Ernest Shackletons Birthplace

Sir Earnest Shackleton, the Antarctica Explorer was born around 10km south of Athy in County Kildare. Shackleton was born and lived in Kilkea House until he was 10 years old before moving to London  with his folks. He was the second of 10 children, his brother Frank was actually accused of robbing the Irish Crown Jewels in 1907, a theft that was never solved but thats another story.


Kilkea House from the main road. Beware of the bull, you are not in Kansas any more.

Shackleton hit the seas in search of Adventure by the age of 16. He was part of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s Discovery Expedition 1901–04. He went back to Antarctica 3 times leading his own expeditions.


Kilkea House is a private home…so no selfies with the bull

His first time leading an expedition from 1907–1909 he came within 97 miles of the South Pole. The South Pole race was eventually won by  Roald Amundsen in 1911.


A smug and snug looking winner  Roald Amundsen

Shackletons second trip south is thought in leadership colleges the world over. Long story short. He went south to be the first team to walk across Antarctica. Before hitting land their ship Endurance got trapped in the ice sheets. The lads waited 9 months  for the ice to melt. The ice melted and it turned out the ice was holding the ship up. The ship then sank. Remember they are still in Antarctica.


A trapped Endurance

For four months the team drifted on a sheet of ice before that broke up and after 5 days in lifeboats they reached Elephant Island. Unfortuately Elephant island has no actual elephants or much else as its on the tip of Antarctica.


Dogs watching Endurance sink. Even they know its bad news.

With little hope of rescue Shackleton lead a small team in a lifeboat 720 miles to South Georgia Island where there was a Whaling Station. They made it. Murphys law though they reached the uninhabited side of the island. They then hiked 32 miles across the island to raise the alarm to rescue those left on Elephant Island. No lives where lost on this trip. Epic Stuff.

On preparing for his third adventure in South Georgia Island, just north of Antarctica (see map below), Shackleton died of a heart attack on 5 January 1922 and was buried just outside the town of Grytviken overlooking King Edward Cove.



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