Unique bronze statue of Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton by Mark Richards
One hundred years after the rescue of Ernest Shackleton’s crew from a desolate Antarctic island, a new statue of the famous explorer has been unveiled in Athy, Co Kildare, Ireland, a few miles from his birthplace.
The statue to Shackleton was unveiled in Athy, Co Kildare. The rescue of Shackleton’s 22 men from Elephant Island in August 1916, was the final act in the epic story of the expedition which began in August 1914 with an objective to cross the polar continent sea to sea. Entering the Weddell Sea in early 1915, the ship and its 28 crew, were quickly frozen into the floating ice and over the winter months the elements slowly overwhelmed the ship. Shackleton’s leadership of his men in extreme circumstances, became a beacon for leadership against the odds.
The renowned polar explorer, who led three British expeditions to the Antarctic, was born in 1874 in the townland of Kilkea, a few miles outside the town of Athy in Co Kildare. The family lived in Ireland until he was ten before moving to London, but Shackleton declared his nationality as Irish. Kildare County Council commissioned the statue of him by sculptor Mark Richards, which now stands outside Athy Heritage Museum. The 1.5 times life-size bronze is mounted on a limestone plinth, representing the indigenous mineral of Kildare and the central role of ice in Shackleton’s Antarctic exploits. The Athy Heritage Museum is home to many Shackleton projects, including the world famous Shackleton Autumn School which runs from
28-31 October 2016.