Turtle Bunbury’s Books

Centenary of Naas Racecourse

Nursery of Champions

The history of the popular Irish racecourse from its conception in the early days of the Irish Free State to its present status as one of the most highly regarded training courses for horses bound for international glory on the flat and over jumps.

Kildare Nationalist

‘The most impressive publication relating to any aspect of Naas history yet to appear in the 21st century.
Liam Kenny,
Naas Local History Group

The Irish Diaspora

Tales of Emigration, Exile & Imperialism

The story of the Irish influence around the world from the early Christian missionaries through to the election of Joe Biden. A stirring account of men and women, great and otherwise, whose journeys whether driven by faith, a desire for riches and adventure, or purely for survival have left their mark on the world.

‘Fascinating … models of lucid compression, lively yet judicious, packed with vivid detail.’
BBC History Magazine

New York Daily News

Ireland's Forgotten Past

A History of the Overlooked & Disremembered

An alternative history that covers 13,000 years in 36 stories that are often left out of history books. Among the characters in these absorbing accounts are a pair of ill- fated prehistoric chieftains, a psychopathic Viking, a gallant Norman knight, a dazzling English traitor, an ingenious tailor, an outstanding war-horse and a brothel queen.

‘A feat of exquisite skill – with a nose for ribald fun, Bunbury disinters the odd, the arcane and the profoundly surprising from the dark recesses of a mostly unknown history.’
The Yorkshire Times

Adare Manor

An Epicurean Journey

Turtle traces the gastronomic odyssey that has established Adare Manor as one of Ireland’s principal culinary landmarks.

The story stretches back to an 8-day festival held 800 years ago and looks at the motives and inspirations of the present-day kitchen crew and the multiple artisan suppliers they work with.

‘A lavishly illustrated exploration of food and drink … a feast of stories and recipes.’
Image Magazine


Celebrating 100 Years

A sweeping saga that tells Maxol’s fascinating story from its formation under ‘Boss’ McMullan in 1920 through the drama of global wars, oil crises, political conflict and economic hardship to its present-day responses to climate change, Covid 19 and technological advance.

‘Turtle is renowned for his forensic knowledge of Irish history … This chronicle of determination and drive is a treasure trove of archive material, illustrations and personal recollections.’
The Sunday Times

Adare Manor

The Renaissance of an Irish Country House

Following Adare Manor’s wonderful journey from medieval manor house to its 21st century status as a shimmering 5-star hotel. 

The book focuses on the Earls of Dunraven, as well as the meticulous conservation of the existing mansion, along with the construction of a new wing. Adare Manor’s championship golf course will host the Ryder Cup in 2027.

Easter Dawn

The 1916 Rising

Turtle charts the Rising from the landing of the guns at Howth for the Irish Volunteers in 1914 to the arrests and executions that followed. The battlegrounds that erupted across Dublin and elsewhere in Ireland form the stage upon which a remarkable cast is assembled, including the Irish-Americans who bankrolled the whole thing.

‘The whole story, easily told and illustrated by a brilliant populariser.’
Books Ireland

The 1916 Rising

The Photographic Record
Intricately researched and emotively written, the story of the major events before and during the Rising, and the lives of the main personalities involved, are given in separate vignettes. These are woven around contemporary photographs, many rare and unseen, providing a fresh look at the period.

‘A highly readable account … peppered with short pen portraits of its leading lights and some lively background.’
Irish Mail on Sunday

Living In Sri Lanka

The rich history behind an unforgettable architectural landscape is told through villas, hotels, townhouses and jungle retreats scattered around one of the most spectacular visitor destinations on our planet.

‘A sumptuous portrait of an unforgettable architectural landscape.’
The Financial Times

‘A consistently high standard, this has so much to inspire.’
Matthew Dennison, House & Garden

‘An enchanting portrait of this magical tropical island.’
Scotland on Sunday


A Chronicle of Genius, Generosity and Savagery
12 momentous months told through a cast that includes show-stopping entertainers Lola Montez and General Tom Thumb, the salty seadogs who explored the Pacific and Arctic oceans, the intrepid pioneers who stumbled through the mountains and prairies of the Americas, the opium magnates who ran roughshod over China, the Irish soldiers who fought for Mexico and the ground-breaking inventors of the doughnut.’

‘Vivid, surprising, hugely entertaining.’
Lenny Abrahamson,
2016 Oscar-nominated director of ‘Room’

The Irish Pub

A nostalgic and entertaining tour of 39 classic pubs from across the Island of Ireland, including The Long Hall in Dublin, Tigh Neachtain in Galway, Dick Mac’s in Dingle, McCarthy’s of Fethard and the Crown Liquor Saloon in Belfast.

‘A brilliant history of the Irish pub.’
Country Life

‘A superb collaboration chronicling our best loved institutions, redolent of ‘free-flowing banter, fireside fiddles and unforgettable nights’.
Sunday Business Post

The Glorious Madness

Tales of the Irish and the Great War
Exploring the lives of 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.

‘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

‘A most magnificent book and beautifully done …something to be proud of and something to guard.’ Gay Byrne

Vanishing Ireland Series

Vanishing Ireland

Ireland (Hodder Headline, 2006), with James Fennell.

Vanishing Ireland

Further Chronicles of a Disappearing World
(Hodder Headline, 2009), with James Fennell.

Vanishing Ireland

Recollections of Our Changing Times
(Hachette, 2011), with James Fennell.

Vanishing Ireland

Friendship and Community
(Hachette, 2013), with James Fennell.

Between 2001 and 2013, Turtle and photographer James Fennell embarked on numerous road trips around Ireland, to interview and photograph people born in the first decades of the 20th century. Homing in on people of a primarily working class Irish background whose stories are rarely told, these acclaimed books look at farmers, blacksmiths, fishermen, dockers and nurses, as well as priests, nuns, teachers and representatives of disappearing professions like saddlers, thatchers, lace-makers, clock-makers and turf-cutters.

‘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 (Aer Lingus)

‘An invaluable record of times past.’
Irish Independent

A beautiful and remarkably simple book that will melt the hardest of hearts. Bunbury has a light writing style that lets his interviewees tell their stories without interference.’
The Sunday Times

‘One of the nicest books I have ever had the privilege of receiving, reading and looking through. A masterpiece, an incredible book.’
Gerry Kelly

‘Stunning … honest and thought-provoking.’
Ireland of the Welcomes

‘Warm, funny, touching, sometimes desperately sad.’
The Dubliner

Dublin Docklands

An Urban Voyage
Commissioned by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority, this comprehensive, illustrated and beautiful book by Turtle Bunbury was published in 2009. It charts the evolution of an area of 1,300 acres bordered by Clontarf to the north, the Irish Sea on the east, Ballsbridge and Pearse Street to the south and Amiens Street to the west.

‘A fascinating, visually-driven and insightful book full of facts and entertaining historical trivia.’
Cara (Aer Lingus)

Sporting Legends of Ireland

Exclusive interviews and contemporary photographs with 44 of Ireland’s leading sports men and women, in which Turtle examines just what it was that made each star tick, looking into their family background and formative years, as well as their reaction to the success and fame which followed.

‘An absolutely gorgeous book’
Tom Dunne, Newstalk.

‘A fabulous record of those so passionate about their sport on this small island.’
Maeve Kyle, Irish Olympian


From the Etihad Skyline
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. Beautifully illustrated, this charming book showcases 32 landmarks of Dublin City and County as seen from its rooftop.

Hope in 1847

Amid all the sorrow and turmoil of the Great Hunger, there were numerous episodes of positivity as people around the world sought to help alleviate the appalling situation. This book gathers four of those stories – a breath-taking gift from the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, the remarkable voyage of the USS Jamestown from Boston, the heroics of the Barnstable boys and an extraordinary gesture from the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, as well as an epic meeting between the US abolitionist Frederick Douglass and Daniel O’Connell, the Irish Liberator.

Clonmel Show

150 Years – A history 1865 – 2015
Turtle brings the rich history of the show to life, making extensive use of contemporaneous sources to tell the story of the early years in the words of those who witnessed it first hand. The narrative not only introduces the principal characters who defined each epoch but adds colour and personality through an exploration of the wider social, political, and professional circles in which they moved.

Carlow 800

800 Years of an Irish Castle
Carlow was one of the key crossings on the River Barrow between the Norman-controlled Pale and the unknown entity that was ‘beyond the Pale’. This book marks the construction of Carlow Castle and the foundations of what is now a cultural, creative, and socially vibrant town.

The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of County Wicklow

Detailing 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 his 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.

‘Deeply peculiar, quietly amusing and written with great style’
The Dubliner

The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of County Kildare

Turtle Bunbury’s debut book was launched in 2004 and 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.