Turtle Bunbury

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This book is dedicated to our beautiful brides, Joanna Fennell and Ally Bunbury.

It is also for the amazing Betty Scott whose conversations over decades past proved to be the inspiration behind the ‘Vanishing Ireland’ project.

And a special thank you to Wendy Walsh who made the making of this book possible.

Ruth Cunney and Hugo Jellett provided invaluable counsel, the “Rosturk Proofers” excelled themselves and Nick Wilkinson conducted vital interviews with his customary deftness.

Thank you to Claire Rourke and all at Hodder Headline for their patience and fortitude, and also to Eneclann Ltd and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig for their ongoing support.

We received help from an astonishing number of people in the making of this book. The families and friends of the men and women we interviewed played a pivotal role and to them we say a massive thank you. We would also like to acknowledge the following for their sage words, scouting techniques, genteel manners and excellent cuisine.

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Adam Green

Adam Monaghan

Aine O’Connor

Aine P Kelly

Alan Philcox

Alice Boyle

Alice Power

Alicia Chawner

Alicia Parsons

Ana Wyndham Quin

Andy Cairns

Ann Healy

Andrew Davidson

Andrew Hewat

Angus Craigie

Anthony Ardee

Anthony Farrell

Anthony and Brooke Johns

Art Kavanagh

Arthur Johnson

Arthur Russell

Attracta Ryan

Becky Wilkinson

Ben Huskinson

Ben & Jessica Rathdonnell

Beth Ann Smith

Bill Cullen

Bill Howarth

Brian Donovan

Bridget Ryan

Caroline Hamilton

Catherine Anne Heaney

Cathy Curran

Cathy McCartney

Charles O’Brien

Charles O’Meara (Usual Place)

Chris & Moira Ryan

Ciara Cauldwell

Clyne’s Butchers, Ringsend

Colin Faraghy

Conor Walsh

Dave Kennedy

Dr. David Kelly

Delma Furney

Denis Bergin

Dominique Sinnott

Donal Fenelon

Durcan O’Hara

Earl & Countess of Dunraven

Eddie Lenihan

Ed Somerville

Edwin & Nora Burgess

Elaine Kenelly

Eleanor Cullen

Eoghan Corry

Essie Conroy

Esther Whelan

Fred Hanna

Georgina Kelly

Gerry Mullins

Gussie Nagle

Harry & Nicola Everard

Harry & June Hodgson

Henry Hodgson

Hugh Murphy

Hugh Stewart

Isabell Smith

Isabella Nolan

Jamie Cahalane

Jed & Lucy Kelly

Jennifer Grimes

Jessica Slingsby

Jimmy Nagle

John Kennedy

John Nolan

John Reilly

John Rogers

Jonathan Stanistreet

Jos Donnelly

Justin & Jenny Green

Kieran & Linda Bergin

Linda Farrell

Lizzie Meagher (Cara)

Lola O’Higgins

Louise Henry

Maebh Coyle

Marcus Williams

Mari Aymone Djerbi

Marie Twomey

Mark Onions

Martin Kelly

Mary Hoare Walsh

Mary Metcalfe

Matilda McBride

Matt & Georgie Tindal

Matthew & Alice Forde

Matthew Gallagher

Matthew Lloyd

Meike Blackwell

Michael & Clare fFrench-Davis

Micahel Nolan

Michael Ryan

Miriam Moore

Morgan Kavanagh

Nagles of Kilfenora

Nicola Morris

Noelle Moran

Nonee’s Shop

Oisin & Aoife Nolan

Olaf Shiel

Paul Benney

Paddy Heaney

Paddy Knockton

Paddy Love

Pat Fouhy of Ballydaw

Patricia Scanlan

Patsey Murphy

Paul Manzor

Paul Smithwick

Pauline Bewick

Peter Keogh

Peter Mant

Phil Burke (C.A.B., Nenagh)

Quentin Cooper

Richard & Louise Knatchbull

Richard & Jenny Pringle

Rita Nolan (Within the Mullet)

Sam & Phil Ware

Sarah-Beth Casey

Seamus & Emma Raben

Sean O’Reilly

Shane Jackson

Sheila Browne

Simon Pratt

Sir Richard Butler

Sonia Reynolds

Suzanne O’Hagan

Tom & Pam Butler

Tom & Sasha Sykes

Tom & Susi Lenox Conyngham

Tony Fenton

Tony Moreau

Trevor Gillespie

Siobhan Buchanan-Smyth

Sophie Gorman

Vaida Gasiunaite

Val Beamish

Wendy Walsh

William & Lesley Fennell


Johnny and Chloe Alexander

Cullen Allen

Anto Ardee

Betty Ashe

Daria Blackwell

Peter Blake

Peter and Chacha Bland

Jo Blennerhassett

Alice Boyle

Eugene and Roseanne Brady

James Brady

Dermot Brennan

Michael Brennan

Brooklane Hotel, Kenmare

Andrew and Nicola Bunbury

William and Emily Bunbury

Tom Butler

Carlow Rootsweb

Redmond Cabot

Liz and Andy Cairns

Pat Carter

Nan Clarke (who so eloquently recited Wordsworth’s Daffodils)

Mikey Coneally

John Cooke

Tim Coote

Colm Costello

Quentin & Ger Cooper

Angus Craigie

Jim and Anita Crothers

Peter and Maura Crowley

Michael Cryan

Danny Cullen

Ruth Cunney

Andrew and Siobhan Davidson

Brian and Sally Davidson

Esther de Barra

Leon C. de Barra

Doireann de Buitlear,

Angela Delaney

Paddy Donoghue

Tom Donovan

Ruth Doran

Tom Dowling

Lesley Fennell

June Finnegan

Pauline Flood

Gilly and Larry Fogg

Alice and Matthew Forde

Allen Foster

Ed and Alex Galvin

The Knight and Countess of Glin

Sean Godley

Sophie Gorman,

Tim Goulding

Adam and Justin Green

Linda Hand

Ann Healy (Nenagh Daycare Centre )

Hillview Nursing Home, Carlow

Jonathan Irwin

Hugo Jellett

Arthur Johnson

Fred Johnson

Ally Jones

Gráinne Kavanagh

Morgan and Sara Kavanagh

Jed and Lucy Kelly

Martin Kelly

Mary Kelly

Dave Kennedy

Sue Kilbracken

Piers and Harriet Landseer

Maeve Liffey

Fred Madden

Susan Macken

Johnny and Lucy Madden

Peter Mantel,

Sheila McCabe

Pat McDonagh

Helen McInerney

Niamh McNamara

Nicholas McNicholas

Sean McQuillan

John Mescal

Niamh Molloy (and her exceedingly good coffee)

Gavin Moore

Miriam Moore

Dominic Moran Catherine Muldoon

Vinny Murphy

Gus Nichols

Isabella Rose Nolan

Oisin and Aoife Nolan

Judith O’Brien

Mark Onions

John Onions

Lochlann and Vicky O’Mearain

Father Ian O’Neill

Denis O’Reilly (Wild Wicklow Tours)

Jo Patton

Serena Perceval

Archie Phelan

Pat and Yvonne Phelan

Michael Purcell

Michael Quinlan

Alex Raben

Charlie and Michaela Raben

Ben and Jessica Rathdonnell

Michael O’Shea

Sheila Reilly

Jack Rogers

Ron Rosenstock,

Jessica Slingsby

Rowan Somerville,


John Swiney

Lauren Swiney

Tom and Sasha Sykes

Fiona Symes

Orla of Vaughan’s Pub

Conor Walsh

Sean and Sheila Walsh

Trish Walsh

Lorraine Ward

Mary White, TD

Catherine Whitehead

Marcus and Olga Williams

Nick and Becky Wilkinson



This book is dedicated to the memory of Johnny Golden (1937-2010)

And we would also like to applaud the remarkable Anastasia Kealy who celebrated her 108th birthday in July 2011

As always, there are a huge number of people who have helped us find, meet and talk to the characters in this volume, as well as those who have helped to promote the Vanishing Ireland project in wider fields.

We thank our beautiful wives Ally Bunbury and Joanna Fennell, and our increasingly adorable children – Bella, Jemima, Mimi, Bay and William.

We would particularly like to thank David Hasslacher, Eoghan Ryan, Bernard Stack, Katie Theasby, Cllr John McCartin, Jasper McCarthy (McCarthy’s of Fethard), Sue Kilbracken, Mathew Forde, Miriam Moore, Lisnavagh House (www. lisnavagh.com), Marcus and Olga Williams (Errislannan), Josie Keany, Lisa Daly, Siobhan Cronin, Angela Delaney, Ben and Jessica Rathdonnell and Nationwide.

Thanks also to the following for help along the way: Betty Ashe (St Andrew’s Resource Centre, Dublin), Henry Bauress, Denis Bergin, Bethany Nursing Home (Tyrrellspass), Owen Binchy, Alex and Daria Blackwell, Joanne Blennerhassett, Mike and Pooh Bolton, Patricia Bogue, Alice Boyle, Larry Breen, Ed Brennan, Frances Browne, Gill Browne, Siobhan Buchanan Johnson, Bay Bunbury, Clive Burgess, Edwin and Nora Burgess. Natalie Byrne, Seán Carberry (Ireland of the Welcomes), Claire McGovern (Leitrim Observer), Laura Coates (Leinster Leader), Vanessa Codd, Sile Coleman, John Colgan, Patrick Cooney, Mario Corrigan (Local Studies, Kildare Libraries), Jacinta Cotter, Julia Coyle (The Quay House), Cyril Cullen, Colette Cully, Ruth Cunney, Annette Daly, James Davitt, Wendy Deegan, Emma Deering, Hazel Dickinson, Deaglán de Paor, Tom Donovan, Lorraine Dormer, Eoghan Doyle (Kildare County Council), James Durney, Bruce Edwards, Rita Edwards, Annette Egan (and her mum), Caitriona Egan, Harry and Nicola Everard, Lorna Farrell (Moate Library), Lesley Fennell, William Fennell Jr., Alex Findlater, Marie Fitzgerald, Imelda Fox, Siobhán Garrigan, Joe Germaine, Trevor Gillespie, Keith Glasgow, Paul Gorry, Mary Claire Grealy, Sharon Greene-Douglas, Tom Halligan, John Hamrock, Declan Harte, Richard Hasslacher, Spencer and Fiona Hawkins, Olivia Hazell, Renate Helnwein, Lorna Hill, Lynn Hill, Shane Hogan (Areaman Productions), Jacqui Hynes, Philip Jacob, Emma Jeffcock, Arthur Johnson, Duncan and Lady Ana Johnson, Ted Johnson, Cecil Johnston, Philip Judge, Bernd Kaiser, Padraig Keaney (Gowla), Morgan Kavanagh, Jed Kelly, Connie Kelleher, Martin Kelly, Dave Kennedy. Róisín Kenny, Vinny Kenny, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Mary Kate Kenyon, Max Kulow, Yvonne Lane (Moate Museum and Historical Society), Quaker Library, Christina Lowry, Fiona McGrath, Johnny and Lucy Madden, Martina Maher, Des Marnane, Natasha Martin, Niall Martin, Mark McLoughlin, Helen McMahon, Nicholas McNicholas, Ella McSweeney (Ear to the Ground), Dr Marie Milner, Tessa Molloy, Joe Mooney, Lisa Moore, Seamie Moore, Leo Moran, Donnchadh Morgan, Christopher Moriarty (Friends Historical Library), Olive Morrin, Michael Mullally, Hugh and Sara Murphy, Vinny Murphy (McCarthy’s of Fethard), Martina Neilan, Isabella Rose Nolan, Gearoid O’Brien, Lar O’Brien (Fr Murphy Heritage Centre, Boolavogue), Seán Ó Cearnaigh, Estelle O’Driscoll, Kay O’Leary, Thomas and Veronica O’Malley, John Onions, Mark Onions, Lucy O’Reilly (Kells Historical & Archaeological Society), Peter O’Reilly, Margaret O’Sullivan, Suzanne Pegley, Peg Prenderville, Chris and Ellie Pringle, Michael Purcell, Billy Quin, Tara Quirke, Charlie Raben, Michaela Raben, Lar Redmond, Mervyn Richardson, Claire Roche, Eibhlin Roche (Guinness Archives), Jonah Roche, Jack Rogers, Maggie Ryan, Dr Andrew Rynne, Padraig and Cait Seoighe, Ann Marie Sheehan, Jessica Slingsby, Aoife Smithwick, Thalia Smithwick O’Brien, Ercus Stewart SC, Tim Supple, Kieran Swords, Tom and Sasha Sykes, Stephen Talbot, Jim Tancred, Lorraine Teevan, Phonsie Ware, John Ward, Lorraine Ward, Meriel White, Guy Williams, Reg Youster (Kildare. ie), Zetland Country House.


To my mother Lesley Fennell, with thanks for everything, love James

To dear Rosebud, thanks for being such a cool aunt, love Turtle

With huge, all-encompassing thank yous to our beautiful brides, Ally Bunbury and Joanna Fennell, for their constant support and patience. And also to our miscellaneous young children – Bella Fennell, Jemima Bunbury, Mimi Fennell, Bay Bunbury and William Fennell – who, despite their youth, can already identify a Vanishing Ireland character at a hundred yards. These books are as much for our children and their generation as for anyone.

And thanks to Ciara Doorley for steering us through four volumes of Vanishing Ireland series with such tolerance and sagacity. Also to Claire Rourke, designer Karen Carty, Breda Purdue and all the team at Hachette Ireland, and Noelle Campbell Sharp and the Cill Rialaig Artists’ Retreat.

And thanks also to the following for manifold assistance, both great and small, and moral support: Susi Burton Allen, Alex and Daria Blackwell, Meike Blackwell, Alice Boyle, Ed Brennan, Michael Brennan, Nancy Brosnan (Stanley House), Donough Cahill (Irish Georgian Society), Alastair Hubert Bao Butler Crampton, John D’Alton (T.J. Newman’s), Máirtín D’Alton, Philomena Daly, Lorraine Dormer, Annette Egan, Rory Everard, Vincent Fahy, David Fallon, Frank Farrell, William Fennell, Giana and Tom Ferguson (Gubbeen Farmhouse), Barnes Goulding, Patrick Guinness, Tom Halligan, Paula Hanley, Ann Hassett, Maureen Hegarty, Stan Hickey, Tom Horgan, Hugo Jellett, Arthur Johnson, Josie Keaney, Sue Kilbracken, Frank and Marianne Lawler, Alice Leahy, Gemma Lee, John McCartin, Ronan McGrath, Fiona McGrath, Helen McMahon (Mount Saint Joseph Abbey), Mary Monaghan (Monaghan’s Harbour Hotel, Naas), Lisa Moore, Mick Moore, Miriam Moore, Margaret Moran, Mike Mullins, Liam Mulvaney, Bróna Murphy, Jasper Vincent Murphy (McCarthy’s of Fethard), John Murphy, Mary Teresa Nee, Isabella Rose Faith Nolan, Derek O’Brien and Thalia Smithwick, Robert O’Byrne, William and Mary O’Keeffe, James O’Keeffe Lyons, Joan O’Leary, Thomas and Veronica O’Malley, Paul O’Meara (Leinster Leader), John Onions, Bernadette O’Shea, René Ostberg, Andy Philpott, Charlie Raben, Nicola Ronaghan, Paddy Ryan (St Gabriel’s Hospital, Schull), Pádraig agus Cáitlín Seoighe, Jessica Slingsby, Sasha Sykes, Tom Sykes, Katie Theasby, Kitty Walsh, Alissa M. Zimman and the girls of Áras Éanna.



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