Killarney, Ring of Kerry #Ireland #goaheadtours

22 November 2014
Ring of Kerry, some of the most dramatic scenery in all of Ireland.

We checked out of the hotel and headed into Killarney. Most of the group had arranged for horse-drawn cart rides around the Killarney National Park, Jay and I wanted to explore the town a little more so we went our separate ways.

After a couple of hours they group gathered for our trip to the Ring of Kerry.

On the way Cathal told us about some famous folks from County Kerry, one was Tom Crean, nicknamed the "Irish Giant" (25 Feb 1877 - 27 July 1938) was an Irish seaman and Antarctic explorer. He was a member of three of the four major British expeditions to Antarctica during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, including Robert Falcon Scott's 1911–13 Terra Nova Expedition, which saw the race to reach the South Pole lost to Roald Amundsen and ended in the deaths of Scott and his polar party. During this expedition Crean's 35 statute miles (56 km) solo walk across the Ross Ice Shelf to save the life of Edward Evans led to him receiving the Albert Medal.

Crean had left the family farm near Annascaul to enlist in the British Royal Navy at the age of 15. In 1901, while serving on HMS Ringarooma in New Zealand, he volunteered to join Scott's 1901–04 British National Antarctic Expedition on Discovery, thus beginning his exploring career. After his return with the Terra Nova, Crean's third and final Antarctic venture was the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition on Endurance led by Ernest Shackleton, in which he served as second officer. After Endurance became trapped ice and sank, he was a participant in a dramatic series of events including months spent drifting on the ice, a journey in lifeboats to Elephant Island, and an open boat journey of 800 nautical miles (1,500 km) from Elephant Island to South Georgia. Upon reaching South Georgia, Crean was one of the party of three which undertook the first land crossing of the island, without maps or proper mountaineering equipment, to get aid.

Crean's contributions to these expeditions sealed his reputation as a tough and dependable polar traveller, and earned him a total of three Polar medals. After the Endurance expedition he returned to the Navy, and when his naval career ended in 1920 he moved back to County Kerry. In his home town of Annascaul, Crean and his wife Ellen opened a public house called the "South Pole Inn". He lived there quietly and unobtrusively until his death in 1938.

A Vermont connection: Charles Shackleton of Shackleton Thomas in Bridgewater Vermont is cousin to Ernest.
Charlie Shackleton in Zack's Place Production Zackleton Expediaiton

Folks were still chilled from their cart rides so we stopped at the Red Fox Inn for some Irish Coffee.

Then it was back on the road for the beautiful views along the Ring of Kerry.

More images from 

Next up Adare Village, Bunratty Castle, and Galway

Traditions of Ireland
Go Ahead Tours
November 16-26, 2014
Copyright © Nancy Nutile-McMenemy
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