Statue of Roger Casement installed at redeveloped Dun Laoghaire baths

The more than 3 metre tall sculpture looks out over the area of the revolutionary’s birth

Newly commissioned statue of Roger Casement at the redeveloped site of the Dún Laoghaire Baths. Photograph: Peter Cavanagh

Newly commissioned statue of Roger Casement at the redeveloped site of the Dún Laoghaire Baths. Photograph: Peter Cavanagh

 

A more than 3 metre tall statue of Irish revolutionary Roger Casement was today lifted to its permanent home along the south Dublin coast.

Installed using cranes at the end of the new jetty at the Dún Laoghaire Baths, the bronze sculpture of Casement now watches over the area of his birth from atop a plinth.

Born in Sandycove in 1864 to an Anglo-Irish family, Casement was hanged for treason for his part in the 1916 Rising. Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council noted that Casement’s last sight of Ireland was from the boat departing its harbour as he was transferred to London to stand trial.

Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, Lettie McCarthy, said she felt “a great sense of emotion” as she watched the statue be lifted onto its plinth.

“It is a remarkable piece… We finally brought him back to Dún Laoghaire,” she said.

“You couldn’t have picked a better spot for it… Even the shape of his jacket looks like the water from the sea is blowing it. It is very iconic,” Ms McCarthy noted.

The representational bronze statue was created by sculptor Mark Richards, who secured the commission following a council competition.

While the sculpture can be seen from afar, it is currently inaccessible due to continuing building works at the Dún Laoghaire Baths. Projected to cost €13.5 million, the council expects the baths project will be complete by the late spring of 2022. Its delivery has been delayed due to coronavirus restrictions and other site factors, according to the council.

The works include the refurbishment of the baths pavilion, the construction of a new jetty, and a new route to the East Pier. The former pavilion building has also been substantially refurbished to provide studio space for artists, as well as a gallery and cafe overlooking Scotsman’s Bay, the council added.

The council described Casement as an “extraordinary Irishman who used his voice to challenge the status quo and the unchecked exploitation of people and natural resources”.

The son of Captain Roger Casement of the British Army and Anne Jephson from Mallow, Co Cork, entered the British Foreign Service in 1892. Casement earned an international humanitarian reputation for his efforts in exposing the exploitation and abuse of natives in the Congo and Peru.

He resigned from the foreign office in 1913 to devote his energies to Irish independence. His mission to secure German support for the Rising led to his downfall, and he was arrested upon his return to Ireland.

At the end of a high profile trial in London, Casement was executed at the age of 51 at Pentonville Prison on August 3rd, 1916. Irish governments had long sought the repatriation of his remains for burial, which came to pass half a century after his death. An elaborate State funeral was held on March 1st, 1965, before his remains were interred in Glasnevin Cemetery.