Surprises on the Dingle Way in Southwest Ireland.
The second day on the Dingle Way brought us to the village of Annascaul. No one has heard of the town unless you are a South Pole aficionado. Now we’ve heard of Sir Rober Scott and Earnest Shackleton. But few have heard of Tom Crean.
Crean (1877-1938) ran away from Annascaul when he was 15 years old to join the British Navy.
He was a hero in Scott’s two Antartic Expeditions and Shackleton’s expedition from 1914 to 1916. He saved several lives and was given a medal by King George V. But he was still a noncommissioned sailor.
When he returned from Antarctica, he went right into World War I.
But when he returned home, life had changed drastically in Ireland. The Irish were rebelling from the British and people weren’t that interested in Crean’s heroism. Some may have been down right antagonistic.
I have learned about this situation with World War I soldiers in general. Sad, sad, sad.
So Crean married and opened up a pub, the South Pole Inn. He put his medals away and led a quiet life.
Now he is a hero. There have been several biographies. A small park in Annascaul is dedicated to him. The South Pole Inn is full of pictures, maps and books related to Crean.
But all this fame after he’s gone isn’t helping him.