The observant will note that, rather than an image of these proceedings, I've posted a photograph of O'Brien's Pub -- where, in the view of some, the best conversations of the event take place, and having now enjoyed two nights' worth of them, I would be inclined to agree! Nevertheless, it's a shared, serious, and sober passion that brings together the remarkable crowd for this event, and which at the end of each day enlivens the back-room at O'Brien's. This year has featured a remarkable conjunction of polar personalities, among them Hans Kjell Larsen (grandson of legendary Antarctic skipper C.L. Larsen), Kenn Harper (Give Me My Father's Body: The Life of Minik, the New York Eskimo), Andrew Lambert (Franklin: Tragic Hero of Arctic Exploration), David Wilson (the grand-nephew of Dr. Edward Wilson, who perished with RF Scott's party), Huw Lewis Jones, (Face to Face: Polar Portriats), and Lady Marie Herbert (Winter of the White Seal, Great Polar Adventure). This year, the Shackleton School is hosting scholars and enthusiasts both North and South, and although their regions may be antipodal, their interests are surely not.
There's more to tell than I could possibly cram into a single posting, so I'll not try (and indeed, if I want to have any hopes of enjoying an unhurried breakfast before this morning's first lecture, I'd best finish now!). I'll post accounts of some of the lectures, and give the best report I can of the related proceedings, over the next day or two. For now I'll just say this: should you ever have the opportunity, the Shackleton School in Athy is an event not to be missed; there is no more convivial community of scholars, explorers, and polar enthusiasts to be found in any other corner of the world.