Turtle Bunbury

Writer and Historian

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Above: Benjamin Bunbury (1642-1707) of Killerig,
County Carlow, came from England to Ireland at the
time of the Restoration. He purchased the lands at
Lisnavagh for his son William Bunbury.


The Family of Turtle Bunbury

Turtle's paternal grandfather was Bill Rathdonnell, aka Major William McClintock Bunbury, 4th Baron Rathdonnell of Lisnavagh, Co. Carlow, a free-wheeling soldier-huntsman descended from the McClintocks of Scotland and the Bunburys of Cheshire.

His fathers' mother was the remarkable Pamela Drew, a fun-loving calico printer's daughter from the English Lake District who became official war artist to the RAF in the 1950s.

His mothers' father was Kilkenny farmer Gilbert Butler, sometime President of the Royal Dublin Society and brother to the essayist Hubert Butler.

His mothers mother was Noreen Colley, born into a fun-loving dynasty, kinsfolk of the Duke of Wellington, who succeeded to Corkagh, Clondalkin, Co. Dublin, following the death in action of two sons in the First World War. Her uncle Eddie Colley went down on Titanic and her first cousins included the writer Elizabeth Bowen and the grandmother of actors Ralph and Joseph Fiennes.

In these pages, Turtle looks at his forbears - his "grandcesters", as C.S. Lewis would call them - and the families with whom they were inter-married and tries to work out just how genetically doomed he really is.

There seems to be a strong military gene in the blood. Field Marshal Lord Gough was the son of Leititia Bunbury of Lisnavagh while Field Marshal Lord Roberts was the son of Isabella Bunbury of the Kilfeacle branch. [Roberts and Gough are also two of just three families in which a father and a son have both won a Victoria Cross; the thirf is Congreve. The Goughs were also the first pair of brothers to win the VC!] The McClintock’s can answer back with Field Marshals Montgomery and Alexander. And who can hold a match to the Iron Duke?! It is Turtle's hope that he can one day emulate the tradition, win a VC and become a Field Marshal.

History Sub-sections

Old map of Ireland McClintock 1597 - Present
- The McClintcoks were a minor Scottish clan roaming the banks of Lough Lomond in Argyll. In 1597, Alexander McClintock made his way to Ireland and settled in Donegal where his sons and grandsons prospered. A branch of his family moved to Drumcar in County Louth from where John McClintock, MP, married Jane Bunbury, and set the McClintock Bunbury family in motion. Their eldest son John was raised to the peerage as 1st Baron Rathdonnell in 1868. The most celebrated McClintock was the 1st Baron's cousin, Admiral Sir Francis Leopold McClintock, who became a well-known Arctic explorer in Victorian age.

Old tractor Bunbury 1066 - Present
- The Bunbury family descend from the Norman baron de St Pierre who came to England with William the Conqueror's armies in 1066. Granted lands at St. Boniface's Borough (aka Bunbury) in Cheshire, his descendents prospered under both Lancastrian and Yorkist. Henry Bunbury was knighted by King James in 1603 but his son's loyalty to Charles I brought disaster to the family - Sir Henry was imprisoned and stripped of his titles and lands. His children began to look elsewhere for places to reside. One brother headed for Virginia and another for Ireland. Turtle descends from the latter branch but it is his intention to gradually include in these pages a potted history of the whole Bunbury tree from root to leaf.

Charles Acton Lisnavagh 1669 - Present
- The Bunbury family have been settled at Lisnavagh in County Carlow since1669. Nearly 340 years and eleven generations later, Lisnavagh has evolved into a gorgeous 1,000 acre estate of extensive woodlands, parkland, farmland, gardens and pleasure grounds, centred around a Gothic Revival mansion and an early Victorian farmyard. The latter was built by Captain William McClintock Bunbury, a man who had chased slave ships around South America in his youth and met Charles Darwin in Brazil. His son Thomas succeeded as 2nd Baron Rathdonnell in 1879.

Temple House Related Families
- Among the families to be reviewed here are those of Butler, Drew, Stronge, Trench, Colley, Bruen, Watson, Ievers, Dalgety, Colvin and Bramwell.

Charles Bianconi General Tales
- Random tales on the family clan from around and about.