Athy Shackleton Museum



Friday, 26th October


Wine Reception



Official Opening & Exhibition Launch by the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins

7.45pm in Athy Heritage Centre – Museum.




Daily Exhibition – Athy Heritage Centre - Museum


10.00am – 5.00pm - These Rough Notes – Scott's Last Expedition


The exhibition tells the story of Captain Robert Falcon's Scott's 1910-1912 Terra Nova expedition to the Antarctic. The exhibition text was developed by the Polar Museum, SPRI and is complemented by objects from the Polar Museum, Discovery Point, Dundee, and material from a number of private collections.



Antarctic Adventurers – the Antarctic adventurers will recreate a three man sledging party from the early years of Antarctic exploration.


Saturday, 27th October


Lecture Series Athy Library


10.30am “Endurance at South Georgia”

Robert Burton

Admission €8


11.30am COFFEE


12.00 'Scott and Shackleton:Early Days, Rivalry, & Leadership'

Jan Piggott

Admission €8




2.15pm 'Mrs Shackleton and other polar wives'

Kari Herbert


Admission €8


Book Launch Athy Heritage Centre-Museum

3.10pm Antarctic Days


The Erskine Press will be launching its newest facsimile – Antarctic Days – Sketches of the Homely Side of Polar Life by Two of Shackleton’s Men. Written and illustrated by James Murray and George Marston it gives a feeling for the personal side of Shackleton’s Nimrod expedition. Originally published in a small edition in 1913 this is a very rare book and will be a welcome addition to all Polar libraries This edition, with an introduction by Joe O’Farrell, will be limited to 280 numbered copies.


3.30pm “Antarctica Today: the Scientific Legacy of the Heroic Age ”


Gabrielle Walker

Admission €8


4.30pm 'Icebreakers'

A series of short presentations on topics relevant to the Shackleton Autumn School, presented by those with a passion for their subject.

Admission Free




8pm Autumn School Dinner in Clanard Court Hotel, Athy


Sunday, 28th October Athy Library


Lecture Series


10.00am “Douglas Mawson and the AAE: Science and Survival "

David Roberts

Admission €8


11.00am COFFEE

11.15am “Scott's Irishmen - The exploits of Crean, Forde, Keohane and McCarthy on Terra Nova and after”

Michael Smith

Admission €8


12.15pm “Antarctic débâcle: Oberleutnant Wilhelm Filchner's expedition to the Weddell Sea, 1911-1912; differing versions of the allocation of blame ”

William Barr

Admission €8




Film Athy Library


2.30pm “Frank Wild: Antarctica's Forgotten Hero”

The film was first shown on BBC Two in April this year. The hour long documentary tells the story of Frank Wild, one of the unsung greats of polar exploration. The film also follows Frank Wild’s ashes as they’re taken to South Georgia to be laid to rest next to his great friend and companion, Sir Ernest Shackleton.


Presented by Paul Greenan

Admission €8


4.00pm Open Forum – Chaired by Bob Headland

Cultural Evening Athy Community Arts Centre


Photographic Exhibition - Opening


7.45pm Faces from the Southern Oceans

Ms. L’Heureux’ photography conveys the sense of intimacy she experienced when she first the wildlife that inhabit the Antarctic continent and was captivated by faces such as those of the Wandering Albatross, the Elephant Seal, the Emperor and Royal Penguins.




8.30pm “All's Well

An original composition, the songs were inspired by the journals, letters and biographies of all five men of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's ill fated polar party and are an attempt to capture their thoughts and feelings as they realise their death is inevitable.

Written and performed by Jake Wilson

Admission €10

Monday, 29th October 2012



Field Trip Assemble at The Heritage Centre – Museum


10.00am Bus tour through Shackleton country. A Visit to Ballitore and the home of Mary Leadbeater, writer and ancestor of Ernest Shackleton, the Quaker Meeting House and the Shaker Store.

Fare €10



Information on Contributors


Robert Burton

Robert Burton is a natural history writer who has been involved with South Georgia for many years. He visited the island for the first time in 1964 and returned in 1971 to study albatrosses and fur seals. From 1995 to 1998, he was director of the museum at Grytviken and started to collect information on the island’s history. This included researching the time that Shacketon spent on South Georgia. Bob now visits annually as a lecturer on cruise ships.


Dr Jan Piggott

Dr. Jan Piggott, F.S.A., studied English at Oxford and taught originally at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur. More recently he taught at Dulwich College in London for thirty years, as Head of English. When he retired from teaching, he became Keeper of Archives at the College, custodian of the James Caird whaler and the Shackleton Collections. In 2000 he curated the exhibition Shackleton - the Antarctic and Endurance' at Dulwich College. On the committee of the James Caird Society, he founded their Journal, and wrote for it on Frank Wild and a number of other topics.


Kari Herbert

The daughter of distinguished polar explorer Sir Wally Herbert, Kari is a travel writer and photographer, contributing regularly to newspapers and magazines. Her book “The Explorers Daughter” an account of the first few years of her life spent living on a remote island in the Arctic with the Polar Inuit of Northwest Greenland was published to much acclaim in 2004. Her new books In Search of the South Pole and Polar Wives: The Remarkable Women behind the World's Most Daring Explorers have just been published.


Dr Gabrielle Walker

Gabrielle is Chief Scientist for the climate consultancy Xyntéo and a consultant to New Scientist. She contributes frequently to BBC Radio 4 presenting the Planet Under Threat and Thin Air series and is the author of a number of books including Snowball Earth and An Ocean of Air – A Natural History of the Atmosphere. She presented the The Secret Life of Ice on BBC 4 and her most recent publication is Antarctica.


Dr William Barr

A Senior Research Assoicate at the Arctic Insitute of North America, University of Calgary, William is also Professor Emeritus of Geography at the Univeristy of Saskatchewan. He has published widely on Arctic subjects and has been prominent in promoting the study of the Russian role in polar exploration.His most recent publications include Arctic Hellship: The Voyage of HMS Enterprise 1850-1855 and Arctic Scientist, Gulag Survivor: The biography of Mikhail Mikhailovich Ermolaev, 1901-1991.

Michael Smith

Michael Smith is an author and journalist who specialises in the history of Polar exploration.Michael began writing books in the late 1990s after more than 30 years as an award-winning journalist covering business and political issues for paper such as the Observer. His first book, An Unsung Hero – Tom Crean Antarctic Survivor (2000) has never been out of print. His other books include I Am Just Going Outside – Captain Oates; Sir James Wordie – Polar Crusader; Captain Francis Crozier – Last Man Standing? andTom Crean – An Illustrated Life. He has also written two books for children: Shackleton – The Boss and Tom Crean – Iceman which is on the curriculum for primary schools in Ireland


David Roberts

David Roberts is a mountaineer and author of books and articles about climbing. He is particularly noted for his books The Mountain of My Fear and Deborah: A Wilderness Narrative. He also published books on polar themes including Four Against the Arctic: Shipwrecked for Six Years at the Top of the World and the forthcoming book about Douglas Mawson, titled Alone on the Ice. which will be published in January 2013.

Paul Greenan

Paul Greenan is a producer/director with BBC Television. He’s been with the BBC for 22 years and has a background in journalism and current affairs.  Paul’s worked on a variety of programmes for the BBC including natural history programmes for BBC TWO and documentaries for BBC FOUR. “Frank Wild: Antarctica’s Forgotten Hero” was his first polar film. He currently works for the BBC current affairs series Inside Out. 


Jake Wilson

Jake Wilson is a folk-rock guitarist and songwriter in the Richard Thompson mould. As well as performing his own material, Jake currently plays with ex-Fairport Convention folk fiddle legend, Dave Swarbrick, who has described him as “one of the best guitarists and songwriters around today”.


Bob Headland

Bob is a senior research associate of the Scott Polar Research Institute of the University of Cambridge. He specialises in the history and geography of both polar regions. His work with the Antarctic Heritage Trust involves the preservation of the historical huts and other aspects associated with the exploration of the discovery of the Antarctic. His most recent publication is A Chronology of Antarctic Exploration.


J J L'Heureux

J.J is a painter, photographer, adventure and naturalist. She has made numerous trips to Antarctica and has published two books, the Good Day Book and Faces from the Southern Oceans. She has exhibited extensively in galleries and museums throughout the world most recently at the University of Iowa and the G2 Gallery in Venice, California.


Antarctic Adventurers

The Antarctic Adventures are a group of British re-enactors who specialise in recreating the world of Shackleton, Scott and Amundsen. They perform regularly for museums and English Heritage. They recreate a three man sledging party of the 1901 – 1913 period with clothing, sledges and equipment of the time used by Scott and Shackleton.