Turtle Bunbury

Writer and Historian

 
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PUBLISHED BOOKS



Most of Turtle's books are available via http://astore.amazon.com/wwwturtlebunb-20

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1847
A CHRONICLE OF GENIUS, GENEROSITY & SAVAGERY
(Gill, 2016)

"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." - Lenny Abrahamson, Academy Award nominated film director, 'Room' (2016).

Having grown up in an Irish country house built in 1847, author and historian Turtle Bunbury has long been fascinated by that epic year. Determined to understand its zeitgeist, he has assembled forty-four remarkable stories that took place across the planet during those twelve momentous months.

With his penchant for the quirky, Bunbury confronts all manner of human enterprise to reveal a world of nobility and generosity, of bold genius and fearsome savagery, embracing everything from the salty seadogs who explored the Pacific and Arctic oceans to show-stopping entertainers like Lola Montez and General Tom Thumb –the intrepid pioneers who stumbled through the mountains and prairies of the Americas to the ground-breaking inventors of the doughnut, the gumball and the Christmas cracker –the famine-starved Irish and persecuted German emigrants to the Vietnamese emperor’s war with the French – the ivory-tinkling genius of Liszt and Mendelssohn to the horse-bound Comanche warriors who dominated Texas - the American opium magnates who ran roughshod over China to the Irish soldiers who fought for Mexico ... ‘1847’ is a rollicking globe-trot that reveals a world whose heart pounded every bit as fast and as furious as it does today.

Also available on Kindle via Amazon - BUY HERE.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT '1847'?

 

 

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EASTER DAWN
THE 1916 RISING
(Mercier, 2015)
aka

THE 1916 RISING
THE PHOTOGRAPHIC RECORD
(Rowman & Littlefield, 2015)

In the long and epic fight for Irish independence, few events match the drama and tragedy of the Easter Rising of 1916. Bonded by a mutual dream of an independent Ireland, an extraordinary alliance of men and women sought to overthrow the British authorities who had ruled the island for centuries past.

'Easter Dawn' charts the story of the 1916 Rising, from the landing of the guns at Howth for the Irish Volunteers in 1914 to the arrests and executions that followed it. The battlegrounds that erupted across Dublin city and elsewhere in Ireland form the stage upon which a remarkable cast assembled.

Intricately researched and emotively written, the narrative, which includes the stories of the personalities involved in separate vignettes, is woven around contemporary photographs, many rare and unseen, providing a fresh look at the people and places involved. This book offers an excellent insight for anyone seeking an accessible, impartial and vivid account of that immense week.

Also available on Kindle via Amazon - BUY HERE.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT 'EASTER DAWN'?

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THE GLORIOUS MADNESS
TALES OF THE IRISH & THE GREAT WAR
(Gill & Macmillan, 2014)

Short-listed for Best Irish Published Book of the Year at the 2014 Irish Book Awards.

'Turtle goes back with his historian’s eye, but also his humanitarian heart, and gathers together a host of tiny epics, larger epics, the strange stories and the sometimes bizarre happenstances that occurred around the conflict ... clear-sighted and finely written ... a veritable banner of wonderful stories.’
Sebastian Barry, author of The Secret Scripture

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.

In 'The Glorious Madness’, Turtle Bunbury explores the lives of some of these people - including nationalists, nuns, artists, sportsmen, poets, aristocrats, nurses, clergymen and film directors - whose lives coincided with one of the most brutal conflicts our world has ever known.

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.

'He continues the wonderful listening and yarn-spinning he has honed in the Vanishing Ireland series ...poignant, whimsical and bleakly funny.’ John Grenham, The Irish Times

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

Also available on Kindle via Amazon - BUY HERE.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT 'THE GLORIOUS MADNESS'?

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VANISHING IRELAND 4:
FRIENDSHIP & COMMUNITY
(Hachette, 2013)

In their years travelling the Irish countryside, historian Turtle Bunbury and photographer James Fennell are constantly struck by the importance of friendship and community in the lives of the people they meet. In the 4th and final volume of the 'Vanishing Ireland' series, they take to the roads of Ireland once again and, through stunning photographs and poignant interviews, bring us the stories, friendships and memories that form the identity of our nation.

From sea-swept Ballinskelligs where the traditions of music and storytelling have passed through generations, to the quiet calm of a group of Cistercian monks, we are reminded of a time when kinship and friendship formed the lifeblood of every community; a time before social media and mobile phones, where communicating with a neighbour meant a chat over a cup of tea, on a country lane or over a garden wall.

Through times of adversity and prosperity, the bonds of community between people – family, friends and neighbours – has remained a vital part of Irish life. Vanishing Ireland: Friendship and Community celebrates these bonds and reminds us of what it means to be Irish.

'Vanishing Ireland - Friendship & Community' was launched in October 2013, with events in Dublin, London and Paris. The book was short-listed for Best Irish Published Book of the Year at the 2013 Irish Book Awards.

The cover stars are the wonderful Murphy brothers of Ballymurphy, County Carlow.

Also available on Kindle via Amazon - BUY HERE.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE 'VANISHING IRELAND' PROJECT'?

 

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CARLOW 800
800 YEARS OF AN IRISH CASTLE
(Hachette, 2013)

Carlow Castle begins as a safehaven for the chainmail-clad Anglo-Norman invaders who cantered into Ireland on their gigantic Arabian steeds in the late 12th century. In the ensuing shake up of land ownership, much of south east Leinster passed to William Marshal, one of the most powerful of these knights. Carlow was a strategically superb location to build a castle. It was one of the key crossings on the River Barrow between the Norman-controlled Pale and the unknown entity that was ‘beyond the Pale’. From here, the Normans – and later the English - were able to control the agriculture and economic welfare of much of Leinster. Turtle charts the castles evolution from timber to stone examining its ownership under the Marshal family, the Earls of Norfolk and Donogh O’Brien, Earl of Thomond, through until 1814 when a peculiar English doctor inadvertently blew two thirds of the castle down.

Commissioned as part of the Carlow 800 initiative by Carlow Town Council, the 12-page booklet celebrates the construction of Carlow Castle and the foundations of what is now a cultural, creative and socially vibrant town. 20,000 copies were printed - 17,000 for inclusion in the three Nationalist newspapers and 3000 for distribution around the town and county, with most going out from Carlow Museum & Tourist Office.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CARLOW CASTLE

 

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DUBLIN: FROM THE
ETIHAD SKYLINE
(GAA, 2012)

In 2012, the GAA Museum commissioned Turtle to produce a book that probed the history of 32 landmarks of Dublin City and County as seen from the rooftop of Croke Park Stadium.

Croke Park is the headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), Ireland’s largest sporting and cultural organisation, which promotes the country’s unique national games of hurling and gaelic football. The stadium is named in honour of Archbishop Thomas Croke, one of the founding members of the GAA in 1884. The first gaelic games were played at Croke Park in 1896 and today it hosts games throughout the year, culminating each September with the All-Ireland finals. The stadium was considerably redeveloped in the 1990s to become one of the largest in Europe, with a capacity of 82,300 and has hosted international rugby and soccer matches, concerts and the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2003 Special Olympics Summer Games. In 2011, Queen Elizabeth II of Britain was welcomed to Croke Park during an historic state visit to Ireland, the first ever visit by a British Head of State to the Republic of Ireland.

Beautifully illustrated, this charming book showcases the best of the Irish capital.

CLICK HERE TO BUY 'DUBLIN: FROM THE ETIHAD SKYLINE'

 

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VANISHING IRELAND 3
RECOLLECTIONS OF OUR CHANGING TIMES
(Hachette, 2011)

'Vanishing Ireland - Recollections of Our Changing Times' was the best selling picture book in Ireland over Christmas 2011 and reached No. 7 in the Irish non-fiction hardback charts that same week.

Turtle Bunbury and James Fennell once again journey the length and breadth of Ireland to bring us an extraordinary, powerful new collection of poignant interviews from ordinary men and women who share with us their memories, providing us with an invaluable link to the past. Through words and stunningly evocative photographs, we meet the people of Ireland who lived through adversity and hardship during the formative decades of independent Ireland, yet whose courage, kindness and humour remains intact.

We talk with those who watched friends and family sail for foreign shores, and lose ourselves in a world where life was simpler, yet somehow happier; where storytelling, fiddle-playing, ceilis and communal pastimes cemented the deep friendships that became the lifeblood of each community.

As stories are shared beside the warmth of a fire in farmhouses in Kerry and Clare; in the turf sheds of Limerick and Tipperary; over cups of tea and glasses of whiskey in the kitchens of Wexford, Sligo and Dublin; in the cobbled yards of Wicklow and Tipperary; in the shadow of the hills of Leitrim and Donegal; on the pavements of Dublin City; and against the sound of crashing waves on the coast of Galway, we meet the people who have lived through times of change as the past comes alive through their words.

Blacksmiths, saddlers, harness makers and coal miners, mattress makers, factory workers, bonesetters and cattle drivers, all are gathered here as we are afforded a glimpse of the inimitable spirit of the people of this country. The world continues to change but, gathered within these pages, are stories and to be cherished, to keep the past alive long into the future.

The book was launched in the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin on 18th October 2011, with a second launch at the Hunt Museum in Limerick City on 20th October. By January 2012, the book had sold over 13,000 copies.

Also available on Kindle via Amazon - BUY HERE.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE 'VANISHING IRELAND' PROJECT'?

 

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SPORTING LEGENDS OF IRELAND
(Mainstream, 2010)

Turtle's 2010 book,'Sporting Legends of Ireland', with photographer James Fennell, was nominated for the William Hill Irish Sports Book of the Year Award 2010. The book was published in September 2010. It features portrait interviews with 44 of Ireland's leading sportsmen and women, probing the question as to whether they were simply born to greatness or was it all about how much they trained and a certain degree of luck. The book quickly caught the headlines with major interviews for the authors on RTE Radio One, Newstalk and TV3. An exhibition of photographs from the book went on show at the Hunt Museum in Limerick City, Ireland, in May 2011.

Watch Turtle and James discuss the book on Ireland AM (TV3) or listen to their interviews with Darragh Maloney on RTE Radio One and Tom Dunne on Newstalk 106.

 

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT 'SPORTING LEGENDS'?

 

 

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VANISHING IRELAND 2
FURTHER CHRONICLES OF A DISAPPEARING WORLD
(Hachette, 2009)

The second volume of the 'Vanishing Ireland' series, sub-titled 'Further Chronicles of a Disappearing World', with photographer James Fennell, was shortlisted for the IES Irish Published Book of the Year Award 2010. The book was launched in Dublin City on 14th October 2009. Ryan Tubridy was amongst the first to sing its praises, while the Irish Examiner hailed it as 'an exquisite collection ... full of enchanting detail and recollections'. The Sunday Tribune likewise described it as 'a fascinating glimpse into a people and way of life that will soon be gone forever', while the Sunday World simply deemed it 'spellbinding'. Both The Irish Times Magazine and Ireland of the Welcomes also gave the book a fantastic three page spread.

Click on any of these links to hear Turtle discuss the book with RYAN TUBRIDY and IRELAND AM and JOHN TOAL. The book was the sequel to Bunbury and Fennell's best-seller, 'Vanishing Ireland', about which more below.

By January 2011, the book had sold over 21,000 copies.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT 'VANISHING IRELAND'?

 

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DUBLIN DOCKLANDS - AN URBAN VOYAGE (Montauge, 2009)

'Enlightening and rewarding', said The Irish Times (20 June 2009). 'Fascinating and insightful', agreed Cara, the Aer Lingus in-flight magazine (June 2009). 'If You Do One Thing This Week', advised the Sunday Independent, 'delve into this intriguing book'. 'A stylish and superb insight into the changing landscape of one of the capital's iconic areas', agreed Social & Personal.

This handsome, illustrated and comprehensive history of Dublin's inner city docklands was commissioned by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority and launched in March 2009 by John Gormley, TD, the then Minister for the Environment, Heritage & Local Government.

Turtle escorted Nationwide's Niall Martin on a grand tour of the Grand Canal Docks for a show that aired on RTE One in February 2010.

The book was released as a limited edition of 2,000 copies and it is now hard to find one in the shops. Try Eason's or the Docklands Authority on +353 (0)1 8183300.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT 'DUBLIN DOCKLANDS'?

 

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THE IRISH PUB (Thames & Hudson, 2008)

'Delightful' said The Irish Times. 'Fascinating' concurred the Independent-on-Sunday. 'A brilliant history of the Irish pub' declared Country Life. 'A masterpiece of pub porn' concluded the Sunday Independent. Published by Thames & Hudson, the book offers a colourful tour of 39 classic pubs from all across Ireland. The book is available from Amazon by clicking here.

'The Irish Pub', Turtle's third book with photographer James Fennell, certainly gathered the plaudits upon its publication in October 2008. National Geographic gave it the thumbs up, while it also generated considerable coverage on BBC News, BBC World, The Today Show (BBC Radio 4) and Saturday Magazine (BBC Radio Ulster), as well as Nationwide (RTE1), Ireland AM (TV3) and The Tom Dunne Show (Newstalk 106).

'The Irish Pub' was selected as Bookseller's Choice by Hughes and Hughes and for The Irish Times 2008 Christmas Gift Special. It has also been a major feature story in The Guardian, Country Life, The Independent (UK), The Irish Times, The Irish Examiner, Sunday Independent, The Irish Mirror, The Irish Echo, The Irish Daily Mail, Sunday World, The Dubliner, Hospitality Ireland and the Oct/Nov 08 issue of Cara. All media and customer reviews can be viewed here.

This sumptuous hardback has sold over 8,000 copies.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT 'THE IRISH PUB'?

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VANISHING IRELAND (Hodder Headline, 2006)

Vanishing Ireland' was the biggest selling hardback coffee table book in Ireland over Christmas 2006. All 10,000 copies of the first print run sold out less than eight weeks after its launch.

The book features over 150 hypnotic portrait photographs and interviews with over sixty men and women from across Ireland. At once amusing and poignant, this deeply engaging and important book is a must for anyone who mourns the Ireland of the past. It reminds of a country so much more friendly and relaxed before the economic boom arrived of the 1990s. 'Vanishing Ireland' is a vital chronicle of a rapidly disappearing world.

The book, written with photographer James Fennell, charted at No. 8 on Ireland's Hardback Non-Fiction Bestseller List in October 2006 and reached No. 5 on April 4th 2007. The book was nominated for the prestiogious Easons Irish Published Book of the Year Award. Sales were consistently boosted by extremely positive reviews and media coverage, including Today with Pat Kenny, Nationwide, Ireland AM, Country Life, The Irish Times Magazine, The Field, The Examiner Magazine, the Sunday Independent, The Sean Moncreiff Show, Soiscéal Pháraic, Cara and The White Book. The book was also serialized in The Dubliner throughout 2007.

By January 2011, the book had sold over 28,000 copies.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT VANISHING IRELAND?

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LIVING IN SRI LANKA
(THAMES & HUDSON, 2006)

'Living in Sri Lanka' takes a close look at twenty six villas, houses, island retreats and sumptuous hotels on the gorgeous island of Sri Lanka. James Fennell's magnificent photographs captures a world that masterfully combines the best architectural innovations of English, Dutch and Portuguese colonialism with both the practical and cultural influences of Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism.

The book received widespread attention for its positive portrayal of post-tsunami Sri Lanka. The Financial Times proclaimed it 'a sumptuous portrait of an unforgettable architectural landscape' and devoted an entire page in pink to the book. The Australian applauded 'page after glorious page of airy villas with colonnades'. Elle Decoration proclaimed it the Hot Summer Read. In Style likewise declared it 'The Hot Read'. For a concise review by author Christopher Ondaatje, visit The Times Higher Education.

Other major reviews ran in Vogue Living, The Scotsman, The Independent, The Sunday Express, Homes Worldwide, House & Garden, The Irish Times, International Homes Magazine, Image Interiors, The White Book and The Essential KB who acclaimed it as Book of the Month.

The book has sold in excess of 8,000 copies.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT 'LIVING IN SRI LANKA'?

 

THE LANDED GENTRY & ARISTOCRACY OF CO. WICKLOW (Irish Family Names, 2005)

A handsome, beautifully illustrated and thoughtfully designed hardback, the book details the history of nine of the most prominent families in County Wicklow during the hey-day of the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Turtle brings the readers on a journey into the past, tracking each family as far back as he can possibly go, and then bringing them right up to date.

Thus the Brabazon family, Earls of Meath, begin with a Belgian mercenary at the battle of Hastings in 1066 and gallop through the centuries to the 21st century. The Earls of Wicklow astonish British society by their continuing dalliance with the Catholic faith. The Wingfields of Powerscourt build arguably the most impressive Palladian mansion in Ireland and sire the mother of Sarah, Duchess of York. The Tighes of Rossanagh join hands with the Brontes and Percy Bysshe Shelly but run foul of Jonathan Swift. The Barton family of Glendalough establish vineyards in France and give birth to Erskine Childers, the brilliant writer who became de Valera's Minister of Propaganda during the Irish Civil War and whose son, also Erskine, was President of Ireland. General Dennis of Fortgranite commands the artillery at El Alamein while Captain William Hume of Humewood plays a vital role in the daring escape of the 1798 rebel, Michael O'Dwyer.

"Deeply peculiar, quietly amusing and written with great style" was the verdict of The Dubliner. The book was singled out for special recommendation by Eason's Bookshops following a series of glowing reviews from customers.

One thousand copies of the book were printed. It is now out of print but should be available from many libraries in Ireland.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT 'THE LANDED GENTRY & ARISTOCRACY OF CO. WICKLOW'.

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THE LANDED GENTRY & ARISTOCRACY OF CO. KILDARE (Irish Family Names, 2004)

Turtle Bunbury's debut book was launched on December 8th 2004 in Castletown House, Celbridge, Co. Kildare, by the Hon. Desmond Guinness, former President of the Irish Georgian Society.

The book offers a unique and lively historical insight into eighteen of County Kildare's most influential "big house" families. The book features fifty illustrations and covers more than a thousand years of Irish history.

The families profiled are those of Aylmer, Barton, de Burgh, Clements, Conolly, Guinness, Henry, Fennell, FitzGerald, Latten, La Touche, Mansfield, Maunsell, Medlicott, More O'Ferrall, Moore, de Robeck, and Wolfe.

The story of these often eccentric dynasties is set against the backdrop of the past - the violent religious wars of the 17th century, the rise of the British Empire in the 18th and the run up to Irish independence in 1921. Amongst the many anecdotes relayed are the tales of "French Tom" Barton and the vineyards of France, the bizarre death of Viscount Drogheda, the innkeepers son William Conolly who became the richest man in Ireland, Admiral de Robeck of Gowran Grange, Punchestown, who led the Dardanelles campaign, the Duke of Leinster's romance with Wallis Simpson, the medieval ape who saved the Earl of Kildare's life, the Celbridge connection to the Salem Witch Trials and the remarkable terrier who journeyed from Forenaghts to Bristol in 1798.

One thousand copies of the book were printed. It is now out of print but should be available from many libraries in Ireland.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT 'THE LANDED GENTRY & ARISTOCRACY OF CO. KILDARE'.


Book Titles

Vanishing Ireland
- The award-nominated bestsellers from Fennell and Bunbury that chart the lives of old timers from across Ireland.

Sri Lankan Interior Living in Sri Lanka
- Published by Thames & Hudson in the Spring 2006, this highly acclaimed interiors book focuses on 26 exotic Sri Lankan villas with stunning photographs by James Fennell.


Wicklow Gentry The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of Co. Wicklow
- The second book in the Irish Family Names series provides an in-depth look at nine extraordinary families. A timely and beautifully illustrated insight into the fading world of the Ascendancy.



Kildare Gentry The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of Co. Kildare
- Turtle's debut book explores the lives of eighteen of the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy families who ruled over the horse country of Co. Kildare during the hey day of the British Empire.