about the Munster Fusiliers and more generally about British army recruitment in Ireland. In the afternoon, Seán Seosamh Ó Conchubhair led a walk along the route of Casement’s last walk before his arrest, starting at the Casement memorial near Banna beach and finishing at McKenna’s Fort. Later on in the evening, Lorcan Collins talked about incidents in the life and political development of James Connolly, while Andrew McGrath analysed Casement’s The Crime Against Europe from the perspective of just war theory. Finally, part of Alan Gilsenan’s documentary ‘The Ghost of Roger Casement’ was shown.

This was my second time at the Casement August Gathering (see previous posts). On this occasion it extended over two days rather than one. From the perspective of an audience member, this year’s greater variety of speakers and activities was enjoyable and the quality of the talks high, while my sister thought that scheduling it on a Bank Holiday Monday was inconvenient for those who had to travel to get back to work the next day.

I’m hoping to write up an account of both days, although if my last reports are anything to go by, they should be finished sometime around 2016.

McKenna's Fort, 1 August 2011

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