An Unsung Hero
This is the inspiring biography of Kerryman Tom Crean who hailed from Annascaul on the Dingle Way. It chronicles his involvement with three major expeditions to the Antarctic in the early Twentieth Century under Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott.
The story begins in 1893 when the fiercely independent 15 year old, Tom Crean, lies about his age in order to be accepted into the Royal Navy. Just two miles from Annascaul, he boards the ship from off Minard Beach. It is this adventurous spirit and determination that eventually earns Crean a place on three separate Antarctic expeditions. He serves under Scott on the Discovery and Terra Nova Expeditions, and also serves under and Shackleton on the Endurance Expedition.
It is on the ill-fated Endurance Expedition that Crean plays a pivotal role in one of the greatest heroic tales from that golden age of Antarctic exploration. After the Endurance is crushed by ice, the entire crew row across the Southern Ocean to Elephant Island. Crean is then chosen to be part of an extremely dangerous rescue mission to raise the alarm at a whaling station in South Georgia. All of the crew miraculously survive the Endurance expedition making it one of the Antarctic's greatest legends.
On his return to Ireland he established the 'South Pole Inn' in Annascaul, which still exists today and can be visited when walking the Dingle Way. Crean lived a quiet life here and rarely spoke of his previous life in the Royal Navy. It wasn't until many years after Crean's death in 1939, that this book finally elevated Crean from being an unsung hero to blooming into an internationally recognised icon. Sincere tributes have since been paid to him through a Guinness advert and an award-winning play by Aidan Dooley simply called 'Tom Crean'.