Limerick students told of famed explorer

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Michael Smith with some girls from St Patrick's Girls School at the City Library, where he gave a talk on Tom Crean [Picture: Michael Cowhey]
STUDENTS from a city national school have enjoyed a talk from Michael Smith, who wrote a biography of climber Tom Crean.

STUDENTS from a city national school have enjoyed a talk from Michael Smith, who wrote a biography of climber Tom Crean.

More than 120 pupils from St Patrick’s Girls National School, Dublin Road, gathered at the City Library for a talk about the brave Antarctic explorer.

The school had been involved in a project charting the life of the famous adventurer.

The city library gave the school a loan of Smith’s book ‘An Unsung Hero’ to give them a better idea of how Tom survived in the wild.

Fifth class teacher Clare Farrell said: “We spoke about what it was like to be Tom Crean. We studied his whole life story, and took extracts from his diary, and spoke about what it would be like to have no food and walk for kilometres-on-end.”

The students even sewed and stuffed woolen penguins, which are on display in the City Library.

Other students even produced videos recreating his adventures, and dressed up like the explorer himself.

Tom Crean ran away from home in Kerry at the age of 15, and took part in three expeditions to Antarctica with Captain Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton.

He was among the last to see Scott alive in 1912 and returned to the ice to bury his frozen body. Mr Crean was also a major figure on Shackleton’s famous Endurance expedition, the greatest story of survival in the history of exploration.

But Tom Crean never spoke about his exploits, and took his story to the grave - leaving writers like Michael to chart his extraordinary life.

Before meeting the pupils, Mr Smith also gave a talk for the grown-ups.