Turtle Bunbury

Writer and Historian

Random Quote
Random Date



'A perfect symbiosis between text and images -
both similarity affectionate, respectful, humorous,
slightly melancholic but never sentimental or nostalgic.
This is invaluable social history'.
Cara, 2014.


'This is a beautiful and remarkably simple book that will
melt the hardest of hearts. Bunbury has a light writing
style that lets his interviewees, elderly folk from around
the country, tell their stories without interference. It's
neither patronising nor overly romantic about the past;
just narrating moving tales ... The portraits by Fennell are
striking, warm and dignified, with a feeling of being
invited into people's lives'.
The Sunday Times, December 2013.


The Vanishing Ireland series is available in bookshops across
Ireland or from Turtle's Amazon Store.

image title

Above: Turtle's new book 'The Glorious Madness - Tales of the Irish & the Great War' will be launched on 21st October 2014.

image title

Turtle Bunbury is a best-selling author, historian,
speaker and TV presenter based in Ireland. His new
book 'The Glorious Madness - Tales of the Irish &
the Great War'
(Gill & Macmillan) will be launched by
Sebastian Barry in Dublin on 21 October. The book is
available directly from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

He is a keynote speaker on the Great War Roadshow
and a co-presenter of 'Genealogy Roadshow'; the
second series aired on the Irish television channel
RTE One in May 2014.

He is the founder of Wistorical, an innovative
concept for promoting Irish history globally.

Turtle's past books include the award-winning
Vanishing Ireland
series, Sporting Legends of
Ireland, The Irish Pub
and Living in Sri Lanka. The
last Vanishing Ireland book was short-listed for
Best Irish Published Book of the Year 2013.

He was Newstalk Breakfast's Resident Historian
from June to December 2013.

Turtle is the co-founder of the annual
History Festival of Ireland.

A past winner of Ireland's Long Haul Travel
Journalist of the Year Award, he wrote the April 2014
cover story for National Geographic Traveler.
His work has also been published in The World of
Interiors, Playboy
, The Irish Times, The Financial
Times, The New York Post, The Australian,
The Guardian and
Vogue Living



Wistorical Facebook

Wistorical, Turtle's historical blog, is updated daily and provides an innovative forum for promoting local history globally. Click on Wistorical to join.







THE GLORIOUS MADNESS - Tales of the Irish & the Great War

From the generals and field commanders through to the troopers and nurses on the front lines, the Irish served at every turn in the Great War.

They tore through the skies in flimsy biplanes. They soared across the seas in battleships. They charged across the tortured earth with bayonets fixed. They wrapped bandages and dabbed softly in the field hospitals. They prayed, they sang, they killed, they wept and they died.

Popular historian Turtle Bunbury is renowned for uncovering important forgotten stories from our past. Here he reveals many never-before-heard tales of the Irish heroes and heroines whose lives coincided with one of the most brutal conflicts our world has ever known — including nuns, artists, sportsmen, poets, aristocrats, nationalists, nurses, clergymen and film directors.

By turns poignant, enlightening, whimsical and darkly comic, this is history as it should be — free-wheeling and finely tuned to the rhythms of the human heart.



Over the course of 2014, Turtle toured Ireland as one of the lecturers with the Great War Roadshow, speaking at events in Roscommon, Meath, Dublin, Carlow, Wicklow and Cavan. His fellow lecturers included Myles Dungan, John O'Keefe, Ciaran Wallace, Gordon Power and Damian Shiels.





Since 2001, historian Turtle Bunbury and photographer James Fennell have criss-crossed their native Ireland innumerable times, interviewing and photographing over 300 people aged between 70 and 108 about the old ways of life. Their findings have been published in a series of beautiful coffee table books.

'Vanishing Ireland -Friendship & Community', the fourth and final book in the series, was short-listed for the 2013 Best Irish Published Book of the Year. It was was launched in October 2013, with talks by Turtle in London, Paris, Dublin and Cork.

All four 'Vanishing Ireland' books are available via Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

Since the publication of the first volume in 2006, the series has become a household name across Ireland with the Irish Independent hailing it as 'an invaluable record of times past'. Three of the books have been short-listed for Best Irish Published Book of the Year, while the third volume was the best-selling ‘Picture Book’ in Ireland at Christmas 2011.

Turtle and James also collaborated on ‘The Irish Pub’, an ode to the rapidly changing pub scene in rural Ireland, which inspired a feature length movie of the same name.

Turtle has given talks on the project in New York, Paris, London, Chicago, Dublin, Limerick, Dublin, Carlow, Cork, Kilkenny and Monte Carlo.

image title

Click here to Join the 'Vanishing Ireland' Facebook

page. facebook vanishing ireland The series has also enjoyed a run of successful shows at Burtown House, Co. Kildare; Smock Alley Theatre and the City Assembly House, Dublin; Cill Rialaig, Co. Kerry; the Visual Arts Centre in Carlow & the Hunt Museum in Limerick City.




image title



The second series of the 'Genealogy Roadshow' aired on RTE One during May 2014. The three episodes were filmed at Powerscourt, County Wicklow, University College Cork and Lumen Christi College, Derry. In each episode, Turtle - as a historian - teams up with genealogists John Grenham and Susan Chadwick to investigate claims by people who believe they have famous or infamous relatives, or that they are connected to a historical event or long-standing mystery.

Produced by Big Mountain, the pioneering series originally aired on RTE1 television in 2011, was repeated twice in 2012 and again in both 2013 and January 2014. PBS America developed its own version of the Big Mountain format which aired in 2013 and is also up for a second series. For more details, click here.


image title


Turtle was Resident Historian on Newstalk Breakfast radio from June to December 2013. Click on the logo above to hear podcasts of his popular 'Hidden Histories' slot.


image title

(Illustration by Derry Dillon)



Turtle was co-founder with Hugo Jellett of the History Festival of Ireland and curated the event in 2012 and 2013. He also spoke at the 2014 History Festival which took place at Huntington Castle in County Carlow on the weekend of 8-9 June. The 2014 curator was Angus Mitchell.

Click here for more or to learn more about the History Festival, please sign up to our Facebook page or check out www.thehistoryfestivalofireland.com The History Festival is an Éigse initiative.


image title

Above: Turtle with Sir Terry Wogan.


Turtle frequently lends his historical expertise to TV documentaries such as 'The Genealogy Roadshow', 'Who Do You Think You Are?' and 'Wogan's Ireland', in which he pondered the drunkenness of the Jacobite troops at the battle of the Boyne with Sir Terry Wogan. He co-scripted and researched the award-nominated documentary 'John Henry Foley - Sculptor of the Empire'. He was Resident Historian on Newstalk Breakfast show from June to December 2013.

Turtle has delivered talks on the 'Vanishing Ireland' project, the Dublin Docklands, 'Big House' archives and the history of the Bunbury family to the New York and Chicago chapters of the Irish Georgian Society, as well as the 2013 Poesie and Prose Literary Festival in Paris, the Irish Writers Festival in London, the 2013 St Patrick's Festival (Marsh's Library) in Dublin, the 2012 Tall Ships Festival in Dublin and the Royal Dublin Society.

Tutle is a guest blogger for the Irish Executives on LinkedIn, as well as a frequent contributor to the Discover Ireland website, WorldIrish.com, Irish Family Names, the Wild Geese Blog and the Gathering Ireland 2013 campaign.

He has also talked about inspirational books with Daisy Banks of The Browser.

In 2011, he was the Ireland Fund of Monaco's Writer-in-Residence at the Princess Grace Irish Library.

Glorious Madness   image title


  image title      image titleimage title           image title            image title


  image title            image title            image title


Dublin Docklands, The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of County Wicklow and The Landed Gentry of County Kildare are all presently out of print. However, you will find the content of all three books freely available via the 'Published Books' section on the sidebar of this website.


This website has been compiled in the interest of furthering the research and study of both local and international history.