Shackleton statue finally unveiled in Kildare

A bronze statue of the famous polar explorer Ernest Shackleton was unveiled in a ceremony in his home county in Athy, Co. Kildare yesterday afternoon. The day also marked the 100 anniversary of the rescue of Shackleton’s crew from Elephant Island, the ending to the epic saga that was the Endurance expedition.

His granddaughter Alexandra Shackleton was there to unveil the life sized statue designed by Mark Richards. Also in attendance at the ceremony was the Mayor of Kildare, Councillor Ivan Keatley, and an honour guard from the Irish Naval Service, to pay tribute to Shackleton’s life at sea.

Shackleton was born in the small village of Kilkea on the 15th of February 1874, around 10 km for Athy. At a young age his family moved to England and he grew up to become a master mariner. His first expedition to the polar region was on Robert Scott’s Discovery with fellow Irishman Tom Crean, who would later join him on his own expedition.

His most famous exploit was his third polar outing – the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition on board his ship Endurance. This is one of the most gruelling tales of adventure, bravery and endurance. A few weeks into the voyage the ship became trapped in ice and drifted for months before sinking. Shackleton and his crew were stranded in one of the most unforgiving places on earth. But due to Shackleton’s bravery and amazing leadership skills he managed to return with no loss of life.

The statue was commissioned by Kildare County Council and a great addition to the town that has the only museum with a permanent exhibition dedicated to Shackleton.

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Ann Robinson
Has a passion for coastal heritage and maritime history. Loves sharing the best of the Irish coast online. Contact me or follow me on Twitter @AnnRobinson22