Sunday 25 February 2018

Another wave of Sinn Féin clichés washes up on Banna Strand

Roger Casement. Photo: Getty
Roger Casement. Photo: Getty

Gerard O'Regan

This week, old ghosts surely returned to that place off the Kerry coast which the popular ballad refers to as 'lonely Banna Strand''. The small, sandy inlet, pummelled in recent days by Atlantic gales and driving rain, harbours its own stories and tales bound up with the 1916 Rising.

It is, of course, where Roger Casement - who remains one of the more intriguing personalities from that period - tried to land arms which he hoped would eventually find their way to the rebels. Due to a variety of factors, the expedition came to naught, and in part his legacy is overshadowed by his infamous diaries - and as to whether or not they proved he was a practising homosexual.

He was eventually convicted of treason and hanged in Pentonville Prison in August 1916 at the age of 51. Yet, all these years later, his conflicted persona encapsulates many of the contradictions in temperament and outlook shared by the leaders of the rebellion.

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