by ehistoryadmin on January 5, 2022


Today, 5 January 2022, is 100 years to the day since Kilkea, County Kildare born sailor and Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton died following a massive heart attack on South Georgia  Island while on his way to Antarctica on The Quest.

It would be late January 1922 before news of the death of Ernest Shackleton reached Ireland, with the daily national papers all carrying the shocking news. While press reports all summarised his life of heroic adventures, leadership and explorations, they also highlighted his strong links to County Kildare which continued past his death.

The Freeman’s Journal report of 30 January 1922 was as follows:


Member of Well-Know Kildare Family

Born at Kilkea, Co. Kildare, in 1874, Sir Ernest Shackleton was the son of the late Dr. Henry Shackleton, a member of a well known Quaker family. One of the earliest schools in the County Kildare was that conducted or organised and housed near the village of Ballytore, over a century ago, by the Shackleton family, which had settled in the district. At a time when Catholics were denied all educational rights, many attended this school, including the late Cardinal Cullen. Edmund Burke, the distinguished orator, also received his early education at this school. The oldest mills in Co. Kildare, at Moone and Belan, the former still working, are the property of the Shackletons. [The Freeman’s Journal, 30 January 1922]

The Irish Independent carried a similar piece.

Death of Ernest Shackleton. (Irish Independent, 30 January 1922).

The Kildare Observer carried an obituary the following week on 4 February, which is available here: SIR ERNEST SHACKLETON – OBITUARY, 1922 (

The Dictionary of Irish Biography entry for Ernest Shackleton is available here: Shackleton, Sir Ernest Henry | Dictionary of Irish Biography (

Today, the Shackleton Museum in Athy has a permanent exhibition to the famous polar explorer, the Ernest Shackleton Autumn School is organised annually by the Museum, while a bronze statue of the explorer is located in Emily Square in Athy.

The Shackleton Museum have exciting plans to mark the anniversary of his death later this year. See ‘ for further details.

Also: #ShackletonMuseum and #Shackleton100

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