It is the first time it’s been in this country since 1916 and was last on public display in the mid 1920s at an exhibition at London’s Imperial War Museum.
The flat-bottomed boat, which measures 12 ft by 4ft and is about 2ft high, is on loan to Kerry Museum and will form the centre piece of its Casement Exhibition, which will be officially opened by President Michael D Higgins next Thursday.
Curator of the exhibition, Helen O’Carroll, said it was a major coup to get the boat, which has now been verified as the original vessel used by Casement, Robert Monteith, and Daniel Daly.
Casement was captured on Banna Strand, Co Kerry, on April 21, 1916, after he was involved in an attempt to land arms for republicans from the German vessel the Aud. He was later tried for treason and hung at Pentonville Prison in London on August 1916.
“Had Casement not landed in Kerry, he may not have ended up on the gallows so for our exhibition it is very much the centre piece,” Ms O’Carroll said. “The three of them were left off from the German U-boat and would have got into this boat and rowed into shore. It’s a tiny little boat for three men to fit in,” she added.
“In 1916 it was sent over to London, more or less as a trophy of war and presented by the inspector general of the RIC to the king, as if to show this was what they had done as their bit in the Rising to capture the traitor Casement.
“It was sent over from Kerry to Windsor Castle and was with the king for four years until 1920 when he presented it to the Imperial War Museum.” The boat then went on display until 1924 and since then has been held in storage.