ARCHIVE - IRISH
IRELAND: 'ENDURANCE' EXHIBITION OPENS NEAR DUBLIN
DUN LAOGHAIRE HARBOUR HOSTS MAJOR EVENT
It tells in graphic details the story of the 1914–1917 Antarctic Expedition, led by Sir Ernest Shackleton, which was indeed a triumph against all odds: a survival story like no other.
It was years before the true significance of this dangerous adventure emerged, but the Irish-born Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic expedition of 1914-1917 is today rightly seen as perhaps the most remarkable in exploration history: a tale of extraordinary leadership: of the triumph of the human heart and spirit when faced with the most terrible odds.
A full size replica of the James Caird, the lifeboat that proved so critical to the rescue, will form a central part of this stirring exhibition, which will feature over 150 of the technically brilliant and evocative black-and-white photographs of Australian Frank Hurley, the official photographer for the expedition. And there is much, much more including extensive wall texts and diary excerpts, .
Invitations to the opening gathering on Monday September 10th at 6 p.m. have already been issued. The contact for that is Jean Finegan, Tel +353 (0)1-271-3200, firstname.lastname@example.org However the exhibition is open weekdays 10-7 and Sundays 11-6. Irish Maritime Exhibitions can be contacted on +353 (0)86 852 3498 or email@example.com
IRELAND: SHACKLETON AUTUMN SCHOOL'S SPEAKERS FOR 2012
A WEALTH OF SHACKLETON RESEARCH AND KNOWLEDGE
An array of distinguished speakers has been lined up and encouragingly the following have already been confirmed:
Michael will talk on 'Scott's Irishmen' - exploring the notable exploits of Tom Crean, Robert Forde (1875-1959), Patrick Keohane (1879-1950) and Mortimer McCarthy (1882-1967) on Scott's tragic Terra Nova expedition and thereafter.
The School is hosted by the Athy Heritage Centre-Museum, which is home to the only permanent exhibition anywhere devoted to Sir Ernest Shackleton.
The 2012 Autumn School will feature a number of other events and talks; the full programme details will be available shortly on the Athy website. You can contact the Autumn School on (00)+353 59 863 3075, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
IRELAND: SIR ERNEST FEATURES ON IRISH TELEVISION
IN A PROGRAMME EXPLORING THE SHACKLETON FAMILY ROOTS
In the programme, first seen on 4 September 2011, Glenn Webb had his common ancestry traced back to an important Shackleton forebear, Richard Shackleton of Ballitore, Co Kildare.
The Shackleton family trace their Irish ancestry back to Abraham Shackleton who came to Ireland in 1720.
IRELAND: ALEXANDRA SHACKLETON UNVEILS A PLAQUE IN DUBLIN TO HER GRANDFATHER
IN DUBLIN, SIR ERNEST STILL PACKS IN THE CROWDS
'Unveiled on February 6th 2012 to commemorate SIR ERNEST SHACKLETON, b 1874 Co Kildare d 1922 South Georgia Island, Irish Polar Explorer who gave an illustrated lecture on his celebrated Nimrod expedition to the South Pole in this hall on December 14th 1909.'
The Dublin occasion (after Kildare, Shackleton, his brother and sisters spent several of their growing years in the city, where their father Dr. Henry Shackleton trained as a General Practitioner) was a vital and uplifting evening of music and lectures, celebrating both Alexandra's grandfather Sir Ernest Shackleton and other Irish polar heroes, notably Tom Crean and Francis McClintock.
All in all, it made for a grand celebration in style of these great figures of Irish exploration.
CREAN: THE TOM CREAN SOCIETY
REMEMBERING A GREAT IRISHMAN AND ANTARCTIC PIONEER
the first year they walked in the footsteps of Tom Crean, landing at Cape Cove in King Haakon Bay, climbing to the Shackleton Gap, and visiting Grytviken the final resting place of Shackleton. However their ship, Polar Star, hit a rock in King Haakon Bay, was badly damaged and had to make a hasty return to Ushuaia for ship repairs. It was not till Jan-Feb 2006 that the trip was trumphantly completed, visiting the South Orkneys, Elephant Island (Cape Wild) and many splendid sites on or off the Antarctic Peninsula, including Paradise Bay, Port Lockroy, Deception Island and the Lemaire Channel. The Society's latest planned trip, to the majestic Ross Sea, in conjunction with Pat Falvey's 'Beyond Endurance', is now scheduled to go ahead in 2012. 'Ross-Revisited: Voyage to the Historic Huts of Scott and Shackleton' will thus take place exactly 100 years on from Scott's Terra Nova expedition. Further details will be announced soon. On the 2004 trip, the Society proudly presented to Grytviken Museum a superb inscribed boulder in memory of Tom Crean. This memorial stone is now displayed in the library at Grytviken.
The Tom Crean Symphony: in recent years the Society commissioned Rachel Holstead of Lispole, Co. Kerry to write a symphony in honour of Tom Crean, with funding from the Arts Council Ireland. The composer visited the Antarctic beforehand on the Society's second trip in 2005 with Marie Kennedy, proprietor of the Old Anchor guest house in Annascaul and a leading light of the Society, and other Tom Crean enthusiast, carefully taking detailed sound recordings and photographs.
IRELAND: SHACKLETON SHOW PACKS IN THE DUBLIN CROWDS
21ST FEBRUARY 1911 - 21ST FEBRUARY 2011
On 21st February 2011 the Shackleton show 'Nearest The South Pole' was staged in the same Rotunda building to celebrate the anniversary, and also attracted a large attendance.
The show itself consists of music, lectures and poetry together with readings from contemporary newspaper accounts performed by actors in period dress.
Bob Headland (Senior Associate of the Scott Polar Research Institute) saw the show as part of the Shackleton Autumn School weekend in October 2010 in Athy. He especially enjoyed the acting and commented as follows:
'I very much enjoyed the presentation. In particular the distinctive ambience of the location was very effectively used by the actors.
'The principle of using contemporary newspaper accounts is always a good one, and perhaps the best way to indicate public opinion at the time. This often demonstrates fascinating comparisons between the thoughts at the time of an occurrence, and those from the present.
'It was also good to see an appropriate degree of ironical humour, especially with the benefit of afterthought (indeed almost a century of afterthought). The effort in 'rounding up' appropriate newspaper extracts was certainly worth the impression it provided which, with the music and other things of a multi-media event, made a fascinating conclusion to the themes of a very polar day.'
BOOK/IRELAND: NEW BIOGRAPHY OF IRISH ANTARCTIC PIONEERS BY MICHAEL SMITH
FEATURING IRISH POLAR HEROES OF THE PAST AND PRESENT
The life of Timothy McCarthy, the stalwart of the James Caird voyage, is revealed for the first time in Michael Smith's new book about Ireland's great Antarctic explorers - including Sir Ernest Shackleton.
The book is called 'Great Endeavour - Ireland's Antarctic Explorers', and is published by the Collins Press.
It deals with 200 years of Antarctic exploration, starting with Bransfield and Crozier in the early 19th century, moving on to Crean and Shackleton in the 20th, and finally the modern day travellers such as Mike Barry and Pat Falvey.
The book contains the most comprehensive account ever published about the lives of Edward Bransfield, Patrick Keohane, Robert Forde and the McCarthy brothers, Mortimer and Tim, plus many previously unseen photographs.
Details on the publishers website - www.collinspress.ie , or see Michael Smith's own website at www.micksmith.co.uk
IRELAND : 10TH ERNEST SHACKLETON AUTUMN SCHOOL OPENS IN ATHY, CO KILDARE
MAJOR SHACKLETON EVENT CELEBRATES ITS FIRST DECADE
The Tenth Ernest Shackleton Autumn School runs from Friday 22 to Monday 25 October 2010 at the Athy Heritage Centre-Museum, County Kildare (not far from the house in Kilkea where Shackleton was born; the family moved to the area in the early part of the 18th Century) .
The Autumn School, the only Polar School held in Ireland, has been a major and one of the most highly successful features in the Shackleton
'Calendar' since it opened at the turn of the present century, and is regularly attended by many of the most eminent figures in the Shackleton and Polar world today.
It provides a forum for discussion and debate on Polar Exploration and the presentation of artistic works and events related to Shackleton and his time.
Friday evening, after the official opening, will feature the launch of an important new book by Chet Ross, Lieutenant Nobu Shirase and the Japanese Antarctic Expedition of 1910-12: A bibliography. Nobu Shirase was one of the most significant Antarctic pioneers of the early 20th Century. It is published by Adélie Books.
The annual Shackleton Memorial Lecture that same evening will be given by Fintan O'Toole, Deputy Editor of The Irish Times.
Morning lectures on the Saturday will be 'The last days of the Arctic', by Ragnar Axelsson, and 'The SS Terra Nova (1884-1943) and other Polar exploration ships of the Heroic Age', by Mike Tarver. At l.00 The Hon. Alexandra Shackleton, President of the James Caird Society and the explorer's granddaughter, will unveil a plaque to her grandfather at Athy commissioned under Ireland's National Committee for Science and Engineering Commemorative Plaques scheme.
The afternoon lectures are by Dr. T. H. Baughman ('The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition') and Chet Ross (on Nobu Shirase's Japanese Expedition). These are followed by the annual dinner, at the Carlton Abbey Hotel.
The Sunday morning lectures will be given by Meredith Hooper ('Uncovering the story of Scott's other expedition') and Prof. David Thomas ('Life inside drifting Antarctic pack-ice'). The Red Tent, a film about the Italian explorer Umberto Nobile, who led the failed 1928 Arctic airship expedition, starring Peter Finch, will be shown that afternoon.
In the late afternoon Bob Headland chairs an Open Forum on Polar matters. And the evening sees an entertainment of music, theatre, poetry and readings relating to Ernest Shackleton and exploration in the Community Arts Centre.
Monday morning sees a field trip to Ballitore, home of Shackleton's ancestress, the renowned educationalist Mary Leadbeater.
On Saturday, Sunday and Monday an exhibition of stunning photographs from the impressive new book The Last Days of the Arctic, published by Polar World and Crymogea, can be viewed. The exhibition runs on until 26 November 2010.
INAUGURAL MEETING OF THE FRIENDS OF THE SHACKLETON COLLECTION
MON 18 OCTOBER 2010 AT ATHY, CO KILDARE, IRELAND
The inaugural meeting of the Friends of the Shackleton Collection will take place on Monday 18th October 2010 at 7.30pm at the Heritage Centre Museum.
The object of the Friends is to assist in the development of Athy Heritage Centre:
- As a centre for developing interest in the history of Athy and district.
- Through the Shackleton Autumn School developing interest in Polar exploration, and especially the Life and Achievements of Ernest Shackleton.
- As a centre for the collection, maintenance and display of material relating to the history of Athy and district.
Membership is open to any person or body wishing to support the objectives of the Friends.
CREW : 'TOM CREAN'S STORY' AT LIVERPOOL
ONE MAN SHOW REVIVES MEMORIES OF IRELAND'S ANTARCTIC HERO
To accompany the new exhibition in Liverpool of Hurley's extraordinary photographs, Endurance - Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure, running from the widely acclaimed one man theatre show 'Tom Crean's Story' offers the chance to find out out more about the incredible tale behind them.
Ideal for younger and older Shackleton enthusiasts alike, and a particularly entertaining and gripping introduction for children of school age, 'Tom, Crean's Story' will be staged in the first floor performance space of the Merseyside Maritime Museum.
The dates and times of performance run through October and November 2010 into December, and will be as follows:
Sunday 3 October 1.30, 2.30 and 3.30pm
Saturday 9 October 1.30, 2.30 and 3.30pm
Saturday 16 October 1.30, 2.30 and 3.30pm
Saturday 23 October 1.30, 2.30 and 3.30pm
Wednesday 27 October 1.30, 2.30 and 3.30pm
Saturday 30 October 1.30, 2.30 and 3.30pm
Saturday 6 November 1.30, 2.30 and 3.30pm
Monday 8 November 1.30, 2.30 and 3.30pm
Saturday 13 November 1.30, 2.30 and 3.30pm
Saturday 20 November 1.30, 2.30 and 3.30pm
Saturday 27 November 1.30, 2.30 and 3.30pm
Saturday 4 December 1.30, 2.30 and 3.30pm
Saturday 11 December 2010 1.30, 2.30 and 3.30pm
Not to be missed!
IRELAND/SHACKLETON : NIMROD CENTENARY EVENT IN DUBLIN
SHACKLETON CELEBRATED 100 YEARS AFTER LECTURING IN IRELAND
On 14th December 1909 Sir Ernest Shackleton came back to Dublin to give a lecture on his Nimrod Expedition. It was held in what was then the University Buildings on Earlsfort Terrace and is now the National Concert Hall.
On 14th December 2009 the centenary was celebrated at the same location with a special event and a gathering of several members of the extended Shackleton family in Ireland.
The event was well covered in the newspapers and on the main evening news on RTE television. The RTE news coverage included extracts from an interview with Jonathan Shackleton in which he said as follows:
"He got the welcome he deserved. He did say 'I am coming back to my native country'. He had lived in Ireland until the age of eleven although at that stage he was based in England. But it is fair to say that he was probably deeply heartened by the welcome he got here in Dublin."
Just like the original event of 14th December 1909 the event of 14th December 2009 was also packed out and was a most successful evening.
Above can be seen several members of the extended Shackleton family in Ireland celebrating the centenary outside the same location. Jonathan Shackleton can be seen displaying a copy of 'The Heart of the Antarctic' signed on 14th December 1909 and the group includes John Shackleton and Noel Shackleton. Both John and Noel have been to South Georgia and Noel has completed the crossing of the island.
SHACKLETON : LAUNCH OF THE TUG 'SHACKLETON'
DUBLIN PORT AUTHORITY HONOURS A GREAT IRISHMAN
On Thursday 25th March the Dublin Port Company launched two new tugs costing six million euro each.
One of the tugs was named 'Shackleton' after Sir Ernest Shackleton from Athy, Co Kildare and the other was named 'Beaufort' after Sir Francis Beaufort from Navan, Co Meath – two of the most famous Irishmen in the history of seafaring.
The Minister of Transport Mr Noel Dempsey officiated at the launch and his daughter Aisling Dempsey smashed the customary bottle of champagne.
Jonathan Shackleton was a Guest of Honour at the launch and at the subsequent celebratory lunch. Several other members of the extended Shackleton family in Ireland were also invited including Noel Shackleton. Noel still lives and farms in Dunlavin, Co Wicklow less than twenty miles from the family home of Ernest Shackleton near Athy, Co Kildare.
SHACKLETON - AN IRISHMAN TO THE CORE
BACKGROUND AND BEGINNINGS OF A GREAT EXPLORER
Ernest Shackleton was born on 15 February 1974 at Kilkea House, near the town of Athy in Co. Kildare, Ireland. He was the son of Henry Shackleton and Henrietta Gavan.
On his father's side, the Shackletons had lived in County Kildare since the 1720s. On his mother's side, the Gavans and the Fitzmaurices had lived in Ireland since the twelfth century.
These excellent photographs (supplied courtesy of Neale Webb, who also furnished the introductory text) show the farmhouse where Shackleton was born as it is today. The front porch is a recent addition; but otherwise the exterior of the farmhouse is largely unchanged.
Ernest was born in the back bedroom on the left - the window is the one below the red guttering.
The glorious views of the surrounding countryside - including historic Kilkea Castle across the fields and distant hills - would be much the same as the views Shackleton drank in during his early childhood.
In 1880, when Ernest was six years old, the family moved to 35 Marlborough Road in Dublin, while his father studied Medicine at Trinity College, Dublin. A two-storey red-brick house with basement on the southern side of the city, it was part of a new development erected a decade earlier on outlying green belt near the (then) village of Donnybrook.
A plaque commemorating the Irish explorer has recent been put up outside no. 35, but the back garden would be much the same as when Ernest played there at the ages of six to ten with friends and younger members of the family. (On one occasion, Jonathan Shackleton tells us in his splendid book Shackleton: An Irishman in Antarctica, he famously dug a gaping hole in the garden and announced that he was digging his way to Australia.)
Ernest Shackleton never lost his deep love for Ireland and the people he grew up amongst - indeed on several occasions in later life he had no hesitation at all in describing himself as an Irishman. Naturally one of those was the occasion when, following his almost successful Nimrod expedition in 1907-9, he returned to his native land to give a lecture entitled "Nearest the South Pole" at 8 p.m. on Tuesday December 14th 1909 in the large hall of the National University, Earlsfort Terrace, under the chairmanship of the Lord Lieutenant, surveying the achievements of the 1907-9 trek in a talk full of interest and peppered with lively remarks, which drew much laughter and merriment.
Prior to that lecture he was entertained to lunch by members of the Corinthian Club in the Aberdeen Hall, Gresham Hotel. If Shackleton had now actually discovered the South Pole he, an Irishman whose achievements were compared to those of McLure (the discoverer of the North West Passage) and McClintock, had shown others the way there, and he would always be regarded as, at all events, the virtual discoverer of the South Pole. It was particularly appreciated that the proceeds raised by Shackleton's lecture were donated to Lady Dudley's Nursing Scheme.
A further lecture was given at the Round Room, the Rotunda on Tuesday 21 February 1911, an occasion on which he expressed the hope that Captain Scott's forthcoming expedition of that same year would achieve the objective he himself had not quite managed in 1909.
Shackleton's fame was later to be saddled with another murkier episode in Irish history, when it emerged in 1914 that Frank Shackleton, his younger brother by two years, was accused of association with the theft in July 1907 of the Irish crown jewels - a matter that was not fully resolved when the Endurance set sail, and the truth of which has to some extent not been fully resolved or ascertained yet.
However in 1914 began another adventure which wrote Shackleton's and Ireland's name in the annals of heroism, for when Shackleton embarked on his Endurance expedition he took with him two other Irishmen who were to prove vital to the group's survival. They were Tom Crean and Tim McCarthy, both of whom travelled aboard the James Caird. Three of the men in the small boat were Irish by birth, one was a New Zealander, one English, and one a Scot.
The predominance of Irish blood aboard the James Caird for that historic rescue journey was yet another thing which has given Irishmen everywhere tremendous pride in Shackleton and his achievements, as being indeed, from the outset, 'one of us'.
Indeed stories abound of Shackleton's Irishness, and his willingness to vaunt the fact. One senior English civil servant did not see that as entirely an advantage: "I happened to go out to India with Lieutenant Shackleton, a feckless Irishman...."
But others knew better. Louis Bernacchi, who travelled with Ernest on Scott's Discovery expedition, wrote that "Just as in his former ships, Shackleton was the life and soul of the Discovery. His mind was alert, his good humour inexhaustible.... In his deep Irish voice he could wheedle and coax; successfully, if he wanted something, which he generally did. ...Shackleton was the poet,...and in his wheedling Irish manner he kept me from my bunk reciting endless verses." In her life of Captain Scott (1977), Elspeth Huxley refers to "Shackleton's Irish volubility and his habit of quoting thick slabs of poetry." Wilson, she says "admired the Irishman's witty sparkling conversation and remarkable memory, from which an anecdote could be extracted at any moment to suit any occasion."
Shackleton's wife Emily (Lady Shackleton) took a more cautious view: "Although Ernest called himself Irish, one of (his sisters) once said to me, "We were never Irish until mother (Henrietta Shackleton) married into the family." The Dublin Evening Telegraph of 24 March 1909, in celebratory mood, had no such doubts: "South Pole almost reached by an Irishman," ran the headline. Many would echo that. Indeed from his earliest days in London, he was always known as 'Mike' or 'Micky' - like Paddy, a classic nickname for an Irish lad, and one by which he continued to be known to his friends in later life.
Sir Arthur Conon Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, was equally forthright when praising Shackleton's achievement at the Royal Societies club in 1909, following the latter's return from his attempt on the South Pole: "Shackleton is an Irishman. As a fellow-Irishman I take pride at the thought. Think of what Ireland has done for the Empire. Finally think of that flag flapping down yonder on the snow filed, planted there by an Irishman."
Shackleton himself concurred: "I am an Irishman, he affirmed on many occasions. He allowed it to enter the official record - on the third attempt to rescue his men from Endurance, now marooned on Elephant Island, he and Tom Crean are both listed in the log of the Emma as Irish. And indeed, it has been said, he had "all the inherent characteristics of the Irishman - cheerful, optimistic, good-natured." To one astute observer, he "shamelessly played on his Irishness. Sometimes he almost seemed like a professional Irishman." His sponsor Dame Janet Stancomb-Wills, another shrewd witness, alludes to his "reckless generosity" in these terms: "I cannot understand why his (presumably) thrifty Quaker forebears did not bestow that gift upon him to counteract the reckless generosity of his Irish ancestry."
Such national pride in one of her greatest sons led directly to the launching of the Irish South Aris expedition, of which Frank Nugent was joint leader, and which endeavoured in January 1997 to follow in the great man's footsteps. Although eventually foiled by a Force 10 storm which thrice capsized their boat, this hardy Irish team certainly succeeded in increasing consciousness of Shackleton around the world; while Frank Nugent went on in February l997 to complete a re-enaction of Shackleton's South Georgia traverse from King Haakon Bay to Stromness.
It was also the inspiration for Pat Falvey's 'Beyond Endurance' expeditions, which have given to so many an experience of the challenges of outdoor life and of the Antarctic, including McMurdo Sound and the dramatic island and mainland scenery of the Ross Sea.
Only recently, Pat's team made a celebratory return to Shackleton's 'Furthest South' (88° 23' South), reached by Shackleton, Wild, Marshall and Adams in January 1909. Pat and his men found an appropriate way of toasting their great Irish predecessor.
That raising of awareness of Shackleton worldwide is now also continued by the highly successful annual Shackleton Autumn School, which takes place at Athy, County Kildare, every October half-term, just a mile or two from the house where Sir Ernest Shackleton was born.