1916/2016 A miscellany
A diary for March 25th, 1916, and March 25th, 2016
Sabina Higgins will attend a short wreath-laying ceremony at Constance Markievicz’s grave tomorrow. Photograph: Alan Betson
March 25th, 1916 The fate of Irishman Ernest Shackleton’s expedition to the Antarctic was a cause for serious concern in March 1916.
Shackleton went to the Antarctic in 1914 with a view to crossing the continent via the South Pole, but disaster occurred early in 1915 when his ship Endurance became trapped in the ice leaving the whole party stranded.
On March 25th, 1916, The Irish Times reported that Shackleton’s supply ship, the Aurora, had gone adrift in the Antarctic Ocean having broken away from her moorings at the Ross Sea base while a party of 10 were on shore.
“If Sir Ernest Shackleton has crossed the Continent there is no ship to meet him, and the party must remain at Ross Sea another year,” the paper reported.
“It is not clear, however, whether he has returned with the Endurance or gone through the Ross Sea.”
Shackleton and his men would eventually make an amazing and celebrated escape. On Easter Monday, 1916, as his fellow countrymen staged a rebellion in Dublin, Shackleton launched the James Caird, a lifeboat that took them to Elephant Island. From there they went back and rescued the men who had been stranded on the ice for two years. Not a life was lost.
The Irish Times reported that Gen Sir Archibald Murray had been appointed to command the forces in Egypt. The man he was sent to replace was a Gen Sir John Maxwell, who the paper noted was returning to England.
The wreath laying is being arranged by the Countess Markievicz school which was set up by graduates of equality studies in UCD. The ceremony takes place at 10.30am.
A collection of Markievicz’s poems and drawings, done while imprisoned, has been released. Journal 1916 - Countess Markievicz, which is published by Willow, features poems and drawings made by Markievicz while she was in various jails, and plans for a Rising based on the rebellion of Robert Emmet. One of her poems addressed to James Connolly describes him as her “hero-love”.