Turtle Bunbury

Writer and Historian

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Turtle was one of the main presenters of the 'Genealogy Roadshow'.
The series aired on RTE One between 2011 and 2014. In each of the
seven episodes, Turtle teamed up with two genealogists to investigate
claims by people who believed they have famous or infamous
relatives, or that they were connected to a historical event or
long-standing mystery. The series was produced by Big
Mountain and inspired PBS America to develop its own version
of the format which started in 2013 .

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Over the course of 2016, Turtle has been touring Ireland with the
Paths to Freedom Roadshow
. This follows on from the Great War
Roadhsow of 2014-2015 which saw him speak at events in Boyle,
Kells, Tallaght, Clonegal, Greystones, Dublin City, Thurles and Cavan.

His fellow lecturers include Myles Dungan,
John O'Keefe, Ciaran Wallace, Gordon Power & Damian Shiels.


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Turtle was co-founder of the History Festival of Ireland
and curated the event in 2012 and 2013. In 2016 the event
was incorporated into the Festival of Writing and Ideas
at Borris House.
(Illustration by Derry Dillon)

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Turtle frequently lends his historical expertise
to TV documentaries such as 'The Genealogy
, '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 the late Sir Terry Wogan (above). 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 Easter Rising, the Dublin Docklands,
'Big House' archives and the history of the Bunburys to:

2016 Chicago Irish Consul - Easter 1916
2016 Cruise Europe Conference
2016 Paths to Freedom Roadshow
2016 Transatlantic Conference
2015 Web Summit
2015 Ireland Exhibition at Chicago's Art Institute
2013 Poesie and Prose Literary Festival, Paris
2013 Irish Writers Festival, London
2013 St Patrick's Festival (Marsh's Library), Dublin
2012 Tall Ships Festival, Dublin,
2012 Royal Dublin Society
New York & Chicago chapters, Irish Georgian Society.

He 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.


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

Turtle is a best-selling author, historian, public speaker and TV presenter based in
Ireland. His latest book 1847 – A Chronicle of Genius, Generosity and Savagery
(Gill) smashed into Ireland's Top Ten Non-Fiction charts at No. 8. This happened just
five days after its launch in Dublin with a magnificent performance of 'The City of
Chicago' by Luka Bloom. All books available that night sold out.

The 2016 Oscar-nominated director Lenny Abrahamson writes: "I’ve always loved
Turtle’s writing, the wit and heartbeat in his history. "1847" is, for me, the best thing
he has done so far. It is vivid, surprising, hugely entertaining; an unforgettable
encounter with an extraordinary year.”

Turtle's previous books include Easter Dawn (2015), The Glorious Madness -
Tales of the Irish & the Great War
(short-listed for Best Irish-published Book of
the Year 2014) and the award- winning Vanishing Ireland series.

Turtle presented talks on his '1847' and 'Vanishing Ireland' books at
the Irish Books Arts & Music Celebration in Chicago on October 14-16, 2016.

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

Turtle is a co-presenter of 'Genealogy Roadshow' (RTE), the founder of Wistorical, an
innovative concept for promoting Irish history globally, and a regular guest on Irish
radio. He also co-founded the History Festival of Ireland.

Turtle's books are available directly from his aStores at Amazon.com & Amazon.co.uk



Easter Dawn - 1916 Rising book cover

" A beautiful and workmanlike addition to Turtle Bunbury’s
collection of well-researched and lavishly illustrated
coffee table history books
... a mixture of sound
history with vivid and sometimes intimate detail.
Socialist History, April 2016.

“Possibly the best-seller of the centennial ...
the whole story easily told and illustrated by
a brilliant populariser.'

Books Ireland, 2015.

"A handsome hardback with many fine and rare images
... a fine survey of Easter week 1916."

RTE Guide, 2015.




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Turtle's book 'The Glorious Madness - Tales of the Irish
& the Great War' was short-listed for Best Irish-published
Book of the Year 2014.

"Turtle Bunbury’s open-handed, clear-sighted and finely written
book comes fresh and, I might almost say, redeemed
out of the moil and storm of controversy that surrounded the
topic of the war, in a thousand different guises in
the decades since its end. Turtle holds out his hand in the present,
seeking the lost hands of the past, in darkness, in darkness,
but also suddenly in the clear light of kindness -
in the upshot acknowledging their imperilled existence
with a brilliant flourish, a veritable banner, of wonderful stories."
Sebastian Barry

'An absolutely brilliant book.'
Patrick Geoghegan, Talking History, Newstalk

'Turtle continues the wonderful listening and yarn-spinning
he has honed in the Vanishing Ireland series, applying it to
veterans of the First World War. The stories he recreates are
poignant, whimsical and bleakly funny, bringing back into
the light the lives of people who found themselves on
the wrong side of history after the struggle for Irish independence.
This is my kind of micro-history.'
John Grenham, The Irish Times.

'A most magnificent book and beautifully done.
A superb production, superb photos.'
Gay Byrne.



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


'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



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



In 2001, Turtle and photographer James Fennell
embarked on the first of many adventures,
criss-crossing Ireland to interview and
photograph people born in the first decades
of the 20th century. With over 300 such
interviews under their belt, their findings have
been published in a series of beautiful,
best-selling & critically coffee table books.

The Vanishing Ireland series is now a household
name across Ireland; the Irish Independent hailed
it as 'an invaluable record of times past'.

Three volumes were short-listed for
Best Irish Published Book of the Year.

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

Turtle & James also collaborated on
‘The Irish Pub’, an ode to the rapidly
changing pub scene in rural Ireland.

Turtle has given talks on the project in New York,
Paris, London, Chicago, Dublin, Limerick, Carlow,
Cork, Kilkenny and Monte Carlo.
An exhibition at Castletown House, Co. Kildare,
runs until Oct 2016.

The series enjoyed a run of successful shows at:
Burtown House, Co. Kildare;
Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin
City Assembly House, Dublin;
Cill Rialaig, Co. Kerry;
Visual Arts Centre, Carlow;
Hunt Museum, Limerick City.