Turtle Bunbury

Writer and Historian

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'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.


'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, Jan-Feb 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.


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, the last of
which was launched in October 2013, with talks by
Turtle in London, Paris, Dublin and Cork.

All four 'Vanishing Ireland' books are available via

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.

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Click here to Join the
'Vanishing Ireland' Facebook page.

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

The books are available in bookshops across
Ireland or from Turtle's Amazon Store.

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Turtle Bunbury is a best-selling author, historian,
speaker and TV presenter based in Ireland.

He is the author of the cover story of the April 2014
edition of National Geographic Traveler  in which
he visits five of Ireland's finest 'Big Houses'.

His next book 'The Glorious Madness - The Irish &
World War One'
will be published on 17 October
2014. He will be a speaker on the upcoming Great
War Roadshow, which starts in Waterford on 17 May.

He is a co-presenter of 'Genealogy Roadshow', a
second series of which will air on the Irish television
channel RTE One, starting on 4 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 founder of the annual History Festival
of Ireland
, which he curated in 2012 and 2013.

A past winner of Ireland's Long Haul Travel
Journalist of the Year Award, Turtle's work has been
published in The Irish Times, The Financial Times,
The New York Post, The Australian, The Guardian,
Vogue Living,
The World of Interiors and Playboy.






Wistorical is an innovative concept for promoting local history globally, bringing the past to life through new technology and social media channels.

Wistorical's Facebook Page has garnered an impressive following since its launch in 2012, with hundreds of new followers checking in on Turtle's daily posts which primarily explore historical and genealogical links between places all around the world.

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The second series of the 'Genealogy Roadshow' kicks off on RTE One on Sunday 4th May, 7pm, with the roadshow filmed at Powerscourt, County Wicklow. This will be followed by University College Cork and Lumen Christi College, Derry, at the same time on Sundays 11th and 18th May respectively.

In each episode, Turtle 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 ancient 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.

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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.


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(Illustration by Derry Dillon)



Turtle is the founder of the History Festival of Ireland and was curator of the event in 2012 and 2013. The 2014 History Festival is scheduled for Huntington Castle in County Carlow on the weekend of 8-9 June. The 2014 curator is Angus Mitchell.

The 2013 festival took place amid the splendid ruins of Duckett’s Grove in County Carlow. Fifty leading historians and thinkers from Ireland, the UK, Canada and the USA contributed to a dazzling array of over 30 debates, discussions, readings and interviews.

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.


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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.


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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.