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Refurbishment Works Commence at Shackleton Museum Athy

Kildare County Council hosted Minister of State, Martin Heydon in the presence of the Cathaoirleach of the County of Kildare, Councillor Daragh Fitzpatrick to mark the commencement of refurbishment works at the Shackleton Museum, Athy.

One of the 20th century’s greatest explorers Sir Ernest Shackleton was born a short distance from Athy. To celebrate his life and achievements, an ambitious vision to develop the Shackleton Museum will see one of the world’s great polar museums, a national and international reference point for the Heroic Age of Polar Exploration, a hub for research and a must-see for polar enthusiasts, cultural tourists, international and domestic visitors alike, built in Athy. 

The Museum will provide visitors with a unique insight into human spirit, the great unknown and the challenge of escape and endurance through the experiences of the world’s greatest polar explorer. Additionally, the refurbished space will offer a research space for interested visitors to steep themselves more deeply in the history of the Shackleton explorations and stories and provide opportunities to understand climate change and how the great polar regions play their part in the world’s greatest current day challenge.

The project secured Rural & Regeneration Development Funding of €5,207,500 from the Department of Rural & Community Development with match funding of €1,500,000 provided by Kildare County Council. The work programme is expected to be completed in March 2025.

Speaking on site to mark the commencement of the refurbishment works, Martin Heydon, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine said, “I am delighted to tour Athy’s Shackleton Museum site today to mark the start of construction works for the refurbished museum. The vision for the completed museum is impressive and will put Athy on the map on a world stage. I would like to complement the work of many people down through the years to get us to this point. I look forward to the completion of one of the world’s great polar museums and seeing the positive impact it can have on Athy as a tourist destination.”

Welcoming the commencement of works on side; Cathaoirleach of the County of Kildare, Cllr Daragh Fitzpatrick said, “the Shackleton Muesum project is a great example of co-operation between National and Local Government, and one of many underway to develop the public realm in Athy. Ernest Shackleton was a Kildare man, and a museum dedicated to him, his crew and his endeavours is only fitting. We are delighted to see works commencing on site, and very much look forward to seeing it to completion in early 2025.”

Vera Louise Behan, Cathaoirleach of the Athy MD added, “this marks another important milestone for Athy.  The development of the new Shackleton Museum is a significant regeneration project for the area, and one that we hope will benefit the area for many years to come. Born a short distance from Athy, Ernest Shackleton was a true explorer and his explorations in the 20th Century, provide great insight an understanding into Climate Change and the challenges we face today. We hope the museum, will not only be a fitting tribute, but a modern and innovative space.”

Annette Aspell, Deputy Chief Executive, Kildare County Council said, “we are delighted to see the construction team on site and for the concept and design for this inspirational development become a reality. The unique museum is a fitting tribute to one of the 20th Century’s Greatest Explorers, and one we hope will attract visitors from near and far for years to come. We look forward to working closely with the expert construction team to complete the project by early 2025.”

Source: Kildare County Council

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