Roger Casement, humanitarian, human rights campaigner, and Irish patriot, will be honoured and celebrated in Connemara on the centenary of his execution by the British, for this role in the 1916 Rising.
Casement, specifically his contribution to the Irish nation and to the welfare of the schoolchildren, will be remembered with a tree planting ceremony in An Cheathrú Rua, on Wednesday August 3. Mairéad Mhic Dhonncha, principal of the town's Scoil Mhic Dara, will plant an ash tree on the original grounds of the school when Casement visited in 1913, and where Áras Uí Chadhain now stands.
In 1913 Roger Casement travelled to Conamara and visited a number of schools including the national school in An Cheathrú Rua. Afterwards, he wrote about the devastating poverty he witnessed, noting that it was on a par with anything he had seen in the Congo or among the Putumayo Indians in the Amazon. “It was the most-miserably situated rural communities that any civilised country holds today,” he wrote.
As a result he established a fund to provide a full meal every day for the pupils of the An Cheathrú Rua school, Co Galway. The philanthropist family Cadbury – of chocolate manufacturing fame – contributed to this fundraising.
The school's then teachers were Patrick and Jane Tubridy, great-grandparents of RTÉ’s Ryan Tubridy. Soon after the setting up of the fund, Jane Tubridy wrote to Casement thanking him for his help and stated: “No one but an eyewitness can fully realise the depth of their poverty. It is touching in the extreme to see them coming in, many of them half-naked, to partake of the daily meal.”
All are welcome to the event, which is being organised by The Liam and Tom O’Flaherty Society.