President Mary McAleese and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern have sent their congratulations to the Irish group who successfully reached the South Pole last night.

The four person Beyond Endurance Team was led by Pat Falvey, a 50-year-old Irish adventurer and Everest climber.

Expedition member Dr Clare O'Leary becomes the first Irish woman to complete the journey.

Breda Kavanagh, General Manager at South Tipperary General Hospital, paid tribute to Dr O'Leary who is a specialist at the hospital. She said 'Dr O Leary manages her achievements in a very low key and gentle manner. For this reason she is a very popular member of our staff. We salute her.'

The others on the team were Jonathan Bradshaw and Shaun Menzies.

The squad has been trekking since November through some of the harshest conditions known to man, battling icy winds, constant sub-zero temperatures and biting snowstorms.

The Taoiseach said he had been following the adventure since the set out and that he had 'total admiration' for them on what they had achieved.

'You are demonstrating that the great endurance expeditions that we associate with Ernest Shackleton and Tom Crean, and other Irish explorers over the years, still intrigues and excites people today.

'You are continuing a proud tradition of Irish adventurers and you should be very proud of your wonderful achievement.'

Visit the team's website here