Signal Light for Aud

miners lampThe light brought to signal to the German gun running ship the Aud, in 1916, is said to have come from the coal mines of Arigna, Co. Roscommon. It had to be a large and powerful lamp (such as the one pictured) for this purpose and a rebel who was a Leitrim native knew where such a thing could be got. The lamp in question would have been found hanging at intervals along a mines main tunnel system. After being stolen from the company its journey of destiny would start; from here, very close to the county border with Leitrim, and was then carried on foot from Drumshanbo to Carrick-on-Shannon. Here it was loaded onto a ship of volunteers and sailed the length of the Shannon to Limerick where they joined forces with others and made their way to the coastal rendezvous point by truck. Rodger Casement had organized the shipment and he travelled separately by German U-boat to Audmeet with the other volunteers, to help unload the Aud on its landing. This never happened and Casement was captured by the British as he set foot again on Irish soil. The Aud successfully evaded a number of British Navy patrols and anchored off the Magharee Islands in Tralee Bay on 20th April and for whatever reason never saw the signal light it looked for. It had to leave the bay and was captured by a British flotilla and escorted to Cobh. At the entrance to Cork Harbour, the crew donned their German uniforms and ran up their colours before scuttling the Aud. They were subsequently interned for the rest of the war. Casement was later hanged for treason and what became the blood sacrifice of the 1916 Rising was on. Two men would later be tried and jailed in Carrick-on-Shannon for their involvement in the gun plot. Since then what have become important national relics from the Aud, including two of its anchors, have been retrieved from the wreck but others like the poignant and deeply symbolic mine light still remain missing to this day. (Stephen Rennicks)


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