Posted: 6th March 2016

Penguins in the Library

It was appropriate that snow fell on the morning following Jonathan Shackleton’s presentation on his cousin Ernest Shackleton and the Antarctic in the James Joyce Library last week. An audience of parents, students and staff had been captivated by the overview of Antarctic exploration, particularly Ernest Shackleton’s involvement and the incredible survival story that resulted from his voyage to the Antarctic on his ship Endurance…

A delightful evening was spent in the company of Jonathan Shackleton who regaled us with his adventures and those of his cousin Ernest Shackleton in Antarctica. He gave a brief history into the origins of ‘Penguin’ books and then took us on a magical journey into the unknown world (for many of us) that is Antarctica, through his story telling and photographic images. There can be no doubt in the minds of those gathered that the lure of the Antarctic exists. It is simply magnetic. That it is a cruel and harsh but wholly beautiful environment that needs to be preserved for the following generations was the message of Jonathan’s talk.

The Parents’ Book Club would like to offer a special word of thanks to Roisin O’Connell Hussey for coming up with the idea of inviting Jonathan to speak in the school as part of World Book Day 2016. The talk was open to all and was well attended by the boys, school staff and parents. The weather outside certainly had an arctic feel but thankfully the audiovisual room was warm and cosy. It was also wonderfully decorated by school librarian Jane O’Loughlin with an Antarctic theme, which was most atmospheric. After the talk Ann Cooke was on hand to provide the intrepid audience with rations, which were most graciously received by all.

Aiffric Roisin and Mary (Parents’ Book Club)

School Librarian, Jane O’Loughlin adds:

How appropriate that snow fell on the morning following Jonathan Shackleton’s presentation on Ernest Shackleton and the Antarctica in the James Joyce Library last week. An audience of parents, students and staff had been captivated by the overview of Antarctic exploration, particularly Ernest Shackleton’s involvement and the incredible survival story that resulted from his voyage to the Antarctic on his ship Endurance.

The lure of the Antarctic still holds strong in the Shackleton family. Jonathan, a cousin of Ernest, and the family historian has visited on 37 occasions. An Antarctic specialist, he certainly whetted our appetites for a trip to this continent. Despite its inhospitable environment, being the highest, driest, windiest, coldest continent on earth it has a wealth of wild life and beautiful glacial scenery.

Thanks to the Parents Book Club for their support with this initiative, especially Roisin O’Connell-Hussey, who suggested Jonathan as an author with appeal for the senior students. Jonathan’s book Shackleton: an Irishman in Antarctica, written with the help of John MacKenna is available in the library. It is one of many books on exploration in our collection.

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