The photo was one of hundreds of items brought to a First World War roadshow organised by the National Library in conjunction with the Hunt Museum. Retired train driver Tony O’Brien, from Daly Avenue, Janesboro, had the picture with other items, which belonged to his late father Thomas Patrick O’Brien, who fought with the Munster Fusiliers.
Mr O’Brien, aged 77, said: “My father was captured on August 28, 1914, and spent the rest of the war at Limburg prisoner-of-war camp near Frankfurt. Among the items he brought back with him was a photograph taken in the camp and it shows a bearded man dressed in a white suit meeting with the prisoners. Cameras started to become popular and the Germans encouraged the prisoners to send home photos to show how well they were being treated.
My father had this photo with him when he came back home after the war.”
Katherine McSharry, of the National Library, said it was well documented that Casement travelled around prisoner-of-war camps in Germany during the First World War, encouraging Irish soldiers to desert and join the Irish volunteers.
She said: “We may have found something quite amazing. This may be the only picture taken of Casement during a visit to one of the camps. He is tall, has a beard and is wearing a white suit. It seems very like it is him. We will now do some identification work with the photograph, which Mr O’Brien brought here today. I hope it turns out what we believe it to be. It would be very exciting.”
Mr O’Brien said he would donate the photo for display with other memorabilia from the Munster Fusiliers, which he would like to see in Limerick.