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Ballinacurra is one of Cork Harbour’s renowned locations, though less accessible these days than sailors would wish. The famous schooner, Brooklands, Jacko Creenan and Creenans pub, all from and in Ballinacurra are etched in the history of the harbour. But another name from that village is, surprisingly, not well-known, despite his achievement in finding Antarctica. Edward Bransfield from Ballinacurra was press-ganged from his father’s fishing boat by the British Navy where he went on to become the Master of the 25-metre sailing ship, the Wiliams and, it is claimed, the first man to sight the Antarctic Continent. Monday, January 30, is the anniversary of the day in1820 when he sighted Antarctica. A group has been formed to build a memorial to commemorate his achievement. The story is told in RCYC member Tom MacSweeney’s maritime radio programme, THIS ISLAND NATION, by Jim Wilson, from Cobh who is working in Antarctica at present as a guide. You can hear the interview on this link on MIXCLOUD: or, alternatively, on the AFLOAT website.

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