Countries, Cruising, South America

Athy get it and its Shackleton’s Ship

Why is the county of Kildare like the leg of a fellow’s breeches? Because there is a thigh in it? Athy get it and its Shackleton’s Ship.

A welcome distraction from the war in Ukraine the discovery of Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton’s boat is a feat of human excavation.

And all power to British historian Dan Snow and the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust for finding Endurance.

In 10,000ft of icy water near the bottom of the Wendell Sea nearly a century after it sunk without trace.

Kildare classic

Icy grave: Endurance

A long way from Shack’s birthplace of Athy in Co. Kildare in the east of Ireland.

It’s not the only thing that the town (population under 10,000 and 67kms south of Dublin) has in it.

You might know it too from the folk song Lanigan’s Ball.

Lanigan’s Ball

Athy’s the limit: And the joys of Joyce

Young Jeremy comes into money, throws a ball, learns how to dance, and invites high society.

‘Six long months I spent in Dublin, six long months doin’ nothing at all.

‘Six long months I spent in Dublin, learning to dance for Lanigan’s Ball.’

Only for the day to descend into a fight, as can be the wont at an Irish party.

It also drew the attention of James Joyce and his alter ego Stephen Dedalus, threading in the leg of a fella’s breeches joke.

No, seriously it brought the house down back in the day!

Burns’ ballad and big cars

On the road again: Athy racing

And it is also credited with the song, the Curragh of Kildare, the first song said to be curated by Scots bard Robert Burns.

And while the focus now is rightly Antarctic explorative ships, Athy too is the home of British and Irish motor racing.

Early petrolheads, the Automobile Club of Britain and Ireland, sought out Athy to run the Gordon Bennett Cup race.

As road racing was illegal in Britain.

And the origins of racing green began.

Shack’s ship

The mission: Endurance22

But as Shackleton’s Ship comes in so too does fresh interest for Shackophiles in Athy’s Shacketon Museum.

As it houses the only permanent exhibition of all things Shack.

If, of course, the excavation of his ship at the foot of the world has piqued your interest then you’ll want to explore the Antarctic.

And Silversea

Ice one: Silver Cloud

Which of course you can do, and in style, aboard a Silversea cruise ship.

They’re offering a 20-day package on Silver Cloud, departing November 7, door-to-door Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, from £21,000.

And taking in Elephant Island, the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands and Drake’s Passage.

And a cruising tip

The eyes have it: Ernest Shackleton

And I’m happy to share a tip which will help you through the choppy Drake’s Passage passed onto me by the experts who disembarked in Dublin to see us.

Put a bandage behind your ear.

Sounds Irish doesn’t it?

Just like Athy get it and its Shackleton’s Ship.


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