Roger Casement (1864-1916)
Born in Sandycove, Dublin on 1st September 1864. The Casements were Ulster Protestants with an ancestral home near Ballycastle, Co. Antrim. His father, an army officer, died when Roger was a baby and his mother passed away when he was nine. Casement’s uncle in Antrim raised him. At the age of 20 he joined a ships company to Africa. He traveled widely in Africa and from 1884-91 lived in the Congo where he eventually joined the British Consular Service. Eventually he was made Consul in the Congo Free State. He campaigned and exposed the horrific cruelty and regime that forced native workers into slavery on the rubber plantations in the Congo and later again in South America bringing international attention with his reports.
He was awarded a knighthood in 1911. He left the British consular service in 1913 and was an original founder of the Volunteers in the Rotunda. Casement went to America and from there to Germany ostensibly to raise an Irish Brigade from Irish POW’s. Casement came to Kerry on board U-19, but was captured on Good Friday, 1916. On 3 August he was hanged in Pentonville. His body was returned to Ireland in 1965 and despite his wishes to be interred in Antrim he was buried in Glasnevin.