Thursday, February 23, 2006

41 Years Ago, Roger Casement's Body Comes Home

On February 23, 1965, Irish patriot Roger Casement's body was returned to Ireland to be reinterred. Casement was born at Sandycove, County Dublin in 1864. He joined the British colonial service and was knighted in 1911 for his work on behalf of African and South American native workers who were being exploited by whites. Leaving the colonial service in 1912, he became involved with Irish nationalism, joining the Irish Volunteers.

Left, Roger Casement being led out of Pentonville Prison, where he would later be hanged.

In 1916, Sir Roger traveled to Germany and arranged German assistance for the Easter Rising. He traveled back to Ireland by submarine, convinced by then that the Rising could not succeed but that he must join his comrades. He was captured at McKenna's Fort soon after landing on the southwest coast. Casement was later tried in England. To lessen the protests over his expected death-sentence the British circulated small parts of his so-called Black Diaries which purported to reveal his alleged homosexual activity while in colonial service. After years of debate about their authenticity, a study of the diaries in 2002 concluded all the diaries were in Casement's hand. Sir Roger Casement was hanged at Pentonville Prison on August 3, 1916. In 1965 Casement's body was returned to Ireland, where he was given a funeral on March 1that rivaled that of O'Donovan Rossa. Eamon de Valera, 82 years old and feeling poorly, insisted on attending and gave the graveside oration at Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin. Casement had returned to Ireland in 1916 to share his comrades' fate. In 1965, 49 years later, he was finally able to rejoin them one last time.

Read more about "This Week in Irish History."

The returning of the Green (with green). It seems that the combination of 9/11 tightening immigration enforcement and the “Celtic Tiger” (the stronger Irish economy) has the normal flow of immigration from Ireland to the United States being reversed. A travel agent in the New York area has issued 17,000 one-way tickets to Ireland recently. Tim O'Connor, Ireland's consul general in New York noted that 15% of recent new businesses in Ireland were started by returning citizens. So “Erin go back” is a good thing for the Irish, but some on New York are lamenting the break-up of some of the Irish flavor of many neighborhoods there. Read more about it HERE.

And Green Poles? You betcha dupa. When some of those Irish immigrants get home they may find it more like the multi-ethnic New York than the Ireland they left. Eight percent of the work force in Ireland is now foreign born, with the largest contingent being from Poland. There is now even a Polish language in Dublin, StrefaEire: Irish Zone. Though some Irish natives have complained about foreigners taking jobs, unemployment has actually gone down recently. Read more HERE.


Pat Hickey said...

From America's most Polish of cities - Chicago, IL - this south side Mick says < Sto Lot!>

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