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Irish rebel Roger Casement’s 100-year-old treasure map sells for £7,000

Roger Casement. Picture: Getty Images
Roger Casement. Picture: Getty Images

A TREASURE map sketched by Irish rebel Roger Casement has returned to Ireland after being sold for £7,000 at an auction in Britain.

The map was sold by a Cheltenham auctioneers last Tuesday, a century after it led to British authorities pocketing Casement’s stashed money – and will be on display in a Co. Kerry museum from this week.

Casement drew the map while under interrogation from the British authorities for his part in the Easter Rising, which would lead them to discover £50 in cash – over £4,500 in modern money – along with binoculars and pistols.

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He buried the stash in Banna, Co. Kerry on Good Friday 1916 – just two days before he was detained,

Casement needed the money for his defence – but he was later hanged in London in August 1916 becoming the last of those connected to the Rising to die for their part in the rebellion.

The haul, Casement wrote, could be found “under some fern bracken and bramble in the moat of the rath (fairy fort) about 3 yards to right of path across the top of rath”.

He hoped that someone would be sent to Banna to retrieve the money, which could then be used for his defence.

After his death, it was distributed among those who interrogated him, including two Royal Irish Constabulary officers in Kerry, Sgt Thomas Hearne and Constable Bernard Reilly, who split the money – £50 in gold and silver coins.

Casement was not directly involved in the Rising, though he was in charge of a foiled shipment of arms promised by Germany, which was fighting against Britain in World War I.

He was arrested on Easter Sunday in Co. Kerry – the day before the Rising began – and brought to Britain where he was imprisoned in the Tower of London.

He was hanged for treason on August 3, 1916 at the age of 51.

The map was pocketed and kept by Major Frank Hall, a founding member of the Ulster Volunteer Force who went on to become the original ‘Q’ at MI5 – a code name made famous by the James Bond films.

It was sold by Chorley’s Auctioneers in Cheltenham for £7,000 (€10,600), well above its expected price range of £1,500 to £2,000.

Now the map, which was unseen by the public for the past 100 years, will go on permanent display in the Kerry County Museum in Tralee.


James Mulhall

James Mulhall is a reporter with The Irish Post. Follow him on Twitter @JamzMulhall

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