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October 25, 2012

President Higgins Marks Irish Conribution to Antarctic Exploration

Shackleton 2012 President Michael D. Higgins will formally open the Ernest Shackleton Autumn School next Friday (October 26th) celebrating the centenary of the 1912 Scott expedition to the South Pole and the key role of heroic Irishmen in that and other Antarctic endeavours.
The school runs in Athy, Co Kildare from Friday to Monday over the Bank Holiday weekend and will be attended by the grandchildren of Captain Scott and of two Irishmen who played major roles in Antarctic exploration, Ernest Shackleton and Tom Crean.
The school is also delighted to welcome Kari Herbert, daughter of distinguished Polar explorer Sir Wally Herbert. Kari, who grew up with the Intuit in Greenland, is the author of a new book celebrating the contribution to women to Polar exploration and will deliver a lecture on that theme.
Kevin Kenny of the Shackleton School Organising Committee said:
"We are honoured that President Higgins has agreed to open the Shackleton School in this very important year marking the centenary of some of the great Antarctic expeditions. Now in its 12th year, the School brings together leading historians, environmentalists, explorers and scientists in focusing on the Polar regions”.
In 1912, Captain Scott reached the South Pole but died on the return journey, Mr Kenny outlined. Four Irishmen were members of Scott's expedition, notably the 'Unsung Hero', Tom Crean. Michael Smith will talk about their contributions in his lecture on Sunday morning.

Mr Kenny continued "Ernest Shackleton, born in Kilkea, Athy in 1874, is renowned for his  exploits when leading Antarctic expeditions. He is famed for his exemplary decision making and leadership skills, best summarised in a quote from a contemporary :“....when disaster strikes and all hope is gone, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton”. It is particularly apt that Ireland's many associations with polar
regions are celebrated in Shackleton's birthplace”.
A wide variety of lectures, film and drama is augmented by a vibrant social programme. has billed the Ernest Shackleton Autumn School as: "The best Polar gathering of the year".
A fascinating exhibition of artefacts relating to Scott's tragic expedition will be on display in Athy Heritage Centre until Dec 14th.
Full details are available on and