And the back story takes us to the life of an extraordinary man.
Tom Crean is a hero. He's the personification of courage. Like his pub, Crean is unique in history.
Tom Crean was an explorer, a survivor of 3 expeditions to the Antarctic, and repeatedly a hero, saving lives on the Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott expeditions.
A mountain is named for him. A glacier is also named Crean.
His life is a major part of the television series The Last Place On Earth, starring Max von Sydow, Hugh Grant, and the Irish actor Daragh O'Malley, who played Crean.
He's featured in history books, and is the subject of a one man play. And his life is revered in his pub The South Pole that features photos and artifacts.
A glance at the top of the last two frames reveals a ceiling timeline that puts the dates in the Crean life story.
When he retired from Antarctic expeditions and the Navy he locked his medals away and there is no record he ever gave an interview about his heroism or role in history.
The photos came out and the memorial quality of the South Pole Inn came when his daughter took it over.
Crean was a modest hero.
He spent 492 days on a boat in iced in waters. He rowed 800 miles across icy seas.
Eventually Tom Crean retired to his Irish village of Annascaul.
He raised a family and he and his wife ran their public house.
Crean was the kind of man that is missing in this world today. Or there are too few and they don't get the attention given show boating stars or narcissistic politicians .
Having a pint and meal in his place, absorbing the vibe, with people from his village, those who know the family, is
an Irish Pub experience that moves you with a profound respect.
When you walk into this pub, you walk into history.
And out back, in contrast to the scenes of ice and harrowing life in the Antarctic, is an Irish scene lovely, peaceful and serene. As I contemplated the tale of Tom Crean and mounted my admiration for a real man, I wondered if the quiet trickle of the stream and the rich green of County Kerry entered Crean's mind during those live or die moments in the ice and snow at the bottom of the world. At least they drew him home.
Tom Crean is a man I'd have liked to have had a drink with.
See you down the trail.