Author’s trip to Ireland fulfills dream

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Oamaru author and historian David Harrowfield has fulfilled a life dream by going on a trip to Ireland.

Mr Harrowfield, who is an expert on Antarctica and has visited the continent more than 40 times, embarked on a trip to the Northern Hemisphere in April and visited the South Pole Inn, which Irish Antarctic explorer Tom Crean established after he retired from the Navy in 1920.

The historian said he heard about Mr Crean during his days as a student at Waitaki Boys’ High School and never dreamed he would one day visit the Irish inn, situated in Annascaul, County Kerry.

“It was something I just had to do,” he said.

Mr Crean went on several Antarctic expeditions, including Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated Terra Nova mission, which has special significance to Oamaru, as the world was informed of Scott’s death when the Terra Nova reached Oamaru on February 10, 1913.

Going to the inn meant Mr Harrowfield had, in a way, completed a full circle from Oamaru to Antarctica to Annascaul, he said.

“That was my mission to complete the story from Oamaru,” Mr Harrowfield said.

“I came back to Oamaru a few days ago and it was as if I have completed a journey that I was meant to make.”

Mr Harrowfield brought back a Crean’s pint glass from the inn, now proudly displayed in a cabinet in his “polar room”, which is full of Antarctic memorabilia.

Mr Harrowfield spent two months in Antarctica earlier this year on the ship Spirit of Enderby as a member of staff with Heritage Expeditions.

He said he would most likely be making his last trip to the icy continent in January next year on the same ship.

By RUBY HARFIELD