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Kerry Museum acquires ‘buried treasure’ map

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THE Kerry Museum has purchased at auction a map drawn by Sir Roger Casement showing where he reputedly buried gold and silver coins and other items near Banna Strand before he was arrested on Good Friday in 1916.

A successful bid of £7,000 sterling – supported by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht – secured the map and an accompanying note when it was auctioned by Chorley’s of Cheltenham earlier this week. The items will now be put on display at the Kerry Museum and will form an integral part of its ‘Casement in Kerry’ exhibition which is being opened by President Michael D Higgins on April 21.

The sketch map and note were drawn up by Casement while he was in custody at Scotland Yard. The ‘Plan of Rath’ suggests that £50 “in gold and silver” along with a lamp and pair of binoculars were buried “under some fern bracken and bramble” in a fairy fort close to Currahane Moat near Ardfert.

“The map drawn by Casement solves a 100–year-old mystery,” said Helen O’Carroll, curator of the Kerry Museum. “Casement hid £50 in gold and silver coins, as well as binoculars and a lamp. He drew the map while he was in custody and gave it to his interrogators so that they would send someone to find the money, which he badly needed at that stage. The map has never been seen since,” she said.

“After a few days he was told that police had been sent back to the fort to search for the money but that it hadn’t been found. After his execution his solicitor, Gavan Duffy, brought it up again with Scotland Yard and in February 1917 a police search party made another effort and a report was sent back to say that they had found nothing,” said Helen.

“The map and its accompanying note are a significant addition to the general museum collection, not just for this year or the forthcoming ‘Casement in Kerry’ exhibition but long into the future. The fact they haven’t seen the light of day for 100 years will generate great excitement when they are put on display here for the first time. I believe that we have acquired two outstanding documents that will add substantially to our knowledge of the period and will be an enhancement of the accumulated cultural heritage of Ireland. From an educational perspective these documents have a multiplicity of uses and will be used in our education programmes long after 2016 has passed,” she said.

“Before the auction I spoke to colleagues in the National Museum and the National Library who encouraged me to make a bid for them. We all felt that the documents should be in a public collection in Ireland and that they would be most appropriate here in Kerry where both their national and local significance would be fully realised. I am grateful to the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht for their financial support in helping to acquire these items,” Helen added.

The significance of the map is that it comes with a note written by Frank Hall at the time in 1916. Hall was in MI5G (later MI5) and he was one of Casement’s interrogators. He regarded Casement not just as a traitor and an Irish rebel because of his connection with Germany, but, as an Ulster Protestant from a similar background, he despised him as a class traitor. His note proves that not only did the British secret service know where the money was, but that it had been given to the RIC men who had arrested him, and the binoculars went to the head of Scotland Yard, Basil Thomson.

They had found it but had consistently lied about it to Casement and to Gavan Duffy. As such, the document provides an insight into the British security establishment’s attitude to Casement and how keen they were to appropriate his property as trophies. Aside from the famous diaries, a number of other items that Casement owned were kept as trophies of war by various members of the establishment including the King.

From a Kerry point of view, it has great significance because, as no one knew what had happened to the money, it was assumed for the last 100 years that it had been stolen by local people. That assumption fed into the general perception that Casement had been abandoned and betrayed in Kerry. The map and accompanying note prove otherwise.
 


 
Above image courtesy of Chorley’s Auctioneers.

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Possible return to campus for college students

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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

The announcement by the Department of Education this week, that the Leaving Cert results will be issued on Friday, September 3, was followed by confirmation from the Central Applications Office that CAO Round 1 offers will be issued online, four days later on Tuesday, September 7 at 2pm.

This is about three weeks later than normal, although it is earlier than the 2020 dates. Coinciding with the release of these dates comes the news from Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris, that it is the priority of Government to get college students back on campus for the 2021/2022 academic year. Because of the later issue of Leaving Cert results and CAO offers, this means that First Year students will start college a couple of weeks later than those who are returning to college in Second, Third and Fourth Year.

From the point of social distancing, the staggered start may be an advantage, as we will still be living with certain restrictions due to COVID-19. There are a number of contributing factors what will influence a safe and successful return to the college campus for students according to Minister Harris. They include the roll-out and take-up of vaccinations in the college-age cohort by September, the use of rapid testing on campus which has been run as a pilot in several universities this year, and a varied approach to face-to-face lectures. It is hoped that smaller classes, practicals and tutorials can be operated as before with social distancing while the larger lectures may need to be facilitated using a blended approach. It is also felt that if cafés, restaurants and bars are open everywhere else, there is no reason why they can’t open on campus. This of course is all based on vaccinations and public health guidelines.

ACCOMMODATION

A big concern for First Year students following the announcements is the fact that they will be looking for accommodation later than all other students. This is an issue every single year because when CAO offers are issued, many students get offers for colleges in locations where they have not secured accommodation. Naturally it is of particular concern to rural students and mirrors a greater societal shortage of accommodation. Minister Harris has also stated that he is bringing a proposal to Cabinet in the coming weeks to implement legislation which means that the owners of purpose-built student accommodation will only be allowed to charge rents a month in advance rather than insisting on payment of rent for half of the college year, something which has put enormous strain on students and their families over the years.
So, while any kind of certainty surrounding a return to ‘normal’ college life isn’t possible, it is both hopeful and exciting for new and returning college students to be able to look forward to the next college year with the prospect of getting to enjoy a real college experience and all that has to offer.

WEBINAR

I will be hosting a free webinar for Leaving Cert parents on June 16 at 7pm on ‘How to help your son/daughter with CAO Change of Mind and other career options’ ahead of the CAO deadline on July 1. 

To register see links on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram: @mycareerplan or email me on info@mycareerplan.ie. 

Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant. For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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Deadline for health and well-being fest fast approaching

Friday June 25, the closing date to register an interest in hosting an activity or event during the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, is fast approaching. This year’s #KerryMHWFest will run from October 9 to 16. It is held annually to highlight World Mental Health Day on October 10. Organised by an interagency […]

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Friday June 25, the closing date to register an interest in hosting an activity or event during the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, is fast approaching.

This year’s #KerryMHWFest will run from October 9 to 16. It is held annually to highlight World Mental Health Day on October 10.

Organised by an interagency steering group, the key focus of the Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest is to promote mental health and well-being in Kerry through a fun and interactive programme of events.

“The Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest aims to create awareness of, and schedule events that empower people to engage with the Five Ways to Well-being – Connect | Give | Take Notice | Keep Learning | Be Active – as well as raising awareness of the available supports and services in the county,” Chair of the Steering Committee, Donagh Hennebry, said.

“The Fest has a wide reach across Kerry and we want to continue to build on its success in 2021. But we can’t do this without you! We are inviting anyone who is interested in helping us achieve our goal, by hosting an event(s) during #KerryMHWFest, to register online as soon as possible.”

The organising committee is a collaboration between Connecting for Life Kerry, Healthy Kerry, Kerry County Council, the HSE, NEWKD, SKDP, Kerry Mental Health Association, Jigsaw Kerry, Munster Technological University/Kerry, and Kerry Volunteer Centre.

To register your interest to host an event for the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, visit www.healthykerry.ie before close of business on Friday, June 25.

For more information about registration, promotion, or the Fest in general, please contact the interagency steering group at: kerrymhwfest20@gmail.com.

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Free and subsidised higher education courses for Kerry

  11 free and subsidised higher education places have been announced for Kerry under the Springboard+ 2021 and Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 initiatives. The courses, which open for applications today (Wednesday), will run at Munster Technological University Kerry. The courses on offer include a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy Management & Practice, a Certificate in […]

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11 free and subsidised higher education places have been announced for Kerry under the Springboard+ 2021 and Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 initiatives. The courses, which open for applications today (Wednesday), will run at Munster Technological University Kerry.

The courses on offer include a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy Management & Practice, a Certificate in Retail Food Service Operations and a Postgraduate Diploma in Bioeconomy with Business.

Over 10,000 places are available across both programmes nationwide in 2021.

Springboard+ provides free courses for people who are unemployed, people who have taken time out of work or education to raise their families or care for loved ones, or people who want to upskill. Now in its 10th year, over 75,000 people have benefited from Springboard+ to date.

Courses under the HCI Pillar 1 programme are aimed at graduates and offer incentivised places for them to reskill in areas of skills shortage and emerging technologies. These are being run alongside, and complementary to, the Springboard+ offerings.

For those in employment, the Government will fund 90% of the cost of a Springboard+ or HCI Pillar 1 course. The programmes are managed by the Higher Education Authority on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills.

Launching the programme, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD said, “As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we will need to ensure that people have the skills they need”.

Helpline

Candidates who wish to participate will find full details on the approved courses on www.springboardcourses.ie. Experienced guidance counsellors will be available to advise potential Springboard+ and HCI Pillar 1 participants on their options on the freephone Springboard+ helpline: 1800 303 523. The helpline is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.

 

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