Kerryman the first Irishman at the Pole

THE first Irishman to set foot on the South Pole is looking forward to a homecoming banquet of brown bread baked by his children.

It's only fitting that a Kerryman has claimed the Pole for Ireland the last Irishman to leave his footprints near the frozen reference point of exploration was Annascaul's Tom Crean who, in 1912, got within 150 miles of the Pole before he was ordered to turn back by his expedition leader Robert Scott.

Adventurer Mike Barry, a 50-year-old father of three from Tralee, spent 50 days pulling a 70lb sled across 700 miles of the frozen wilderness often in blizzard and whiteout conditions and wind-chill temperatures of minus 40 degrees celsius before he reached the conclusion of his epic adventure.

Last night, Mike Barry's wife, Mags, said she had spoken to her husband by telephone and he was in fine form "very relieved, and glad to be at the South Pole. He is also a bit shell-shocked at the moment."

She and her children said they were all very proud that his big adventure had "paid off." The intrepid team arrived at their destination at 7pm local time on Tuesday.

After some initial pictures at the pole marker, camp was set up and the celebrating started.

On January 4 last, with 408 miles behind and 192 ahead, team leader Matty McNair in a satellite phone dispatch reported that Mike was dreaming of homemade brown bread made by his children.

Barry hopes to raise funds from a post-expedition lecture/slide tour for Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin, Dublin.

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