Project committee members Diarmuid Begley, Billy Murphy, Leo McMahon, Sean Farrell, Jim Crowley and Michael O’Brien. Pic: Denis Boyle

AS the date nears for the unveiling of a statue of Courtmac’s unsung polar explorer Pat Keohane, fundraising efforts are continuing.

The historic unveiling of a memorial sculpture is due to take place on August 19th at Lislee Court near Courtmacsherry near his birthplace.

A sketch of the proposed sculpture.

Keohane was an Antarctic explorer and a member of the Scott South Pole Expedition in 1910-1913.

Born in 1879 at Barry’s Point, Courtmacsherry he was educated at Butlerstown National School; his father Timothy was a fisherman and coxswain of the RNLI lifeboat.

He enlisted in the Royal Navy at Queenstown and attained the rank of Petty Officer First Class in 1907 and in 1910, was chosen as a member of the team for Captain Scott’s expedition to the South Pole.

He returned to Ireland in 1914 and married Bridget Mary Ivy O’Driscoll but until now his exploits have been less publicised than those of his contemporaries such as Scott, Shakleton and Tom Crean.

He is the last Polar hero of that expedition not to have a monument to his memory in his country of birth.

Patrick Keohane.

Fundraising events currently planned include a barbecue at 5pm on Saturday, July 21st, at the Anchor Bar in Courtmacsherry; local  historian Michael O’Brien will give a lecture on Patrick Keohane and the ill-fated Scott Expedition of 100 years ago in Courtmacsherry Community Centre at 9pm on Saturday, July 28th, there will also be a photographic exhibition that night.

On Sunday, August 12th there will be a historical walk regarding Patrick Keohane from Barry’s Point starting from Butlerstown Community Hall at 2pm and finishing at its grounds with a picnic organised by committee member Micheal Hurley.

The unveiling of the sculpture, currently being undertaken by Don Cronin, Knockroe, Bandon is due to take place on Sunday, August 19th and there will be a lecture in Courtmacsherry Community Centre on Friday, August 17th by Michael Smith, author of Great Endeavour –  Ireland’s Antarctic Explorers which features a chapter about Keohane.

Donations are also most welcome for the project which been  kindly part funded by West Cork Development Partnership, and these can be made to Bank of Ireland, Pearse Street, Clonakilty Account No  87700965 sort code 90 26 10.