Posted 03/10/2017

Ernest Shackleton 17th Autumn School

27th - 30th October 2017

Lectures + Exhibition + Film + Drama + Excursion

Friday 27th October

7.30pm Official Opening of Autumn School & Exhibition

8.00pm Book Launch at the Athy Heritage Centre - Museum
In association with the publishers, the South Australian Museum, the school is delighted to host the launch of Shackleton’s British Antarctic Expedition 1907-1909.

This unique publication gives real depth to the stereo photographs drawn from the Douglas Mawson collection and a remarkable insight into Shackleton’s Nimrod expedition.

The book will be launched by Mark Pharoah, the Curator of the Polar Collection at the South Australian Museum.

Daily Exhibition at Athy Heritage Centre - Museum
Saturday & Sunday 10.00am - 5.00pm
Bank Holiday Monday 10.00am - 2.00pm

"Ushering in the Age of Mechanical Exploration: Richard E. Byrd's First and Second Expeditions to Antarctica"
The exhibition, held in association with the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, focuses on Admiral Richard E. Byrd's pioneering expeditions to the Antarctic – 1928- 1930 & 1933-1935.

The exhibition text was developed by the Byrd Polar Research Center and is complemented by artefacts from the Center's own and private collections

Saturday 28th October

Lecture Series Athy Library

10.00am "The Ross Sea Party 1914-1917: A Wrong Righted" Joe O’Farrell Admission €10
10.50am TEA/COFFEE
11.20am "The Norwegian Polar History, the basis of a National Identity"
Ambassador Else Berit Eikeland Admission €10
12.10pm "Lester & Bagshawe: Unsung and Forgotten Heroes" Robert Burton Admission €10

1.00pm LUNCH

2.15pm Book Launch - Brad Borkan will launch 'When your Life Depends on it' Admission Free
2.30pm "The Third Man Factor: Surviving the Impossible" John Geiger Admission €10
3.30pm "Living on the Edge: In the Wake of Shackleton" Enda O'Coineen Admission €10
4.30pm 'Icebreakers' A series of short presentations on topics relevant to the Shackleton Autumn School, presented by those with a passion for their subject. Admission Free

Dinner Kilkea Castle Hotel

8.00pm Autumn School Dinner
Preceded by drinks reception at 7.30pm. Tickets €55

Sunday 29th October

Lecture Series Athy Library

10.00am "Frank Hurley's Endurance Photos - as you've never seen them before" Shane Murphy Admission €10
10.50am TEA/COFFEE
11.20am "Shackleton's Foreigners: Douglas Mawson, and his Eventual Supremacy , 1909-11" Mark Pharoah Admission €10
12.10pm "Ushering in the Age of Mechanical Exploration: Richard E. Byrd's First and Second Expeditions to Antarctica" Laura Kissel Admission €10

1.00pm LUNCH

2.30pm "An Exceptional Letter and its Mailbox: Roald Amundsen at the South Pole, December 1911" Anne Melgard Admission €10

Film Athy Library
3.30pm Byrd 1933
The film tells the story of Byrd's 1933-1935 expedition to the Antarctic drawn from ten surviving reels from Byrd's Discovery Lecture Film Series. 

The filmmaker and artist Pamela Theodotou, Media Specialist at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center at The Ohio State University directed the film.

The film is introduced by Laura Kissel. Admission €10

Lecture Series Athy Library

5.00pm Open Forum – Chaired by Bob Headland. Admission Free

Drama Athy Church of Ireland Community Centre

8.30pm 'Tom Crean – Antarctic Explorer'

Tom Crean (1877-1938) the intrepid Antarctic explorer and one of Ireland's unsung heroes is brought to life in this dramatic and humorous solo performance by Aidan Dooley. 

A welcome return to the Shackleton School for this iconic show. Admission €10

Monday 30th October

Field Trip Assemble at the Heritage Centre - Museum

10.00am Bus tour through Shackleton country

A Visit to Ballitore and the home of Mary Leadbeater, writer and ancestor of Ernest Shackleton and Quaker Meeting House. Fare €10

Sir Ernest Shackleton

Born close to the village of Kilkea, between Castledermot and Athy, in the south of County Kildare in 1874, Ernest Shackleton is renowned for his courage, his commitment to the welfare of his comrades, and his immense contribution to exploration and geographical discovery. The Shackleton family first came to south Kildare in the early years of the eighteenth century. Ernest’s Quaker forefather, Abraham Shackleton, established a multidenominational school in the village of Ballitore.

This school was to educate such notable figures as Napper Tandy, Edmund Burke, Cardinal Paul Cullen and Shackleton’s great aunt, the Quaker writer, Mary Leadbeater.

Apart from their involvement in education, the extended family was also deeply involved in the business and farming life of south Kildare.

Having gone to sea as a teenager, Shackleton joined Captain Scott’s Discovery expedition (1901 – 1904) and, in time, was to lead three of his own expeditions to the Antarctic. His Endurance expedition (1914 – 1916) has become known as one of the great epics of human survival. He died in 1922, at South Georgia, on his fourth expedition to the Antarctic, and – on his wife’s instructions – was buried there.

Athy Heritage Centre-Museum

Athy Heritage Centre-Museum was established to celebrate the history of the area. It houses material and audio-visual programmes that chronicle the ancient, medieval and post 16th century lives and achievements of the people of the town and its hinterland.

Athy Heritage Centre is home to the only permanent exhibition anywhere devoted to Ernest Shackleton. Highlights include an original sledge and harness from his Antarctic expeditions, a 15-foot model of Shackleton’s ship Endurance, an exhibition of unique Shackleton family photographs and an audio-visual display featuring Frank Hurley’s film footage of the Endurance expedition.

The Centre also houses material on the Great War and its effects on Athy; and the Gordon- Bennett race, which is celebrated annually in the town.

Highlight of the year, at the Centre, is the Shackleton Autumn School, the only Polar School in Ireland, which was established to commemorate the explorer in the county of his birth. It provides a forum for discussion and debate on polar exploration and the presentation of artistic works relevant to Shackleton and his time.


For information and booking contact:
Athy Heritage Centre - Museum, and Tourist Information Point,
Town Hall, Emily Square, Athy, Co. Kildare.

Tel: 059 - 8633075. Fax: 059 - 8633076.

Full Autumn School: €160
Lectures: €10, student/unwaged/OAP: €8

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