Casement memorabilia: sword and hat displayed at museum


THE SWORD and hat of Irish revolutionary Sir Roger Casement went on display at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, Dublin, yesterday, having been held by the London Metropolitan Police for 95 years.

The items were seized by the police in 1916, after Casement was arrested on Banna Strand, Co Kerry, for landing weapons for the Easter Rising. He was hanged for high treason later that year. Casement wore the ceremonial blunted sword and dress hat when he was knighted in 1911 by King George V for his services to Amazonian Indians.

As a British diplomat, Casement had visited Peru in 1910 and exposed the mistreatment of local rubber plantation workers by a British- registered company.

“1911 is a turning point for him. He was disillusioned at that stage with his job as a diplomat but he hadnt yet become a fervent nationalist,” said Lar Joye, curator of military history at the museum.

The artefacts do not expose much new historical information but “the idea that Casement wore this hat and sword will hold the public attention the way history on a wall will not”, said Michael Kenny, the museum’s keeper of the art and industry division. “We already have the story of his trial but personal memorabilia gives it a sense of immediacy.”