Turtle Bunbury

Writer and Historian

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The Bunbury Family

Related Families

The Butlers

Gilbert Butler (1910 - 2002) was one of Ireland's last Anglo-Irish gentlemen farmers, as well as a past President of the Royal Dublin Society. His grandson Turtle Bunbury lived with him during the latter years of his life, chronicling his memories of college days at Cambridge and life in Ireland during the 1930s and 1940s. The story of the Butler family, of Gilbert and his wife Noreen Colley, also includes tales about their close friend Elizabeth Bowen and Gilbert's brother, essayist Hubert Butler, as well as historical relatives like Uncle Eddie (who went down on the Titanic) and Sir George Colley (who was killed at Majuba Hill) and Maria Edgeworth. This is a work in progress.

The Drews

Glaswegian entrepreneur Alexander Drew made his fortune as a calico printer in Burnley, Lancashire, during the late 19th century. He took over the town's Lower-House print works on May 8, 1872, having come down from Scotland with his three sons. The firm prospered, and in 1900 the Drew's were able to buy out the print-works. His fortune passed on to his grandson John Malcolm Drew of Eversley who married Edith Sylvia Peart Robinson. Of John and Edith's five children, only their eldest daughter Pamela would have children. In 1937 she married William McClintock Bunbury, 4th Baron Rathdonnell, by which marriage she was Turtle's grandmother. She was also a remarkable artist, known by her maiden name Pamela Drew. She was commissioned as the official artist for the RAF Coronation Review in 1952. As a war artist, she painted much of the Middle East command comprising Cyprus, Aden, Jordan, Iraq and the last chapters of the Mau Mau operations in Kenya. The story of the Drews is a work in progress.

The Finlays

Descended from a Scottish family, the Finlays are said to have arrived in Ireland in the late Tudor Age, initially settling in Cavan. Useful connections to the linen industry, the new plantocracy and a cousin who made his fortune out of Swedish iron enabled Thomas Finlay to found a banking house in the 1720s that lasted for a century. He also purchased Corkagh House near Clondalkin, County Dublin, which would ultimately pass by marriage to the Colley family. Colonel H. T. Finlay commanded the 5th Battalion of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers during the Anglo-Boer War but was fated to lose all three of his sons in war, one in Africa, two on the Western Front. His daughter Edie married George Colley and were the parents of Turtle's grandmother Noreen Colley.


Among the other families to be reviewed here are those of Stronge, Trench, Colley, Bruen, Watson, Ievers, Foster, Martin, Campbell, Dalgety, Colvin and Bramwell.