Irish explorers

Published in 18th–19th - Century History, 20th-century / Contemporary History, Issue 4 (Winter 1995), News, Volume 3

Tom Crean was born in 1877 in Annascaul, County Kerry. At the age oftwenty he ran away from home and by 1901 he was serving as naval seamanin the New Zealand squadron of the Royal Navy. It was from here that hejoined Scott’s ship Discovery on its way to Antarctica. By 1914 he wasback in Antarctica on an ill-fated expedition that ended with one ofthe most remarakable stories of survival against all the odds.  Aftertheir ship HMS Endurance was wrecked in pack-ice and the party had tooverwinter, Crean, together with Shackleton, another Irish explorer,and three others volunteered to undertake the hazardous journey acrossthe South Atlantic across  some of the wildest seas on earth to gethelp for the men left behind. After his last expedition Tom Creanreturned to Annascaul and for the rest of his days ran a pubappropriately called ‘The South Pole’. He died in 1938 at the age ofsixty-three.
Other noteworthy Irish explorers are Robert O’Hara-Burke, the firstperson to cross the Australian outback, Charles Howard Bury who was onthe first reconnaissance expedition to Everest and Tom H. Parke, thesurgeon who travelled up the Congo in 1887. Interested History Irelandreaders with material on these, and more particularly on lesser-known,Irish adventurers, explorers or pioneers are encouraged to contact KimBartley, tel: (01) 4966816

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