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Press Release-Shackleton Sculpture

To mark the centenary of the rescue of the Endurance crew

from Elephant Island,

Mayor of Kildare, Councillor Ivan Keatley

warmly invites you


The unveiling of a sculpture of Ernest Shackleton

created by artist Mark Richards

Tuesday, 30 August 2016,

Emily Square, Athy, Co. Kildare

Special Guest The Honourable Alexandra Shackleton,

granddaughter of the explorer 

Honour Guard and Colour Party, Irish Naval Service

Assembly 12.45pm; event will commence at 1pm sharp

Refreshments: Athy Heritage Centre-Museum 

SHACKLETON: a name forever linked with danger, exploration, loyalty, leadership and perseverance; a name synonymous with Co. Kildare.

As part of its Decade of Commemorations programme, Kildare Co. Council commissioned a commemorative sculpture of Ernest Shackleton, the world famous explorer to mark the 100th anniversary of the rescue of the crew of the ‘Endurance.’

The sculpture commemorates the life and exploits of Ernest Shackleton and particularly the rescuing of the crew of the  ‘Endurance’ in 1916 after the ship became trapped and crushed in the ice.

Ernest Shackleton was born in Kilkea, near Athy, Co. Kildare in 1874, but moved to England when he was just 10 years old. At age 16, he left school to go to sea, qualifying as a Master Mariner. He took part in Scott's 'Discovery' expedition and led his own expedition aboard the 'Nimrod' in 1908, which came within 97 geographical miles of the South Pole, the furthest point south ever reached up to that date, catapulting him to international fame.

In 1914, Shackleton made his third trip to Antarctica with the 'Endurance,' planning to cross the continent via the South Pole. The ship became trapped in the ice, and subsequently sank. Shackleton's crew reached Elephant Island and on Easter Monday 1916, taking five crew members, including fellow Irishmen Tom Crean and Tim McCarthy, Shackleton set sail for the island of South Georgia. In a small lifeboat, the 'James Caird', the six men crossed 1,300 km of ocean in 16 days to reach land. Shackleton, Crean and Frank Worsley were forced to climb a mountain range to the whaling station at Stromness. The remaining men were rescued on 30 August 1916. Not one member of the 'Endurance' crew was lost.

His final expedition on the 'Quest' aimed to circumnavigate the Antarctic continent. On 5 January, 1922, near South Georgia, Ernest Shackleton died of a heart attack. He was buried in Grytviken Cemetery. The physician Alexander Macklin noted in his diary: "I think this is as 'the Boss' would have had it himself, standing lonely in an island far from civilisation, surrounded by stormy tempestuous seas, & in the vicinity of one of his greatest exploits."

Sculptor: Mark Richards

With over 30 years experience as a figure and portrait sculptor, Mark Richards combines a comprehensive understanding of sculptural techniques with a rare sensitivity of touch; his work exhibits both cohesive composition and great beauty of form.  Mark Richards considered it "a genuine honour to be awarded the commission to create a commemorative sculpture of Ernest Shackleton for Athy, in the heart of his beloved Co. Kildare.  I have endeavoured to convey something of the man himself, his achievements and the great esteem in which he is held the world over.”

Jack L

Music was part of the lives of these men and a way of keeping sane when face to face with the greatest perils and the power and terror that is unbridled nature. Shackleton later recalled Tom Crean attempting an old favourite when in a good mood, 'The Wearing of the Green'. In their honour the song will be performed on the day by internationally renowned local musician Jack L.

Shackleton Cabin

The commission coincides with the imminent relocation of Athy Community Library to the  Dominican Church site and the enhancement of the Athy Heritage Centre-Museum. With the support of Kildare Co. Council, Athy Heritage Centre-Museum, recently acquired the cabin in which Shackleton died in 1922. The cabin is being restored in Letterfrack, Co. Galway.

Apsley Cherry-Garrard, one of Scott's team on the 'Terra Nova' Expedition, wrote:

'For a joint scientific and geographical piece of organisation, give me Scott; for a Winter Journey, Wilson; for a dash to the Pole and nothing else, Amundsen: and if I am in the devil of a hole and want to get out of it, give me Shackleton every time.'

Queries and RSVP to Lucina Russell

E:, T: 00 353 (0)45 448318, (0)87 2399212

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