The Irish have left an indelible mark in the most hostile territory on earth, Antarctica. It was the Irish who pioneered a route to the Antarctic and whose adventures 100 years ago gripped the attention of the world. Their contribution is now told in a single volume celebrating their amazing exploits. The earliest voyages to the Antarctic ice are saluted with due consideration given to present-day adventurers who have taken up the torch. Quotations from first-hand accounts, photographs of the intrepid men, relics, medals, and sites enhance the poignant text.
Explorers included are:
- Cork-born Bransfield, Forde and Keohane as well as the only pair of brothers to explore the Antarctic, the McCarthys from Kinsale.
- Banbridge man, Francis Crozier
- Ernest Shackleton from Kildare
- Kerryman Tom Crean.
- Mike Barry from Kerry, the first Irishman to walk to the South Pole
- Clare O'Leary, from Bandon, the first Irishwoman to do so
- Mark Pollock, from Down, was the first blind person to trek to the pole
The great Amundsen wrote Shackleton's name would 'for evermore be engraved with letters of fire in the history of Antarctic exploration'. He might well have been speaking of Ireland.
Chronology of Events
1. Edward Bransfield (1785-1852)
2. Francis Crozier
3. Ernest Shackleton
4. Thomas Crean
5. Patrick Keohane
6. Robert Forde
7. Mortimer & Timothy McCarthy
8. Carrying the Torch
Michael Smith, author of the best-selling An Unsung Hero, is an authority on polar history. He has written seven books, contributes to many publications, tv and radio documentaries and lectures extensively. He began writing books after a career as a journalist on newspapers such as the Guardian, the Observer and Evening Standard.