If you’ve read the tales of the early era of Antarctic exploration, particularly those of Scott and Shackleton, you’ll have seen one Irishman appear repeatedly: Tom Crean.  He’s probably more famous today – certainly in his homeland – than at any time of his life or since his passing,

And for Antarctic aficianados, there’s a point of pilgrimage in County Kerry – Crean’s own pub, the South Pole Inn in tiny Annascaul.

Crean's pub, the South Pole Inn

Even without the history attached, it’s a great example of a rural Irish pub – good drinks, nice food, always conversation available, a roaring fire to cater for the changeable weather.

However, it’s also a mini-museum of Tom Crean’s life and Antarctic exploration.  After Crean finished his exploring, he returned to Annascaul and opened this pub, where he spent his days until he – incongruously given what he survived – died of a burst appendix aged 61.

You’ll reach the South Pole Inn if you’re travelling on the Dingle Peninsula, more famed for its stunning scenery than Antarctic links.  However, if you get caught in some wild rains, or the mist comes down and you can’t view out to see, you could do a lot worse than pull up a stool here, and learn about an extraordinary life and era for an hour… or several.

The South Pole Inn, Co Kerry, Ireland
The South Pole Inn, Co Kerry, Ireland
English: Tom Crean with sleigh dog puppies Rog...
English: Tom Crean with sleigh dog puppies Roger, Nell, Toby and Nelson, taken during the Shackleton Expedition of 1914–1916 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)