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October 30, 2007

Shackleton Autumn School A Great Success


Athy Heritage Centre and Museum played host to the 7th annual Shackleton Autumn School over the October Bank Holiday weekend.

The weekend was opened by journalist Kevin Myers, whose lecture on Ireland and a multi-cultural society generated a lively debate among the very large attendance on the Friday night.

The weekend provided, as ever, a wide variety of events to interest all tastes. The series of lectures dealt with many aspects of Shackleton’s life but also with the environmental threat to the Antarctic and on Saturday night the annual Shackleton dinner was fully subscribed at the Carlton Court Hotel, where Jacintha O Donnell entertained the diners with music and song.

The Antarctic recreation group drew a steady stream of interested passers-by to their tent outside the Heritage Centre, where reproduction clothing, utensils, a sledge and equipment from the Shackleton expeditions were on show.

Sunday saw a morning of lectures and a film in the afternoon. On Sunday night the main library was packed for the performance of the Armagh Rhymers who, with their masks, poetry and music, brought the works of Patrick Kavanagh and other Irish writers to life.

The weekend concluded with a bus and walking tour of Ballitore on Monday morning where, again, a full complement of people visited the Quaker Meeting House, Mary Leadbeater house, Quaker school site and the Shaker store.

The organising committee expressed delight at the increased number attending this year’s school – all of the events were sold out – and they are already planning for next year’s events.