Ernest Shackleton

Sir Ernest Shackleton, the great polar explorer, was born at Kilkea House, near Athy, County Kildare in 1874. Coming from an Anglo-Irish background with a strong Quaker heritage he is renowned for his courage, extraordinary leadership skills and his contribution to geographical discovery during the era of Antarctic exploration in the early years of the 20th Century.

Ernest Shackleton joined Captain Scott’s Discovery expedition 1901 – 1904 and went on to lead three of his own expeditions to the Antarctic. The Endurance 1914 – 1916 expedition has become one of the greatest epics of human survival. While Shackleton did not achieve his ambition to cross the Antarctic he has become famous for his triumphs of honesty and humanitarianism. He died in 1922 in South Georgia, on his fourth expedition to the Antarctic in the ship named Quest.

Athy Heritage Centre-Museum has the only permanent exhibition anywhere devoted to Shackleton. Highlights include an original sledge and harness from his Antarctic expeditions, a 15-foot model of Shackleton’s ship Endurance, an exhibition of unique Shackleton family photographs and an audio visual display featuring Frank Hurley’s original film footage of the Endurance expedition. The Shackleton Autumn School was established to commemorate the explorer in the county of his birth. It provides a forum for the discussion of polar exploration and the presentation of artistic work relevant to Shackleton and polar exploration.

Ernest Shackleton Autumn School

Find out more about the Ernest Shackleton Autumn School. More

Shackleton News

Selfies With Shackleton

Students from Ardscoil na Trionoide with their tour guide Jack in front of the Shackleton statue.

Record Student Visitors !!!!!

Over A Thousand Students Have Visited The Exploring Shackleton Exhibition. Be Sure To Get Your School Booked In Before The Exhibit Leaves On The 1st March 2019.

Churchtown N.S visiting the Exploring Shackleton Exhibition with their model of the museum on the 4th of Feb

Church NS on their second visit on the 5th of Feb
Churchtown NS leaving their tour

Exploring Shackleton Exhibition Drawing In The Visitors

Our Exploring Shackleton Exhibition, running until March 1st 2019 is a major attraction to schools, tour groups and individuals. Be sure to visit before this amazing exhibition returns to Norway.

BBC 20th Century Icon Explorer Winner Ernest Shackleton

BBC 20th Century Icon Explorer Winner Ernest Shackleton

The BBC ICONS competition asked you  to assess the achievements of the 20th century’s most important and influential figures – men and women who helped shape our world today.

Ernest Shackleton was awarded the prize of Explorers Icon. Explorers described by BBC ‘ pushed the boundaries of what was possible on… and off planet earth’. BBC goes on to describe what they define as an explorer. BBC describes that in an ‘age of smartphones and Sat Navs the idea that parts of the world could go uncharted seems mind-blowing.’ That yet, during the 20th century we were still on a mission to explore, map and learn all we could about our world and explorers such as Ernest Shackleton inspired the quest for more knowledge by pushing boundary and  charting expanses of land and ice – exploration in the last century didn’t just push at the hardest physical frontiers. The 2oth Century helped introduce scientific, cultural and environmental revelations that changed humanity’s understanding of the planet it calls home. Fellow explorers in this categorise shared this passion  for discovery, a massive capacity for endurance and an awe-inspiring sense of curiosity, these four icons of exploration were much more than flag-planting swashbucklers, they helped us realise how much of our planet truly had left to be explored.

Ernest Shackleton 

Lived: 1874-1922Born: Kilkea, Ireland

Known for: Polar explorer and pioneer. Led the famous ‘Endurance’ expedition. Shackleton had a reputation as an
adventurer and man to get you out of jam, Ernest Shackleton escaped after being stranded in Antarctica

“By Endurance we Conquer”


Exploring Shackleton Exhibition


Exploring Shackleton Exhibition

Running until March 1st 2019

This amazing two floor picturesque exhibition celebrates the 2014-2017, Centenary of Ernest H. Shackleton’s Imperial Tran-Antarctic Expedition. The anniversary will be celebrated through a number of new expeditions, exhibition’s, publications and documentaries. The exhibition is on loan to the Athy Heritage Centre, Shackleton museum in Athy from the world famous Fram Museum in Oslo, Norway, will use the centenary to present a broader story of Shackleton, the much-admired Antarctic explorer, in a special exhibition at the museum and in this accompanying book.

In the exhibition you can read about all of Shackleton’s Antarctic expeditions, in addition to his personal life; his voyage on Discovery with Robert F. Scott and Edward Wilson, the successful Nimrod Expedition, the Endurance Expedition and his often-forgotten Ross Sea Party and finally his death during his 1922 voyage on the Quest. The story of Shackleton’s life is fully illustrated with more than three hundred photos and maps from many of the Shackleton archives around the world.