In August of 1916, Roger Casement was executed for his role in the Easter Rising in Ireland. Before his trial, however, the British government leaked documents to the press and politicians. These were identified as Casement’s diaries and ledgers, which chronicled a series of homosexual encounters. Though many immediately denounced the Black Diaries (read excerpts of the diaries transcribed by Angus Mitchell here) as forgeries, asserting that the British government was trying to tarnish the name of a hero to circumvent public outcry against his execution – which, certainly, the British government was seeking to do – the damage was resounding. The question of forged or not forged has been asked again and again for decades. Why? After his death, it was assumed and reiterated by the Irish public and Casement’s friends that he could not be both homosexual and a nationalist. Dan and Averill return to the question of Irish identity in this special episode for the 1916 Easter Rising centenary, contemplating who counts, who doesn’t, and why.


Show Notes

Primary Documents – Sir Roger Casement’s Speech Following his Conviction as a Traitor, 29 June 1916

Roger Casement,” Britannica 

“Roger Casement,”  BBC 

The 1916 Rising,” Department of the Taoiseach 

Kathryn Conrad, “Queer Treasons: Homosexuality and Irish National Identity,” Cultural Studies, 15:1, 124-137

Kevin Grant, “Bones of Contention: The Repatriation of the Remains of Roger Casement,” Journal of British Studies Vol. 41, No. 3 (July 2002), pp. 329-353

Michael Laffan, “Sir Roger David Casement,” RTE 

Brian Lewis, “The Queer Life and Afterlife of Roger Casement Books of Critical Interest” Journal of the History of Sexuality 14.4 (2005) 363-382

Ronan McGreevy, “Roger Casement Made a Fool of Himself,” Irish Times 21 Oct 2015

Michael O’Sullivan, “Lies, Damn Lies & Forensics: The Ghost of Roger Casement,”History Ireland Vol. 10, No. 2 (Summer, 2002), pp. 5-6

Jeffrey Panciera, “Why Roger Casement Still Haunts Us,” The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide 21.3 (May/Jun 2014): 16-19.


Further Reading

Digital Walking Tour of Dublin during the Easter Rising

Lots of episodes on the Easter Rising on RTÉ’s The History Show 

Blog posts on the Easter Rising at The Irish Story

Helen McBride, “Eirebrushed: Erasing Women from Irish History,” on Nursing Clio

Sinéad McCoole,  No Ordinary Women: Irish Female Activists in the Revolutionary Years, 1900-23 (Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 2003).

Fearghal McGarry,  The Rising: Ireland, Easter 1916. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).

Sabhdh Walshe, “Eight Women of the Easter Rising,” New York Times 16 Mar 2016

Brian Merriman · October 29, 2016 at 7:37 pm

Eirebrushed the play that explores the lesbian and gay heroes of 1916 including Casement (using actual quotes) is available from

Easter Rising – 100 Years Later | History is Stranger Than Fiction Podcast · April 23, 2016 at 7:07 pm

[…] “Sir Roger Casement” by The History Buffs Podcast […]

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