Excerpts from past trip reports relating to the annual gathering at Athy.
Tends to be repetitive but you'll get the flavor of the event.
Accessed at least times since 31 October 2010.
I was put up at the Carlton Abbey Hotel, a brand new, very nice hotel in what not long ago was a convent for the adjoining church (which is still very much in business). My room was large and comfortable; the bathroom, better and bigger than mine. The former chapel is now the bar and restaurant. One glitch: They misspelled 'Shackleton' on the directory.
Saturday 28 October 2006. After a 'full Irish breakfast' with Zaz, Margot and Bob Headland, went off to the Athy Heritage Centre, less than a ten minute stroll away, for the start of the day's program. Out front of the Centre was the "camp" of the Antarctic Adventurers, Mick Parker and John Reid, enthusiastic heroic age Antarctic reenactors. They would be there for the entire weekend.
First up was Seamus McCann who gave an excellent talk on his seal research in South Georgia. Next was Joe O'Farrell on the Ross Sea Party; again, an excellent presentation.
After lunch–the presenters repaired to the Castle Hotel–
Margot Morrell spoke on 'the making of a bestseller,' based on her experience researching and writing her book 'Shackleton's Way.'
The last talk of the day was by Jarlath Cunnane recounting his voyage through both the Northwest and Northeast Passages in a not-very-large aluminum sailboat.
That evening we repaired to the Clanard Court Hotel on the outskirts of Athy, another brand new hotel of a design I would not have expected to see in Ireland (Las Vegas perhaps). We had a good meal and a bit of entertainment including Bob Headland with his always amusing recount of "silly questions asked by Antarctic tourists." Cliff Wedgbury sang a few songs and even got the audience involved.
And here I am with Joe O 'Farrell.
With the Banquet behind us we realized that the night was still young so once back in Athy some of us headed to O'Briens where we settled into the back room. Irish pubs like O'Briens–a shop or service in the front (in this case, a grocery) and a bar in back–are apparently disappearing fast. Too bad, there's a lot of charm here and no pretense. I gather that Frank O'Brien is an institution in Athy and very supportive of all things Shackleton. Over the windows (hard to make out here) the lettering reads "Sweet Athy forever." Here's Frank with Zaz Shackleton; also Seamus McCann in conversation with Bob Burton.
Well, we closed up O'Briens but still weren't ready to call it a night, so off to the Carlton Abbey Hotel for a nightcap. Here Joe O'Farrell is making a point and Zaz seems particularly animated much to my pleasure.