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South Pole Inn

In 1929, Tom Crean built upon the foundations of the existing licensed premises he’d operated since receiving his license to sell wines, beers, cider and spirits in 1917. It became the South Pole Inn, a two-storey building which today welcomes visitors from all over the world to the former home of Tom Crean. The old building had suffered from flooding from the nearby river and this necessitated a refurbishment.

Naming it: ‘South Pole Inn’ was an open statement of his past endeavours and it was also, perhaps, a tribute to his lost friend Edgar Evans who himself held an ambition to return to Wales and run a public house similarly named.

Earlier, in 1926, Crean had put his premises on the market for auction but apparently had a change of heart and remained. After Tom Crean died in 1938, the licence was transferred to his wife Nell who ran the South Pole Inn until selling the premises in 1948.

South Pole Inn Tom Crean BookIt has changed ownership a number of times since and today the South Pole Inn is managed by the Percival family.

The interior of this lively bar is adorned with images of Tom Crean and his expeditions and opposite the building today lies the Tom Crean memorial Garden which includes a bronze statue of Tom Crean holding the puppies. It remains the only tribute to him across Ireland and was privately funded.

When Tom was the licensee it was left in the main to his wife Nell to serve customers. Nell had grown up in another Annascaul premises, Dan Foley’s Bar, renowned as being present and among the most widely used public houses that have, over the years, featured on postcards that best portray Ireland.

South Pole Inn Tom Crean BookThe image to the right here was probably taken in the early to mid 1930’s and shows Tom Crean, (second from right), sat on the bridge beside his friends and his eldest daughter, Mary, (sat fourth from the right). The family home of Gortacurraun was a mile or so up the back road and a place Tom often visited to catch up with his brother Daniel who lived there until his passing in 1932.

To read Tom Crean’s full story, the book can be purchased at the following link.

Biography of Tom Crean – Crean – The Extraordinary Life of an Irish Hero