Banna Strand

A Lonley, Lonley, Beautiful Beach



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Banna Strand stretches from below Ballyheige Bay all the way to Tralee`s new Golf Course near barrow. A long and extensive stretch of unpolluted golden beach with sand dunes to shelter you from the Atlantic winds. It’s a lonely place, but that’s the lonely Banna Strand.

Banna has magnificent views all along the easily walked strand.

Banna Strand is famous for a song called “The Lonely Banna Strand”, a very popular and melodic Republican song in memory of Sir Roger Casement.

In a, bush surrounded, ancient Ring-Fort, close to Banna`s extensive beach, Sir Roger Casement, the Irish Patriot and revolutionary leader, was found hiding and was arrested on Good Friday morning in 1916—the start of the 1916 Easter Rising.

He had landed on Banna Beach from a German submarine, but he was ill and hid in the fort while his companions went to Tralee for help.

The police and British soldiers, already alerted by cursed informers, found the trio’s rubber dinghy and hastily buried pistols and soon discovered Casement.

Roger Casement was taken to London to stand trial. He was found guilty and was hanged as the only traitor in the 1914-18 war. Despite his plea that he had landed in Ireland in hope of putting off the Rising planned for Easter Sunday.

From the dock he said.

Ireland is treated today, among the nations of the world, as if she was a convicted criminal. If it is treason to fight against an unnatural fate as this then, I am proud to be a Rebel and I shall cling onto my rebellion with the last drop of my blood.

Below is a poem from W B Yeats.

”O what has made that sudden noise? What on the threshold stands? It never crossed the sea because John Bull and the sea are friends; But this is not the old sea Nor this the old seashore. What gave that roar of mockery, That roar in the sea's roar?

The ghost of Roger Casement Is beating on the door.

John Bull has stood for Parliament, A dog must have his day, The country thinks no end of him, For he knows how to say, At a beanfeast or a banquet, That all must hang their trust Upon the British Empire, Upon the Church of Christ.

The ghost of Roger Casement Is beating on the door.

John Bull has gone to India And all must pay him heed, For histories are there to prove That none of another breed Has had a like inheritance, Or sucked such milk as he, And there's no luck about a house If it lack honesty.

The ghost of Roger Casement Is beating on the door.

I poked about a village church And found his family tomb And copied out what I could read In that religious gloom; Found many a famous man there; But fame and virtue rot. Draw round, beloved and bitter men, Draw round and raise a shout;

The ghost of Roger Casement Is beating on the door.”

William Butler Yeats.

An uplifting quote by Casement when he landed at Banna Strand:

When I landed in Ireland that morning, I was happy for the first time in over a year. Although I knew that this fate awaited me, I was, for one brief spell, happy and smiling once more.

I cannot tell you how I felt. The sand hills were full of Skylarks rising in the dawn—the first I had heard in years. This was the first sound I heard as I waded through the breakers, and they were rising all the time to the old rath at Currahane---- and all around where primroses and wild violets and the singing of Skylarks in the air, and I was back in Ireland again.”

The fort where he hid, now overgrown, is now signposted “Casements Fort” and a memorial at the site of his capture stands besides Banna Beach.

Banna is a solitary beach, where you can meditate and catch up with your memories. Make plans for when you get back home and recharge your batteries.

If you have any inspiring stories about Banna Strand, give me an e-mail and I’ll include it in the Kerry Gold page.



My Story`s Of Banna Strand

Well I must live in heaven; it’s known locally as Banna Strand. It provides a 3.5 mile multi-sensory feast composed of an ever-changing meeting place of land, sea and sky where humans of various types trod and play over pristine golden sand and are peppered with cleansing, salted air while hosts of warblers and snipe fly past enticing an indefatigable red-setter.

If the natural world of Kerry were to be civilised, Banna Strand would be its main boulevard. The Slieve Mish and Brandon mountains to the south would be among its finest galleries inviting interminable and insatiable indulgence.

Lovers would be enticed to frolic in its endless sand-dunes. And what could be said of its waters – warmed by the sultry southerly stream that flows from the South Atlantic.

A morning dip in Banna provides unadulterated ablutionary joy to the most anxious of souls; their transformation is immediate.

Amongst this aristocratic abundance of nature are the bipedal locomotors who provide another kind of feast for the voyeur along Banna Strand. Walking-styles, like noses and other aspects of the homo sapiens, run in families; on Banna Strand one can see the full tapestry of the human ambulatory threads.

If styles of walking reflect the state of mind of their owners, their reflections intrigue. One can see the odd Adonis who walks with athletic poise where it seems body and soul occupies a point of envious equilibrium.

Often there is the walk of the military-minded who are direct, stiff, controlled and hurried and whose heads, however, appear just less than perpendicular but whose general carriage strictly adheres to the rule book of the 15th Battalion. I notice their cars are always shiny as brass buttons.

Inspiring less envy are those who carry the weight of the world as they proceed slowly, with crouched necks, eyes appearing to study grain after grain of sand, each traversed grain a struggle. They are of the kind who would readily expire but are more satisfied to reach their cars after their exhausting two-legged struggle as though they had descended from the cross.

Of course the above are just the primary colours – but enough to tickle this reader’s curiosity about their lives. Much elevated in my estimation are the daily assortment of joggers and runners of Banna Strand –two separate classes, one should note, with speed being the defining factor.

Appearing in all kinds of plumage, they pale the most colourful peloton along dusty French roads on a July afternoon. Most seem to love the experience of running amongst the dramatic elements even if for some the effort is as pleasurable as the kick sought by sado-masochism enthusiasts.

When I sought an explanation from the sole retro-runner as to why he ran backwards, he threw back to me the Kierkegaard’s plainly obvious observation that ‘life can only be understood backwards’ especially on a vast lunar landscape where the chances of falling into a pothole are negligible. Of course he ran into a huge sandcastle which once stood elegantly on this beautiful sandy continent.

Banna has a way of levelling us all.

Do you know who you are? Does your great, great grandfather come from Banna Strand Area?


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