The 1st Annual Ernest Shackleton Autumn School

Friday 26th October

Ernest Shackleton Autumn School Official Opening by Jonathan Shackleton


7.30pm, Town Hall Gallery, Athy.
Followed by illustrated talk by Catherine Marshall, Senior Curator, Irish Museum of Modern Art – Art and Exploration with reference to John Bellany and Sidney Nolan exhibition on loan from the Irish Museum of Modern Art.
Admission Free


Saturday 27th October 2001

Morning Lecture Series – Town Hall, Athy


10.30am “The Shackleton’s Quaker Legacy in South Kildare”
Lecture by John MacKenna, RTE Producer and Writer.
Admission £4/£2.50 conc.

11.30am “Ernest Shackleton – Early days, from Ireland to Antartica”
Lecture by Jonathan Shackleton, Cousin of Ernest Shackleton.
Admission £4/£2.50 conc.

12.15pm “Shackleton’s Sledge Harness and the story of its wartime arrival in Co. Kildare.”
Lecture by Dr. Robert K. Headland, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge.
Admission £4/£2.50 conc.


Afternoon Lecture Series


2.30pm “The heroic Age of Exploration – Sir Ernest Shackleton’s expeditions to the Antartic.”
Lecture by Kevin Kenny, Local Historian, Naas.
Admission £4/£2.50 conc.

3.30pm “The South Arís Expedition 1997 – a re-enactment of The James Caird Voyage from Elephant Island to South Georgia.”
Lecture by Frank Nugent, Explorer.
Admission £4/£2.50 conc.


Sunday 28th October 2001

Morning Field Trip – Assemble outide Athy Heritage Centre-Museum

10.30am Field Trip to Shackleton sites in South Kildare
Admission £3/£2.50 conc.


Afternoon Lecture Series

2.30pm “An unsung Hero, Tom Crean, Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Lieutenant”
Lecture by Michael Smith, Biographer.
Admission £4/£2.50 conc.


3.30pm Final Discussion
Chair Frank Taaffe, Chairman, Athy Heritage Company.
Admission £4/£2.50 conc.


Arts Events – Friday 26th October 2001


Musical Events

10.00pm, O’Briens Pub, Emily Square, Athy
Old Songs of Kilkea with Micheál O’Dubhshláine and Brian Hughes
Admission Free.
Local man, traditional musician, Brian Hughes solo album Whistle Stop was released to critical acclaim in 1997 with Gael Linn Records. Social Historian and teacher Micheál O’Dubhshláine was born in Kilkea. He has completed research on the local singing tradition in Kilkea over the last 200 years.


Arts Events – Saturday 27th October 2001

Musical Events


9.00pm, Dominican Church, Athy
Concert by Liam O’Flynn and the Pipers Call Band
Admission £10 – Pre-sale tickets – Athy Heritage Centre.
Internationally renowned uilleann piper, Liam O’Flynn, a native of County Kildare, now lives in the Athy area. In this concert, Liam joins Arty McGlynn, Frank Gallagher, and Liam Bradley in a celebration of Ernest Shackleton and the heritage of South Kildare. The musical highlight of the weekend, it is set to be a rare treat for Kildare people and Shackleton enthusiasts alike.
“… when Liam O’Flynn plays the uilleann pipes he creates a forcefield which surrounds his listeners and seems to envelop them in something almost mesmeric…”
John Kelly, Irish Times



10.00am – 5.00pm Art Exhibition Town Hall Gallery, Athy
The Old Man and the Sea
Prints and Etchings by Scottish Artist, John Bellany and a Portrait from Australian artist, Sidney Nolan’s Wild Geese Series on loan from the Irish Museum of Modern Art, National Programme specially selected for the Shackleton School.
Admission Free except during Shackleton weekend lecture hours


Photographic Exhibition Town Hall Gallery, Athy

10.00am – 5.00pm Shadows from the Pale – Portrait of An Irish Town
Selected photographs of Athy by John Minihan
John Minihan’s work has been exhibited in galleries throughout the world. He is well known for his photographic portraits of Irish writers, notably Samuel Beckett.
Admission Free


Shackleton Exhibition

10.00am – 5.00pm Athy Heritage Centre
Artefacts, Photographs, Audio-visual
View also on video Shackleton & Scott, by CTL Films for TG4, directed by John Murray. (English Sub-Titles).
Admission £2/£1.50 conc.
Children’s Events


Children’s Exhibition St. Michael’s Parochial Hall 10.00am – 5.00pm (Sat. & Sun.)
Exploration – An Exhibition of Children’s Art and Poetry

Admission Free

Children’s Art Workshop


St. Michael’s Parochial Hall Sat 27th – 2.30pm.
The Old Man and the Sea

Facilitated by Johanne Mullan, Irish Museum of Modern Art
Admission Free – Book in advance


Information on Contributors

Catherine Marshall

Catherine Marshall is an art historian and curator. Currently Head of Collections at the Irish Museum of Modern Art and formerly lecturer in the History of Art in Trinity College, Dublin, UCD, and NCAD, she is the author of various publications on Irish art, art history and criticism.


John MacKenna
Writer and broadcaster, John MacKenna was born in 1952 in Castledermot and now lives in Athy, Co. Kildare. He has won a number of awards including a Hennessy Literary Award and the Irish Times Fiction Award. He has edited the Annals of Ballitore written by the Quaker writer, Mary Leadbeater, Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Great Aunt.
Jonathan Shackleton
Jonathan Shackleton, Ernest’s Irish born cousin has published a genealogy of the Irish branch of the Shackleton Family and is presently writing a family history with a particular focus on the explorer. He has lectured about Shackleton across the world. In December 2001 Jonathan will lead a group of Irish students and teachers to the Antartic.


Kevin Kenny
A long time collecter of Shackleton ephemera, Kevin Kenny of Naas has completed research at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge and Dundee, New Zealand to piece together the story of the arrival of Shackleton’s Sledge Harness in County Kildare during the War of Independence. A local historian, he has contributed to the Journal of the Kildare Archaeological Society.

Dr. Robert Headland
Dr. Headland is the archivist and curator at the Scott Polar Research Institute, of the University of Cambridge. His specialities are the history and geography of both Polar regions. His research has involved stays of two winters on South Georgia and voyages to the region over about 20 years. His involvement with the Antartic Heritage Trust has concerned the preservation of the historical huts and other sites associated with exploration and discovery in the Antartic. He is a fellow of the Royal Geographic Society.


Frank Nugent
Frank Nugent is one of Ireland’s best known expedition climbers. He has been involved in four Himalayan expeditions, including the first Irish Ascent of Mount Everest in 1993. In 1997 on the South Arís Expedition, he retraced the steps of Shackleton’s voyage from Elephant Island to South Georgia, leading the traverse of South Georgia. He has just completed the first ever crossing of the North West Passage in the boat Northabout.


Michael Smith
Michael Smith is the author of the best-selling book, An Unsung Hero – Tom Crean Antartic Survivor. Previously he was a business and political journalist with the Guardian and The Observer. Tom Crean, the subject of Michael’s book, was born in Annascaul, County Kerry and served both Scott and Shackleton in the Antartic.

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