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Laurence Dunne Archaeology,
3, Lios na Lohart, Ballyvelly,
Tralee, Co. Kerry, Ireland
Apr 24, 2016
The Centenary Commemoration of Roger Casement at Banna Strand on Thursday 21st April was a very special occasion for us in Kerry (and indeed for people nationwide and worldwide). This was the only State Commemoration outside of Dublin.
Laurence Dunne Archaeology in association with the Tralee Bay Heritage Association were honoured to be invited to participate in the State centenary event by displaying the two anchors from the Aud that were conserved in Tralee in time for the commemorations and had been unveiled recently by Minister for Diaspora, Jimmy Deenihan with the German Ambassador Matthias Hoffner. The anchors were the only artefacts on display and apart from President Higgins, were the focal point on the day for the public as well as invitees. After making an evocative and erudite speech on the life and achievements of Roger Casement, President Michael D Higgins laid a wreath at the imposing Stockless anchor. With the pristine Banna Strand in the background, the LÉ Niamh was on station in Tralee Bay under Lieutenant Commander Daniel Wall.
It was the most appropriate setting for the Commemoration 100 years to the day when the Aud under the command of Kapitan zur See der Reserve, Karl Spindler and his volunteer crew of twenty-two were perilously steaming around Tralee Bay with its cargo of arms for the Irish Volunteers searching in vain for a signal that never came. Earlier that same day, in darkness, Roger Casement, Robert Monteith and Julian Bailey came ashore by dinghy from U-19 at Carrahane on 'the lonely Banna Strand'.
It was not lonely this 21st April! Thousands turned out for this momentous and moving event. For us it was the culmination of five years work in planning, recovery and conservation of the two Aud anchors. We were delighted and honoured to be involved in this historic event.
Personally, placing the two anchors at Banna Strand at 4.15pm on Wednesday the 20th April (the day before the State event) had more historic context and resonance as that was the exact time that the Aud arrived at its clandestine rendezvous point one mile north-west of Inishtooskert and where the anchors had last been dropped. Last Wednesday was a brilliant sunny and flat calm day and as the LÉ Niamh had taken up a position off the Magharee Islands I could not help but feel moved to thinking that the Aud had at last returned and landed in Tralee Bay.
- Laurence Dunne