WHY WE ARE DOING IT

Growing up as a young girl in Tralee our grandmother Nell, Tom Crean’s wife lived with us until her death in 1968, nearly 20 years. Sadly Nell was reticent to regale us kids with stories of derring-do and the exploits of her husband Tom Crean. The same reticence to talk of his life surrounded Tom on his return to Annascaul, the political landscape would not have endeared Tom to many as a retired British Navy Boatswain and decorated hero. It was only later thanks to Michael Smith that the threads of an extraordinary tale was brought together in his magnificent book An Unsung Hero. Now in the centenary year of his historic crossing of South Georgia with Shackleton and Worsley, can we as a family attempt to understand what Tom had encountered and experienced, and so honour his memory by our re- creation of one small part of his history. The opportunity to walk in the footsteps of my grandfather Tom Crean with my two sons across South Georgia a hundred years on, to look at a landscape and wonder in awe at the momentous adventure that had brought Tom to this remote island; to retrace his footsteps as mere bit players in the realm of giants of Antarctic Exploration. His inspiration to us as a family is immeasurable, the value of his inspiration to a new generation of Irish children via the primary curriculum is incalculable; a heroic yet modest figure from history teaching us about fortitude, inner strength and kindness but with a gentle hand and a smile.