Lives in Mullagh, County Cavan, Ireland. Cousin of the Irish Kildare born Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. He is the family historian for the Irish Shackletons, whose ancestor founded a Quaker school in Ballitore, County Kildare in 1726. He is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin in Natural Sciences and was awarded his Masters Degree from Ohio State University for work in Arctic Alaska.
As a lecturer and guide, Jonathan has accompanied 37 groups on voyages to the Antarctic in the past 15 years as historian, guide, photographer and Zodiac driver. Highlights of his visits have been landing on the godforsaken Elephant Island at Point Wild, visiting Ernest Shackleton’s grave on South Georgia, travelling to the Ross Sea, landing at Cape Adare, visiting two of the largest Emperor penguin colonies in the world, and a member of the first group to visit the Emperor penguin colony at Snow Hill in the Weddell Sea. Many of these visits have been made whilst working with Quark expeditions. He continues to visit the Antarctica regularily.
- He has been involved in many Shackleton and Antarctic activities including films, TV documentaries, television and radio interviews, exhibitions and has given many talks in Antarctica, Canada, England, Ireland, Isle of Man, Tasmania and the United States.
- He acted as Consultant to Sir Ranulph Fiennes for his recent biography “Captain Scott”.
- He led a group of Irish students to the Antarctic in 2001 with the Canadian based Students On Ice group. This was the first group of students from Ireland or Europe to visit Antarctica.
- Jonathan owns one of the sledges that Ernest Shackleton took on his “Nimrod” furthest South expedition in 1907-1909.
- Jonathan is author of a book with John MacKenna “Shackleton – An Irishman in Antarctica” about Ernest Shackleton with emphasis on the Shackleton family and the explorer’s Irish background. (2003) Lilliput Press and Wisconsin U.P.
- He is also a contributor to “The Crossing of Antarctica” by George Lowe and Huw Lewis-Jones (2014)
- He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, London.
- Recently elected member of BAS (British Antarctic Survey) Club.
- Regularly attends and contributes to the annual Shackleton Autumn School in Athy, Co. Kildare in October.
- Member of the James Caird Society. Commemorates life of Ernest Shackleton.