Explorer’s Way launched in south Kildare

Quakers: Joanne Fennell, Paige Peyton, Jonathan Shackleton(cousin of explorer Ernest Shackleton and Antarctic specialist) and Elizabeth Wilson. Photo:Michael Donnelly.
Kildare Fáilte has officially launched the South Kildare Heritage Trail.

Kildare Fáilte has officially launched the South Kildare Heritage Trail.

At Burtown House on 21 August, the aura of both the house’s founding Quakers and the explorer, Ernest Shackleton stood out as what will be called the Explorer’s Way got a send off.

Just weeks after Arthur’s Way in the north was blessed by Gay Byrne and Yvonne Keating, the southern trail left its moorings with good wishes from Heather Humphreys, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, writer and historian, Turtle Bunbury (with a funny potted history of the Quakers who did not “do hierarchy”) and Jonathan Shackleton, cousin of explorer Ernest Shackleton, Antarctic specialist and author, with John McKenna, of Shackleton: An Irishman in Antarctica.

The Explorer`s Way is a heritage trail across south Kildare that links a host of hidden gems, including an early Georgian Villa and gardens, a Quaker Village, an Ernest Shackleton showcase and so much more. The trail starts at the Clannard Court hotel, includes Burtown House, Crookstown, Ballitore and Athy.

Jonathan Shackleton will soon be off on his 36th trip to Anarcticta, which will include a visit to Ernests burial place at South Georgia.

“I will be travelling with Falcon Scott, the only grandson of Captain Scott,” he said.

Before the speeches began, a statue by Kilkea based sculptor, Catherine Greene, was unveiled in the garden of Burtown.

A bronze on a limestone, she said it representeed the idea of making new worlds, travelling to places where you put your flag down.

The sculptor, who has a piece in Merrion Square to celebrate the actor, Dermot Morgan (of Fr Ted fame), also had done a sculpture at UCD Sutherland school of law.

Minister Humphreys said the Explorer’s Way heritage trail in South Kildare is an excellent example for other counties to emulate.

Kevin Kenny, Athy Heritage Centre, said they hope to bring a cabin associated with Shackleton, from Norway to the centre in the near future.