Athy Shackleton Museum


Download 2017 Brochure PDF 


Bob Burton

Bob 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 Shackleton spent on South Georgia. Bob now visits annually as a lecturer on cruise ships.



Ambassador Else Berit Eikeland

Her Excellency, Else Berit Eikeland is the Norwegian Ambassador to Ireland, having taken up office in September 2016. Her career in the Norwegian Foreign Service has spanned administrative, policy and ambassadorial roles, with postings to the Philippines, San Francisco, London and Canada. Prior to arriving in Ireland, she was the Polar Ambassador for the Arctic and Antarctica where she represented Norway’s considerable interests in these regions.

The Shackleton Autumn School has built strong relations with Norway over the years, and Ambassador Eikeland is keen to further develop these and more general Norway/Ireland relations based on the many areas of common interest.



Joe O'Farrell

Joe O’Farrell is the Director of the Athy Heritage Centre- Museum. In his capacity as Museum Director, his most recent project was the acquisition in Norway, and the transportation to Ireland, of the deck-mounted cabin from “Quest” in which Shackleton died in South Georgia in Jan 1922. A polar researcher, writer, and speaker, he is a member of numerous polar societies and associations, and has contributed to many journals, and lectured extensively on the historical narrative of both Arctic and Antarctic exploration and discovery. He has been to Antarctica, including Elephant Island and South Georgia, and, in furtherance of one of his other areas of significant interest and study, has twice visited the remote south atlantic island of Tristan da Cunha. Recently retired from a career in insurance, Joe lives and works in his home in Enniskerry, County Wicklow, Ireland.


John Geiger

John is the Chief Executive Officer of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society. He is the international bestselling author of seven books, including Frozen In Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition, The Third Man Factor: Surviving the Impossible, and most recently Franklin's Lost Ship: The Historic of HMS Erebus. His work has been translated into fourteen languages. He has appeared on many television and radio programs, and has been featured in major documentary films including ‘Arctic Ghost Ship’ on PBS Nova, ‘The Angel Effect’ on National Geographic Channel’s Explorer, and ‘Flicker’ on Bravo. He is the former chair of the Editorial Board of The Globe and Mail newspaper. In 2015 John received the Polar Medal.


Brad Borkan

Brad's interest in polar history started when he picked up an Antarctic exploration book at the local Public Library at the age of 8 years old. He has a graduate degree in Decision Sciences from the University of Pennsylvania and has a fascination in how people and businesses can make better decisions. He is based in London.


Enda O'Cioneen

In November 2016, Enda O’Coineen crossed the starting line on the Vendee Globe challenge, becoming the first Irish person to take part in this gruelling single handed round the world race. Two months later, a squall in the Southern Ocean dismasted his yacht 'Kilcullen Voyager' , leaving him to limp into Dunedin on New Zealand’s South Island. Enda’s early life was a combination of youthful rebelliousness, sailing, budding entrepreneurship and hard work, with a BComm from NUI Galway along the way. Soon after, he attempted an Atlantic crossing in a rubber dinghy. He capsized 300 miles short of the west coast of Ireland - a few years later he completed the trip for a world first. As well as a serious commitment to charitable activities, and in particular the Atlantic youth trust Enda is executive chairman of Kilcullen Kapital Partners with interests in a range of businesses worldwide. 



Shane Murphy

Shane is a Grand Canyon river guide who also works in Antarctica driving Zodiacs and lecturing history. He read Alfred Lansing’s Endurance in 1984 and developed an interest in seeing the 120 photos saved from the wreck. After visiting archives in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, Murphy developed List of Images, a monograph identifying some 550 expedition images, detailing each item by institution and call number; known privatecollections and numerous ancillary files were also included. Murphy has written for the James Caird Society Journal and is best known as a contributor to South With Endurance. He has recently completed a biography of an historic Arizona character named John Hance, “the greatest liar on earth” according to Teddy Roosevelt.




Mark Pharoah

From the U.K., but South Australia-based, he curated Douglas Mawson’s personal Collection, initially at Adelaide University. Collaborations with the South Australian Museum led to Mawson-related exhibitions (1995, 1996, 2001-17, 2009-11), and both the Collection and it's curator founded the Museum’s Mawson Centre. Since 2003 his senior managerial role widened when he established an Australian Polar Collection, adding Wilkins and Rymill material.

Mark has written widely on Mawson, editing a CD-Rom, the Adelie Blizzard facsimile, and recently a stereoscopic book. He was coordinator of the 2014’s centenary Aurora Symposium; lecturer/guide/marshal on Antarctic cruises, and 500m bicycle Outback Odysseys; also numerous smaller trips, one camel-supported. '


Laura Kissel

Laura Kissel is the Polar Curator for the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center Archival Program (Polar Archives), a position she has held since 1996. She has a bachelor's degree from The Ohio State University and a master's degree from Kent State University (Ohio). While the Polar Archives holds hundreds of collections, the cornerstone of the repository is the Papers of Admiral Richard E. Byrd. Laura's primary responsibilities include assisting the many researchers and scholars who use the collections, as well as donor relations, exhibitions, and other education and outreach activities.



Anne Melgård

Anne is a Research Librarian/Curator at the Section for Private archives, National Library of Norway in Oslo. She is an Ethnologist & cultural historian and was awarded a Master's of Art from the University of Oslo in 2000. Since 2001 she has been a permanent employee at the National Library of Norway, where for the last 10 years she have been responsible for archives connected to polar history.


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.


Aidan Dooley

From Galway, Aidan trained at Guildford School of Acting London and works as a freelance Actor, Writer and Director in London. Highlights include ‘Philadelphia Here I Come’ – Wyndhams Theatre London. ‘Elegies for Angels’ – Criterion Theatre London. ‘DA’ – White Bear Theatre London. ‘Players and Painted Stage’, ‘Last Apache Reunion’ – SOS Theatre Bristol. National Tours of ‘Tales of the Lost Formicans’, ‘Julius Ceasar’ and ‘Romeo and Juliet’ – Bristol Old Vic Theatre Company. He worked for many years developing various performance pieces and historical characters for all the National Museums in England including the National Maritime Museum Greenwich where the idea of a story on Tom Crean originated. He has won the prestigious Fringe First at Edinburgh and the Best Solo Performance award winner at the New York International Fringe Festival.