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This extensive archive offers hundreds of historical articles on (mostly Irish) families, houses, companies and events, including content from Turtle Bunbury’s best-selling ‘Vanishing Ireland’ series, as well as ‘Easter Dawn’, ‘Dublin Docklands’, ‘The Irish Pub’, ‘Maxol’ and the ‘Past Tracks’ panels now on show at Irish Rail stations throughout Ireland.

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This considerable archive is updated, improved and expanded on a daily basis. You can also try searching by County, by Historical Era or by Category here. If any story you seek is incomplete or not showing up, please email us and we shall investigate.

Rosemary Smith. Photo: James Fennell.


Tulip Rally, 1965.

British Saloon Car Championship: 3.

Coupes des Dames:
12 (including the 1973 East Africa Safari).

Outright Wins in Ireland: 3

Internationals: 24
(Finished in 21, won one;
Ccollected 12, nine class wins;
P laced in her class six times).


Texaco Sports Star of the Year 1965.
Motorsport Ireland Hall of Fame 2001.
Hooniversal Dream Girl Hall of Fame, 2009.
Hon. President of Imp Club of England.
Hon. President of Imp Club of Ireland.
Hon. President of Dunboyne Motorclub.
Rosemary Smith (1937-2023) – Rally Driver

Rosemary Smith, the most successful female rally driver in Irish history, tells how her triumphs in the 1960s began when she mastered driving on the potholey highways of old Ireland, and why she was once obliged to reverse 33 miles up the Khyber Pass.

Diana Wrangel (née Carew) at Castletown House
The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of County Kildare – Introduction

Return to Contents of The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of County Kildare.   When Art …

Turtle's first book, The Landed Gentry
& Aristocracy of Co Kildare was
launched at Castletown House,
Celbridge, Co Kildare, by the Hon.
Desmond Guinness, President of the
Irish Georgian Society, on 8th December 2005. One thousand copies of the book were printed. It is now out of print but should be available from many libraries in Ireland.
The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of Co. Kildare – Contents

The content of Turtle's first book, ‘The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of Co Kildare' offer a unique and lively historical insight into some of County Kildare's most influential “big house” families.

TB in Canal du Midi bookshop.
The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of County Kildare – Bibliography

Return to Contents of The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of County Kildare.   REFERENCE   …

In 1854, the Dublin artist Michael Angelo Hayes (1820-1877) painted both the Corinthian Cup at Punchestown and ‘Meet of the Kildare Hounds’. The latter featured 27 portraits, including a member of the hunt who came up short for the subscription and is thus to be seen lolling around in the background, near the dining room window. Fortunately it is accompanied by a key enabling descendants to identify their forefathers. The Marquis of Drogheda, for instance, is mounted, sixth from left. The original belonged to the Earl of Clonmell and was hung at Punchestown. During the Troubles, it was dispatched to Bishopscourt on a bogey by Cub Kennedy. The picture was propped upright and faced the Courthouse as it passed through Naas. Men fighting for Irish freedom and lacking in practice at moving targets apparently seized upon this novel opportunity to pop off a few shots at the Ascendancy and there were half a-dozen bullet holes in the canvas by the time it reached  Bishopscourt. The picture was removed from its frame, rolled up and sent to Liverpool for repair. 
In 1938, Tiggy and Dermot McGillycuddy purchased the 500-acre Bishopscourt property from Mr. Kennedy’s trustees. Cub Kennedy’s widow, who had lived there the previous thirteen years, left many of her possessions behind when she moved to Newcastle-Lyons. Amongst them was Michael Angelo Hayes’s picture. On the occasion of his 21st birthday, Mrs Kennedy told her grandson Donough McGillycuddy that the picture was hers and that she would like him to have it when she died.  Nothing was committed to writing and Donough was never able to claim it. 
Michael Angelo Hayes and his father Edward were co-founder members of The Society of Irish Artists.
The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of County Kildare – Social & Personal

  Return to Contents of The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of County Kildare.   This …

Irish Times Review
The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of County Kildare – Press

Return to Contents of The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of County Kildare.   Press   …

Lord Edward FitzGerald
Greatest Kildarian Ever

In the wake of the BBC’s successful 2002 hunt for the “Greatest Briton” ever – Churchill, incidentally – I was asked by the Kildare Nationalist to initiate a quest for the “Greatest Kildarian” of all time. Here are my six nominees.

Photo: James Fennell
Aidan ‘Ogie’ Nolan (1922-2017) Saddler & Harness Maker Enniscorthy

Ogie Nolan crouched beneath the speaker’s platform and watched with mounting astonishment as more and …

The River Chicago is dyed green every St Patrick's Day.
The Irish in Chicago

By 1890, Chicago had the third highest population of Irish emigrants in the USA. The city's Irish-American heroes include Butch O'Hare, Captain Francis O'Neill, Richard Daley, Mother Jones and the men who built the I&M Canal.

Here's to you - launching the Kilkenny Whiskey Trail in 2018. Photo: Leo Farrell.
Naas Racecourse (1924-2014) – Acknowledgments

From ‘The Centenary of Naas Racecourse (1924-2024) – Nursery of Champions’ by Turtle Bunbury.   …

Aerial view of Dublin with the River Liffey running through.h
32 Top Visitor Sites in Dublin

With Summer 2022 underway, the Irish capital has plenty to offer first-time visitors and indigenous Dubliners alike. Here's 32 of the city's highlights. 

Carlow Castle, as depicted in 'Antiquities of Ireland' (1792) by Captain Francis Grose.
Carlow Castle: Rise & Fall

A detailed history of Carlow Castle from its construction by the Normans over 800 years ago through to the present day, co-starring Prince Lionel of Antwerp and the extraordinary doctor who accidentally blew most of the building apart in 1814.

A handsome, beautifully illustrated and thoughtfully designed hardback, The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of County Wicklow (Volume 1) was singled out for special recommendation by Eason's Bookshops in 2006 following a series of glowing reviews from customers.

The book was launched at Kilruddery House, Bray, Co. Wicklow, on Thursday 8th December 2005. Senator David Norris delivered a tremendously amusing speech to the gathered assemblage of 150 persons. It received widespread coverage in the media, with excellent reviews in Cara, The Irish Times, The White Book, The Dubliner, The Wicklow People, The Wicklow Times and The Carlow Nationalist. Turtle also appeared on East Coast Radio with Donal Swift and Anna Livia FM with Beth Anne Smith.
This book is currently out of print but should be available from many libraries in Ireland, or if you have specific enquiries, try contacting the author directly.
The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of County Wicklow – Introduction

The nine principle families who feature in this book descend from adventurous people of courage and conviction who arrived in Wicklow when Ireland was a violent island perched on the edge of the world. Some like the Humes, Dicks and Leslies were Scottish in origin, beneficiaries of Jacobite kings and the prosperous linen trade in Ulster. Most were English. The Bartons came from Lancashire, the Childers from Yorkshire, the Wingfields from Suffolk and the Ellis's and Tighes from Lincolnshire. Some claim descent from exciting characters; the Wingfields from a Saxon warrior, the Brabazons from Flemish wool merchants.

The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of County Wicklow - Reviews
The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of County Wicklow – Reviews

Return to contents of The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of County Wicklow   MEDIA REVIEWS …

A handsome, beautifully illustrated and thoughtfully designed hardback, The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of County Wicklow (Volume 1) was singled out for special recommendation by Eason's Bookshops in 2006 following a series of glowing reviews from customers.

The book was launched at Kilruddery House, Bray, Co. Wicklow, on Thursday 8th December 2005. Senator David Norris delivered a tremendously amusing speech to the gathered assemblage of 150 persons. It received widespread coverage in the media, with excellent reviews in Cara, The Irish Times, The White Book, The Dubliner, The Wicklow People, The Wicklow Times and The Carlow Nationalist. Turtle also appeared on East Coast Radio with Donal Swift and Anna Livia FM with Beth Anne Smith.
This book is currently out of print but should be available from many libraries in Ireland, or if you have specific enquiries, try contacting the author directly.
The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of County Wicklow – Contents

Turtle's second book brought his readers on a journey into the past, tracking some of Co. Wicklow's prominent landowning families as far back as he can possibly go, namely Acton, Barton, Brabazon, Childers, Dennis, Howard, Hume-Dick, Leslie-Ellis, Tighe and Wingfield … and bringing them right up to date.

Sporting Legends of Ireland (Contents)
Sporting Legends of Ireland (Contents)

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.

Dublin Docklands - An Urban Voyage (Contents)
Dublin Docklands – An Urban Voyage (Contents)

The contents of Turtle's comprehensive history of Dublin's inner city docklands (the Custom House Quays, the North Wall, East Wall, Westland Row & the South Quays, the Grand Canal Docks, South Lotts, Poolbeg and Ringsend), frequently updated.

Reviews: Dublin Docklands – An Urban Voyage

‘A magnificent reminder of what was there before,' writes The Irish Times. ‘Full of stories, anecdotes and personalities, with lavish illustrations, it makes for enlightening and rewarding reading.'

Turtle circa 1998 by Amy McElroy.
About Turtle Bunbury

An overview of Turtle's professional career, including bundles of photos from the last two or three decades.

Illustration by Derry Dillon
Winnie Letts (1882-1972) – A Poet of the Great War & the Cuala Press

Winnifred Letts published a series of remarkable war poems during the First World War, in which she worked as a nurse. The Dublin-based author also wrote poems for the Cuala Press, published children's books and penned a play staged by the Abbey Theatre. South Dublin Libraries hosted a series of events to mark the 50th anniversary of her death in June 2022.

Arms of the Marquess of Waterford
Beresford of Curraghmore – Marquess of Waterford

The story of a family from Staffordshire in England who prospered in Ireland in the wake of King William's victory at the Boyne, marrying the heiress of wealthy Power family and acquiring the titles of the Earl of Tyrone and Marquess of Waterford. Also told here is the story of Lord William Beresford and Edmund O'Toole, who won Victoria Crosses after an especially close call during the Anglo-Zulu War.

A Lawlor-Keely family gathering at the opening day at Naas Racecourse on 19 June 1924.

Standing (l to r): Jim Lawlor (Bridget’s son), Dorothy Whiteside (Bunty Power), Marjorie Whiteside (Byrne) and Tom Lawlor (Bridget’s son).

Front Row (l to r): Ellen (Nelly), Bridget (Mrs Lawlor), Ellinor (Nell) Whiteside and Catherine Whiteside.

Nelly, Bridget and Catherine were the Keely sisters.
Mrs Lawlor (1880-1969) of Naas – Caterer Extraordinaire

Founded on the eve of the First World War, Mrs Lawlors Naas-based enterprise was reckoned to be the largest catering firm in Ireland by 1937. From the Dublin Horse Show to the Naas Races to the Grand Prix or the Eucharistic Congress, her tents were invariably to be found serving up to the crowds.

Turtle's Travel Articles
Turtle's Travel Articles

Ireland   Belfast: City of Music & Joy If It’s Music You Want, Go to …

Titanic - The Irish Connections
Titanic – The Irish Connections

At least 79 of the 1,517 passengers and crew who died when Titanic sank were born in Ireland. Built in Belfast, the Irish connections of the White Star liner were many and varied.

James II and his second wife, Anne Hyde, by Sir Peter Lely.
Irish Links to Albany, New York

Irish links to Albany since the late 17th century.

The Glorious Madness - Reviews
The Glorious Madness – Reviews

  An absolutely brilliant book. A fantastic production – it really does bring the past …

The Glorious Madness - Tales of the Irish & the Great War (Contents)
The Glorious Madness – Tales of the Irish & the Great War (Contents)

‘The Glorious Madness’ 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.

Sean's Bar, Athlone County Westmeath.
The Battle for the Oldest Pub in Ireland

Return to The Irish Pub Contents On New Year’s Eve 1993, I had the great …

The Irish Pub – Contents

Published by Thames & Hudson in 2008, ‘The Irish Pub' was one of the best-selling books in Ireland over Christmas 2008. It examines forty old style pubs from the cities of Belfast and Dublin to the isolated crossroads of rural Ireland, and asks the question, what will be the fate of the Irish pub in the 21st century? The book featured prominently in a broadcast on BBC World with reviews in National Geographic, The Australian, The Guardian, The Irish Times and elsewhere.

The Irish Times, Saturday 25th October
The Glorious Madness – An Appreciation by Sebastian Barry

Hibernian Club, Dublin, 21 October 2014. That great silence which accreted around the extraordinary conflagration …

The Irish Pub - A Potted History of the Irish Pub
The Irish Pub – A Potted History of the Irish Pub

The inhabitants of Ireland have been guzzling beer ever since the biblical Great Flood swept this earth. Irish legend holds that practically the first feet to walk this land after the waters subsided were those of a brewer and an innkeeper. In medieval times, more inns began to spring up, offering accommodation as well as food, wine and cider. The rest, of course, is history.

Giles Blundell and taking a sip of Guinness, alongside Christopher Horsman, in Peter Curling’s painting of McCarthy’s Hotel, Fethard. Prints of this painting were sold in aid of a fund organised by Mouse Morris to restore the walls of Fethard.
The Irish Pub – Conclusions

The economic realities were too complex for most old style pubs to survive in the new world. A fear of the breathalyser. The ban on smoking in public places. The temptation to sell one's licence, at considerable profit, to a Dublin pub chain or European hypermarket. The stay at home culture of the 2020s … here are some reflections on all this and that.

Field Marshal Montgomery pins a Military Cross on Bill Rathdonnell at Schleswig
on 12 August 1945. As chance would have it, Montgomery descended from the McClintock
family, as did Field Marshal Alexander. Colour by BSC
William Robert Bunbury, 4th Baron Rathdonnell, M.C. (1914-1959)

My grandfather packed a lot into his 44 years. Born during the Great War, he lost his mother at the age of eight and, an only child, became very close to his father, the 3rd Baron Rathdonnell. Educated at Charterhouse and Cambridge in England, he lived it up in the US in the late 1930s but life turned serious again at the age of 21 when his father died and he succeeded as 4th Baron. He married Pamela Drew, a free-spirited artist, a few weeks later. And then came Hitler’s War, in which he found himself in command of a squadron of tanks …

Elizabeth in pearls.
Reflections on Elizabeth Bowen (1899-1973)

The author of ten novels and over 100 short stories, Elizabeth Bowen was one of the most remarkable writers of her generation. She was also my grandmother's first cousin and, arguably, best friend. I once found her CBE in my sock drawer and my mother inherited her typewriter. This is an account of her life, and her many loves, which I add to as new reflections strike me.

Colley Siblings: Dudley, Jack, Noreen, Valery
The Colleys of Castle Carbery, Mount Temple & Corkagh

The story of the Colleys is a rip-roaring account from the first  dastardly Tudor to come to Ireland on Thomas Cromwell's watch through to the sad finale for Corkagh, the Colley house near Clondalkin, County Dublin. Among those profiled are the Duke of Wellington, the novelist Elizabeth Bowen, the Titanic victim Eddie Colley and the ancestors of the actors Ralph and Joseph Fiennes.

Beer-swilling with Sev Johnson and Seamus Raben, June 2018.
The Irish Pub – Personal Qualifications

Return to The Irish Pub Contents   The Bottletops   I have long enjoyed a …

A poster made to promote The Irish Pub book.
The Irish Pub – On The Road

Over the course of 2007 and early 2008, James Fennell and I visited every county in Ireland bar Leitrim, popping our heads into an estimated 700 pubs. We undoubtedly missed a heap of brilliant pubs but we returned home with 70 pubs photographed. We subsequently showcased 39 of those in the book, The Irish Pub, published by Thames & Hudson.

Floral stools run the length of the narrow, green bar room, encouraging intimate banter between customer and landlady. Photo: James Fennell.
Murray’s of Maghera, Co. Westmeath

A white-washed 18th century cottage with an asbestos roof boasts one the smallest bars in the land. Behind the counter stands Lizzie, the fourth generation of the Murray women to run the bar. 

Photo: Leon Farrell.
The Irish Pub – Acknowledgements

This book is dedicated to our late friend Alex Davidson, Generosa Defunctus – Nosto Forever. When we put …

Eddie’s mother Mary Somers prided herself on the Guinness Extra Stout which she single-handedly bottled during the Guinness Bi-Centenary of 1959. Photo: James Fennell.
The Irish Pub – Select Bibliography

Return to Contents for The Irish Pub   The following works were consulted during the …

Turtle and James at the launch of The Irish Pub in The Gravity Bar at the Guinness Storehouse, Dublin.
The Irish Pub – The Concept

One day James Fennell proposed that the pair of us put together a book on Irish pubs. We would focus on the old style pubs, the ones that were starting to close down and fade away in every town, village and crossroads we passed through. The sort of pubs where, in the immortal words of one man, you could happily drink a ‘dirty great big black pint in the middle of the day'.

The Irish Pub - The Chosen Pubs
The Irish Pub – The Chosen Pubs

The 39 pubs that ultimately made the book. While the essence of every pub was traditional, we included a shorter chapter examining the more contemporary interpretations of that style. The classifications for urban retreats and rural charm were always vague and there are several pubs who could feasibly fit into either chapter.

AA Drew's Carillon Bells en route from Mostyn House to Chartrhouse. (Photo: Georgina Webb)
The Glorious Madness – Tales of the Irish & the Great War – Foreword

By the time you combine all the Irish or half-Irish who served in the British, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and US armies during World War One, there was probably more than quarter of a million soldiers. As to the number of Irish-born died, 36,000 seems to be the increasingly accepted figure. My book a collection is not a definitive book of Irish involvement in the war. It is simply a collection of Great War stories with an Irish twist

1847 - Contents
1847 – Contents

Introduction 1847: The year it all began Reviews of 1847 Art in 1847   January …

A Narrative of the Life of Benjamin Benson, Emancipated by the English Government, August 1, 1838, and Subsequently Sold as a Slave in the United States of America' was published in 1847.
Benjamin Benson – A Bermudan Evangelical in Ireland

The lesser known Irish connections to a former black slave who wrote ‘A Narrative of the Life of Benjamin Benson, Emancipated by the English Government, August 1, 1838, and Subsequently Sold as a Slave in the United States of America,' published in 1847.

I come from Alabama with my banjo on my knee;
I’m goin’ to Louisiana my true love for to see.

It rained all night the day I left, the weather it was dry;
The sun so hot I froze to death, Susanna, don’t you cry.

Oh! Susanna, don’t you cry for me;
I come from Alabama with my banjo on my knee.
—Stephen Foster, ‘Oh! Susanna’
Stephen Collins Foster (1826-1864) – Musical Pioneer

Stephen Foster was one of America’s best-loved composers in the 19th century, writing more than 200 songs, including his smash hit, ‘Oh! Susanna', the comic ‘Camptown Races’, the haunting ‘Hard Times Come Again No More’ and the hugely successful ‘Old Folks at Home (Swanee River)’, which sold an unprecedented 100,000 copies and became the official state song of Florida. His roots were Irish and, of course, there's 1847 all over this one too.

'Living in Sri Lanka' was published by Thames & Hudson in 2005. Find the book on Amazon here. 
Living in Sri Lanka (Contents)

On the eve of the 2004 tsunami, Turtle teamed up with James and Joanna Fennell to track down 26 beautiful and diverse mountain retreats, coastal villas and townhouses on the island of Sri Lanka. The result was a gorgeous hardcover book that gave a tremendous account of why Sri Lanka is regarded as one of the foremost beacons for 21st century style.

Aman Resorts, Sri Lanka
Amancipate Yourself – Aman Resorts, Sri Lanka

Amanresorts, one of the world's most stylish hotel groups, has two sumptuous resorts on Sri Lanka's south coast.

Easter Dawn was one of the most successful books to arise over the course of the centenary commemorations of the Easter Rising, with positive reviws in newspapers such as the Irish Times and the Irish Independent, as well as magazines such as Socialist History. Easons' bookshop placed it in their top five '1916' bestsellers of the year. Turtle helped to promote the book through a series of talks nationwide with the 'Paths to Freedom' roadshow, as well as a major talk in Chicago on 30 June.
Easter Dawn – Reviews

“Bunbury writes with the flair of a story teller, the detail of an historian, and the empathy of a friend. He brings people to life with their environmental and genetic influences explained, allowing us to easily place ourselves in the shoes of others … In rapid fire he introduces the Rising’s contributors in eminently readable fashion …” and other reviews.

Easter Dawn was one of the most successful books to arise over the course of the centenary commemorations of the Easter Rising, with positive reviws in newspapers such as the Irish Times and the Irish Independent, as well as magazines such as Socialist History. Easons' bookshop placed it in their top five '1916' bestsellers of the year. Turtle helped to promote the book through a series of talks nationwide with the 'Paths to Freedom' roadshow, as well as a major talk in Chicago on 30 June.
Easter Dawn – The 1916 Rising (Contents)

Easter Dawn was one of the most successful books to arise over the course of the centenary commemorations of the Easter Rising, with positive reviews in newspapers such as the Irish Times and the Irish Independent, as well as magazines such as Socialist History. Easons' bookshop placed it in their top five ‘1916' bestsellers of the year.

A full-length photograph of The Rahilly, the 1916 rebel leader, hangs behind an old National cash till. Photo: James Fennell.
Easter Dawn – An Introduction to the 1916 Rising

The Irish Republic was conceived by dreamers and poets but harnessed by the methodical minds of the IRB. When the time came for the leaders to face the firing squads, one wonders whether they anticipated that their very executions would convert the legacy of the Easter Rising from being an ill-timed failure into the catalyst that prompted a huge number of Irish to abandon their ambivalence and pin their colours to the cause of Irish nationalism.

Adare Manor - An Epicurean Journey
Adare Manor – An Epicurean Journey

In his second collaboration with Adare Manor, Turtle traces the swift and remarkable voyage that has established it as one of Ireland’s principal culinary landmarks, its Michelin Star confirmed in 2022.

Condé Nast Traveler: Gold List 2021;  Condé Nast Traveler, Europe's No. 1 Resort  2019;  Ireland's Leading Hotel 2018, 2019, 2020 World Travel Awards
Adare Manor – The Renaissance of an Irish Country House

Turtle Bunbury’s 2020 book traces Adare Manor’s journey from its origins as a medieval manor house in County Limerick to its 21st-century status as a multi-award-winning, luxury five-star resort and venue for the 2027 Ryder Cup.

The Irish Diaspora
The Irish Diaspora – Tales of Emigration, Exile & Imperialism

I was utterly elated by the first review of my 2021 book, ‘The Irish Diaspora,’ from BBC History Magazine, the UK’s biggest selling history magazine: ‘This fascinating assortment of case histories, spread across 1,400 years and six continents, is an impressive feat of research … The summaries of often-complex historical background to the lives explored are models of lucid compression.' Here's some further detail.

The Centenary of Naas Racecourse
The Centenary of Naas Racecourse (1924-2024) – Contents

The contents for the book ‘The Centenary of Naas Racecourse (1924-2024) – Nursery of Champions', published in 2023.

7 Henrietta Street,
Tenement Life on Dublin's Henrietta Street

May Malone, the eldest of ten children, was born in 1945 and spent the first decade of her life growing up in a single room on the top floor of a decrepit four-storey townhouse, No. 7 Henrietta Street. She shared this one small room with her parents, her grandmother, her uncle and four of her younger siblings. This is her account of tenement life.

Turtle speaking at launch of Waterways Ireland's Ten-Year Plan, 2023. Photo: Mark Stedman.
Waterways Ireland 10-Year Plan Launch

On 29 November 2023, Turtle delivered the guest speech at the launch of Waterways Ireland's Ten-Year Plan at the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin.

A Historical Odyssey through Dublin’s Literary Pubs

The pub and the pen have always gone hand in hand, especially in Dublin. That’s why the city is so celebrated for its playwrights and poets and authors from Jonathan Swift to Oscar Wilde to Flann O'Brien to Sally Rooney. That's why Dublin is a UNESCO City of Literature, with an annual Book Festival; why three of the bridges that span the Liffey are named for writers; why it offers one of the richest literary prizes in the world; why Dublin was home to all four Irish-born winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature and why it has connections to all six of Ireland's Booker Prize winners. This story explores the pub side of things.

Tim McClintock Bunbury (1881-1937), 3rd Baron Rathdonnell
Tim McClintock Bunbury (1881-1937), 3rd Baron Rathdonnell

Tim became heir apparent to Lisnavagh and the lordship of Rathdonnell, after his brother Billy was killed in the Anglo-Boer War. As a young man, he was Private Secretary to the Governors of Ceylon and Fiji, and the High Commissioner of Australia. A key figure at the Imperial Institute, he served in the war in East Africa, Italy and Carinthia, now Slovenia. His only child was my grandfather.

Oakley Park
Maunsell of Oakley Park, Celbridge, County Kildare

A heroic defence of a Waterford against Cromwell's army earned the Maunsell family respect from the Irish when they first settled in the mid 17th century. During the Georgian Age, they rose to prominence in Limerick, as bankers, politicians and Mayors. In the arly 18th century, they moved to Oakley Park, from where they married into the Orpen family. Today the house is run by the St John of Gods.

From the 'Past Tracks' panel that Turtle installed in Limerick railway station in 2020, illustrated by Derry Dillon.
Tenducci: The Italian Castrato & His Irish Wife

True love, abduction, betrayal, attempted murder, a wrathful father, an illegitimate child. With backdrops like Georgian Dublin, the craggy shores of County Clare and the remote hills of Tuscany, it plays out like a readymade movie. And to cap it all, the handsome Italian at the centre of it all is a eunuch or, in operatic terminology, a castrato. This is opera but not as you know it.

Billy Bunbury's portrait at Lisnavagh.
Billy Bunbury, aka 2nd Lieutenant William McClintock Bunbury (1878-1900)

Billy Bunbury was next-in-line to succeed his father as Lord Rathdonnell when a bullet ended his life in South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War. Billy, who stroked the Eton Eights to victory in the Ladies Plate at Henley twice in 1896 and 1897, was one of the youngest officers to die in the war.

The Altar of St. John by Rogier van der Weyden (c.1400–1464), from a c. 1455 oil-on-oak wood panel altarpiece now in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin. This panel shows the beheading of John, with Salome receiving the disembodied head on a plate.
The Forgotten Cult of St John the Baptist in Medieval Ireland by Michael Brabazon & Turtle Bunbury

Following his seizure of the High Kingship of Ireland in 1120, Turlough O’Connor, King of Connacht, and the O’Duffys, attempted to establish Tuam, County Galway, as a new political and spiritual capital. As part of the project, a new priory-hospital was dedicated to St John the Baptist. This became the centre of a cult that brought bonfires and holy wells to all parts of Ireland but its story became blurred when it was confused with a later order that became known as the Fratres Cruciferi.

Sir John Wogan, Justiciar of Ireland, based on George Victor Du Noyer’s reproduction of the Waterford Charter Roll of 1373. Sir John was granted Kilkea in 1305 and his heirs would live in the castle for over one hundred years.
Kilkea Castle – (3) The Wogan Years (1305-1425)

By 1305, Sir John Wogan was the most influential man in Ireland. As a reward, King Edward I of England gifted him Kilkea Castle and its manor lands. The property was also of much interest to the FitzGerald family, now Earls of Kildare, who were partly descended from the de Ridelesfords. Meanwhile, the Pale itself soon became one of the bloodiest battlegrounds on the island of Ireland.

Joe Biden and Teddy Kennedy
The Irish and the White House

The White House was built by a fellow from Kilkenny and burned down by a man from Down. At least 22 of its presidential occupants had Irish roots, as did numerous other founding fathers and leading political figures in US history.

Reflections on Irish Identity in 2023
Reflections on Irish Identity in 2023

Considering the impact of Ireland abroad from ‘The Banshees of Inisherin' to St Patrick's Day to Mick Lynch and the Trade Unions, as well as the historical precedent behind the Biden presidency's support of the Good Friday agreement and the Irish diaspora around the world.

Rockhopper Penguin (Eudyptes chrysocome) on their way to the colony, Falkland Islands, South Atlantic Ocean
Falkland of the Islands

Musings upon the Monaghan and Tyrone connections to Viscount Falkland and the islands that bear his name.

Kilkea Castle - Further Reading
Kilkea Castle – Further Reading

In terms of source material, as well as the persons acknowledged here, I salute the …

This was one of the draft covers for the Kilkea book. 

Pre-1170 	O’Toole (ua Tuathail) sept.
1170s-1290s	De Ridelesford
1290s-1304	De Iverthorn 
1305-1425	Wogan
1420s-1534	FitzGerald, Earl of Kildare
1534-1547	Butler / Eustace
1547-1556	Peppard
1556-1634	FitzGerald, Earl of Kildare
1634-1646	The Jesuit Order
1647-1668	FitzGerald, Earl of Kildare
1668-1675	Brabazon, Earl of Meath
1675-1679	Jennings
1679-1706	Browne
1706-1797	Dickson / Dixon
1797-1798	Reynolds
1798-1840	Caulfield
1840-1849	Lalor / Lawlor
1849-1949	FitzGerald, Marquess of Kildare
1949-1960	FitzGerald, Duke of Leinster
1961-1966	Draddy
1966-1973	Cade
1971-1975	Chapman
1975-1987	Shanley
1988-2010	Conway
2010-present	Cashman
Kilkea Castle – Acknowledgments

The Kilkea Castle book was a deep dive into the history of the FitzGerald family, as well as many other remarkable people and families associated with it. In the historical process, consultation is key. I was blessed by a magnificent cast of kind and supportive hands to help me shape, enhance, verify and enrich these tales.

The explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton was born in Kilkea House in 1874.
Sir Ernest Shackleton – By Endurance, We Conquer

An astonishing lesson in leadership from the Irishman whose attempt to cross the Antarctic by land left him with the immense challenge of leading his 27 crewmen on a godforsaken adventure through the world's most hellish waters and an uncharted mountain range.

The Pitons of St Lucia, where Thomas Bunbury was Governor.
Bunbury of Cloghna, Cranavonane & Marlston

Descended from a younger son of Benjamin Bunbury of Killerrig, this branch settled in the region of the River Barrow in County Carlow. One ran The Bear Inn in Carlow. Another was a wine merchant on Bow Street, Dublin, who intermarried with the Mill family, wine merchants of Exeter. This marriage brought them to Marlston House, Berkshire. Family members include a leading diplomat in New Zealand, a Governor of St Lucia and a Privy Chamberlain to Pope Pius XI, as well as the ancestors of the Versturme Bunburys and the Guyana branch.

One of the best-known photographs from Niall’s book is a close-up shot of him driving a van called the Band Wagon with a glassy-eyed David Bowie sparking up a cigarette on the seat behind him. Niall was Bowie’s driver from 29th July - 19th August 1991 . They were headed to to Desmond Guinness’s house in Leixlip, he told me. Anyway, a few weeks after Niall’s book was launched I took an old friend out for lunch. That sounds a little too like Hannibal Lecter. Let me rephrase. In early September 2017, I drove to Gorey and picked up a senior gentleman by name of DG from the Oakwood Nursing Home where he has been resident for the past decade. I knew him quite well when I was in my early 20s. Over lunch at Marlfield and he told me, among other tales, about the time he spent hanging with the Rolling Stones and Bowie, in the USA and in Ireland. Fun tales; he rates Keith Richards as the pick of them all. Anyway, when I returned DG to his room at the very end of a long corridor (which he calls ‘The Boulevard of Broken Dreams’) I chanced to see a large photograph framed above his bed that stopped me in my tracks. Niall Power driving a van with Bowie in the back, except this time the photo was bigger than Niall's version and had a few other men in it. ‘Why on earth do you have that?’ I asked. ‘Look who’s in it?’ he said. I looked again and I saw Niall and Bowie and a man in a checkered jacket who was also lighting a cigarette. It was DG! He had no idea who Niall was, other than the driver, but when I sent him Niall’s story, he quickly responded: ‘I little realized what a physical phenomenon I was sitting next to that day.’ Also in the van beside Bowie was Ronnie Wood, to whose house Niall drove the Band Wagon the following day, and beside DG was Oliver Musker.
Niall Power: Timing is Everything

I met Niall in a swimming pool. He told me he’d grown up on the Curragh and listening to marching bands inspired him to become a drummer. I slowly worked out that he was a professional drummer who had performed alongside Bob Geldof for years, as well as Johnny Logan and Westlife. My admiration for Niall mushroomed when I realised that he showed up at that pool every morning because he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and he was utterly determined to outfox the brute.

Photo: James Fennell
Betty Scott (1923-2013) – The Inspiration for the Vanishing Ireland project

The story of Betty Scott, who started work at Lisnavagh as a parlourmaid in 1941 and was the housekeeper from 1959 throughout my young life until she retired in 2007. Without Betty's influence, the Vanishing Ireland project would never have happened.

Jack Lowry – Blacksmith of the Slieve Blooms
Jack Lowry – Blacksmith of the Slieve Blooms

A blacksmith from near Mountrath, County Laois, recalls the Big Snow of 1932 and how the forge was the community hub before the advent of tractors and rural electrification.

It was Michael Cotter’s belief that the Murphy brothers had been defended in court by Daniel O’Connell, the great Catholic Emancipator. However, extensive searches through the newspapers of this time failed to produce any evidence of this. It is also unlikely given that O’Connell was staunchly opposed to the Whiteboys; he described them as 'miscreants' and urged for them to be wiped out.
Daniel O'Connell (1775-1847) – The Liberator

An overview of one of the most towering figures in Irish history, a pioneer of pacifism through his monster meetings, and winner of emancipation for the top level of Catholics in Irish society. This story commences with his role in a deadly duel, a fatal event that haunted him for the remainder of his life.

Half Nutz, trained by  Johnny Murtagh and ridden by Danny Sheehy, contests The Handicap at Naas on 6 November 2022.
Naas – Nursery of Champions: Introduction

At least 6,000 races have been run at Naas since 1924. Each competing horse has four components – the jockey, the trainer, the owner and the horse itself, with all its past and future history. As such, the selection of stories told in this book is but a microcosm of all that has passed. I hope it helps to showcase the way in which this magical racecourse has evolved since its founding fathers came together.

Above: Johnstown House, near Carlow Town, 2020.
Bunbury of Johnstown House, County Carlow, Ireland

A branch of the Bunbury family lived at Johnstown House outside Carlow town for most of the 18th and early 19th century. This account looks at such characters as the travel writer Selina Bunbury and the pioneering postmaster Sir Henry Noel Bunbury, as well as connections to the Irish Volunteers, William Pitt, Charles Darwin, Sir Francis Galton, Oscar Wilde, the Conellan family and sub-branches in Liverpool, Essex, Miami and Cuba.

Jack Cade's Rebellion, depicted in a mural of the history of the Old Kent Road.
The Gough Family – Irish War Heroes

A family with several Victoria Crosses and a Field Marshal to their name, the Goughs started out as clergymen in County Limerick before becoming imperial warriors with the British Empire.

Photo: James Fennell
Atty Dowling (1916-2005) – Farm Labourer, Tobinstown, Co. Carlow

Atty worries that times had gone ‘nearly too good'. ‘People get everything so handy! In my young day, no one could fall out with anyone because you didn't know the minute or the hour or the day you might have to turn to that person. But now, every one is gone independent, even the poor people, us poor people, and we hardly know who lives next door.'

The dresses worn by Kate Rathdonnell and her eldest daughter Isabella at the latter's wedding to Forrester Colvin in 1894.
The Life & Times of Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury, 2nd Baron Rathdonnell, of Lisnavagh, County Carlow – Part 2 (1879-1913)

Taking the story from his succession as 2nd Baron Rathdonnell in 1879 and the complexities of the Land Wars, through the glory days of Anchor, Bluebeard and the other Lisnavagh bulls, plus the marriage of his daughters, the death of Billy in the Anglo-Boer War and up to the eve of the Great War.

Cropped from a photo by Ciaran Smyth.
Rise & Fall: The Maguire Kings of Fermanagh

Fifteen Maguires were crowned as Kings of Fermanagh between 1264 and 1589. The region was, by and large, stable for those three centuries. The Maguires were exceptionally progressive, their households replete with historians, poets and learned men. They were also benefactors of the Christian church, introducing new orders, endowing churches and embarking on pilgrimages to Rome and Santiago de Compostella in Spain.

Illustrated by Derry Dillon
The Normans on the Irish Waterways

Within 30 years of their arrival in Ireland, the Normans had built a network of castles along the River Barrow and were making moves to do the same up the River Shannon. At their peak, they would establish motte and bailey fortresses as far north as Clones and Lough Erne.

Turlough O’Connor, High King of the Waterways
Turlough O’Connor, High King of the Waterways

One of the most remarkable figures in early medieval Irish history, Turlough was one of just two O’Connors to reign as High King of Ireland, holding the throne for an impressive 35 years. His cores strength was a vast fleet that dominated Irish waterways. Away from war, he also built numerous bridges, redirected two Irish rivers and endeavoured to establish Tuam as a New Jerusalem.

Viking Warrior - Yomogun
The Vikings on Irish Waterways

In the medieval period, rivers and lakes were the principal highways that people used to get around. However, what happens when a darker force gains access to those same waterways? A force whose sole game-plan seems to be to raid and plunder and generally go on the rampage? The Vikings would be one of the most powerful influences on Irish life for the bones of 400 years.

The Altartate Cauldron in the Prehistoric Ireland exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin. The find suggests the continuation of certain Later Bronze Age traditions into the Early Iron Age although its form differs from that of Later Bronze Age cauldrons. A band of ornament below the rim, which may be compared closely with that found on certain Early Iron Age spears, suggests that the wooden cauldron may have been carved during the 2nd century BC. See also image on this page of WIlliam Mealiff.

(With thanks to Matthew Gallagher).
A History of Bishopscourt, Clones, Co. Monaghan

Built as a rectory for the Church of Ireland during the Napoleonic Wars, Bishopscourt was considered such a fine abode that two Bishops of Clogher opted to use it as their main place of residence during the first decades of the 20th century. This tale takes in the Lennard family, scions of a natural daughter of Charles II, as well as Cassandra Hand, champion of Clones Lace; the dairying enterprise of the Mealiff family; the fabulously named Baldwin Murphy; and the enigmatic Archie Moore, Consultant Surgeon at Monaghan General Hospital.

Section of Mount Edgcumbe Panorama (Men-of-War and other vessels on Hamoaze) c.1779
Peart Robinson of Burnley & Chatburn, Lancashire

A cast that includes the extraordinary Dutch SOE operative Door de Graaf,  the homeopathic surgeon Dr Drysdale, the German novelist Wilhelm Christoph von Polenz, a bailiff of Clithero, a pioneer of the Arts and Craft movement (John Gorges Robinson), the directors of Craven Bank and my great-grandmother's family.

The Palatines in Ireland
The Palatines in Ireland

In 1709, just over 3,000 mostly Protestant refugees from Germany's Palatine region sailed for Ireland. Their descendants include the families of Switzer, Wyse, Keppel, Cooke, Young , Embury, Miller, Teskey, Baker, Poff and Gleasure. This article looks at the origins and impact of that Palatine emigration.

The banker Thomas Finlay who bought Corkagh House from the Chaigneau family.
Finlay of Corkagh House, Clondalkin

The saga of a family who flee Scotland with the downfall of Mary, Queen of Scots, and make their fortune in Ireland through private banking and a useful cousin that happens to own a handful of iron mines in Sweden. Covering events such as the 1798 Rising and Robert Emmet’s Rebellion, the story ends in tragedy with the death in war of the last three Finlay sons of Corkagh House, County Dublin.

In 1975, four generations of FitzGeralds gathered at Langston House, Chadlington, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. L-R: Gerald (8th Duke of Leinster), with his grandson Thomas on his lap, seated near his father, the 7th Duke, with Maurice, the present duke standing in between. Joshua Reynolds’s portrait of the 2nd Duke is on the wall behind them.
Kilkea Castle 8 – Nightfall (1887-1961)

The FitzGeralds would face no end of challenges during the opening decades of the 20th century with two tragic deaths and the loss of a huge portion of their ancestral wealth. However, with the birth of the Irish Free State, Kilkea Castle in County Kildare remained home for many FitzGerald sons and daughters through both wars until 1961 when sold by the 8th Duke of Leinster.

Photo: James Fennell.
John Abbott (1931-2017) – Farmer – Carrigallen, County Leitrim

‘The Troubles?’ smiles John. ‘Jesus, there’d be n’er a word of them until there was an election and then, sitting by the fireside at night, you’d hear the whole lot!’

McClelland of Glasnevin & Henry Street, Dublin
McClelland of Glasnevin & Henry Street, Dublin

From a drapers shop on Henry Street, Dublin, to the postmastership of Glasnevin, this story looks at the family of Florence McClelland (1881- 1962) who, by her marriage in 1905 to John Craigie, was grandmother to Miriam Moore, née Craigie, my mother-in-law, and thus the great-great grandmother to our daughters. 

Death of Sir Hector Maclean
Alexander McClintock of Trintaugh, County Donegal – The First Settler

It is said that the first of the family to come to Ireland was an Alexander McClintock who arrived in Donegal 1597. A mercenary, perhaps, who fought during the Nine Years War? And yet it seems more likely he arrived as part of a settlement arranged by Bishop Knox of Raphoe circa 1620s. The first known McClintock home was a farm at Trintaugh near the River Foyle. They built the nearby church at Taughboyne. This page seeks to flesh out what we know of these early settlers.


The name ‘Brava’, meaning wild or rugged, was coined by a Catalonian journalist a century ago but it did not look remotely perilous the day we bunny-hopped down the coast. For the most part, it was serene coves, fertile slopes, pebbly beaches and medieval turrets with occasional eruptions of seaside resorts in between. Perfect for sitting with sundowners, watching thedoves flutter in the treetops and the glittering ocean beyond slowly submerge itself into darkness for another night.

Le Famille in Languedoc.
Home Exchange in Languedoc

In the hot summer of 2022, the Bunbury famille headed off to Languedoc for a week, where we enjoyed bright blue swimming pools, megalithic wine, a boat tour on the Canal due Midi, a stroll on the walls of Carcassonne and a sole-burning trip to Aqualand. Our lovely home for the week came via

McClintock of Kilwarlin, County Down & Glendaragh, County Antrim
McClintock of Kilwarlin, County Down & Glendaragh, County Antrim

Major Stanley McClintock (1812-1898), JP   When he died in 1898, the Northern Whig described …

Man and Tiger, a lino-cut by Diana Drew, from 1927.
Diana Drew (1912-1978)

Educated at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art in London, Diana was a teenage prodigy whose works appeared at the successful British Lino-Cuts exhibitions in 1929, 1930 and 1931. A passionate yachtswoman and supporter of the Westmorland Tories, she became a Land Girl during the Second World War and devoted much of her time to looking after her mother, Sylvia Drew.

Spotlight on Belfast - City of Music & Joy
Spotlight on Belfast – City of Music & Joy

National Geographic Traveller (UK) have marked Belfast on its prestigious Cool List 2024. Northern Ireland's progressive capital, developed as a mighty port and industrial centre during the 18th and 19th centuries. “Belfast's heart beats fervidly with music, it is in our DNA”, says Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody.  In 2021, the city was awarded prestigious UNESCO City of Music status, while a Belfast-based group of artists and activists won the 2021 Turner Prize. In 2022, Kenneth Branagh's movie ‘Belfast' racked up seven Academy Award nominations. The city is on the up.

Jack McClintock Bunbury
The Hon. Jack Bunbury (1851-1893)

Thought to be the inspiration behind Oscar Wilde’s famous ‘Bunbury’, Jack Bunbury was a remarkable oarsman who won many trophies for Eton and Oxford. He also enjoyed acting, not least during his service with the Royal Scots Greys in the 1870s. His life spiralled when he was caught up in the Land Wars, after which he moved to England. The death of his only son, aged 11, in 1892 was followed by his own premature demise a year later. This account also looks at his wife Myra, of the famous Watson hunting dynasty, and her second husband, Baron Max de Tuyll.

Trainer Henry de Bromhead, his wife Heather, left, and winning jockey Rachael Blackmore after Honeysuckle won the Mares' Hurdle. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile.
Chapter 12: Naas Races 2020-2023

From ‘The Centenary of Naas Racecourse (1924-2024) – Nursery of Champions’ by Turtle Bunbury. Back …

Alan Appleby Drew  (1884-1915)
Alan Appleby Drew  (1884-1915)

My hairbrush once belonged to Alan Drew, my father's great-uncle, who was killed in one of those pointless over-the-top charges in World War One. Prior to his death, Alan taught at Mostyn House (the school near Liverpool where he studied as a boy), learned how to march in Glasgow and spent several years in Shanghai around the time the last Emperor fell from power. Alan's memory was enshrined in a carillon of bells that now rings at Charterhouse School in memory of almost 700 Old Carthusians who died in the war.

The River Derreen at Acaun. Photo: Turtle Bunbury (2021)
The Monastic Townland of Acaun, County Carlow

Located just east of the Lisnavagh farmyard, Acaun is the smallest of Carlow County's 603 townlands. This account considers the origins of its monastery, mill-race and castle and touches on its connections to people such as Alice Kyteler, Bishop Ledred and Edmund Butler, Earl of Carrick.

Heinz Johannsen turned 87 years old in 2022.
The German Boy & the Irish Soldier

Heinz Johannsen is on the hunt for an Irishman called Pat, ‘a gentleman’ who liked singing and swimming. Pat was in the Royal Air Force. In fact, he served with the RAF during and after the Second World War. That’s when he and Heinz became friends …

Jimmy Murphy, farmer, of Ballinskelligs, County Kerry, was born in 1951. Photo: James Fennell.
Jimmy Murphy, Farmer – Ballinskelligs, County Kerry

‘That was a fresh breeze last night,’ says Jimmy Murphy. This is something of an …

You needed a lot of neck to be a sailor in the 1830s. And judging by this portrait of Captain William McClintock Bunbury, he wasn't short of neck. The portrait is held at Lisnavagh, the mansion he commissioned during the 1840s. The portrait suggests a kindly
man whose sea-faring career ensured he was well used to staring into the middle distance.
Captain William McClintock Bunbury, R.N., Part 2: The Sea Years (1813-1835)

In 1813, 13-year-old William McClintock Bunbury joined HMS Ajax as a first-class volunteer, participating in his first sea battle the following year. Over the next two decades he would rise through the naval ranks and travel astonishing distances across the southern hemisphere. Most of this was on board HMS Samarang, a sister ship of HMS Beagle, and Charles Darwin was never far away. Meanwhile, as William IV succeeded George IV, and slavery is abolished, there is pile up of family tragedy in store … 

Naas Roll of Honour

Between 2020 and 2023, National Hunt horses that ran at Naas also won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the King George VI Chase, the Aintree Grand National, the Cheltenham Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, the Cheltenham Triumph Hurdle and the Queen Mother Champion Chase, twice. On the Flat, they also scooped the Epsom Derby, the Epsom Oaks, the English 2,000 Guineas, the English 1,000 Guineas, the Melbourne Cup and four Breeders’ Cups.

Joe Biden with Father Richard Gibbons, rector of Knock Shrine, touching the original gable wall of the church at the Knock Shrine in County Mayo, Ireland, April 14, 2023.
Joe Biden’s Irish Roots

Joe Biden is arguably the most ‘Irish' president to have occupied the White House. He enjoyed an especially successful visit to Ireland in April 2023, his third since 2016. This is an ongoing exploration of his engineering forebears and his ancestral roots, including affiliated lines of the Scanlon, Blewitt, Finnegan, Arthur, Boyle and Roche families.

Kilruddery House, Bray, County Wicklow,  in the 19th century.
Brabazon of Killruddery, County Wicklow – Earls of Meath, Barons Ardee

The Brabazons came to prominence during the Tudor conquest of Ireland when Henry VIII dispatched the shrewd Sir William Brabazon to Ireland as Vice-Treasurer. He established the family at Killruddery and his grandson was created 1st Earl of Meath in 1627. Over the next 300 years, the family would consolidate their influence in Wicklow, Ireland and the wider world of the British Empire.

Monuments to the Stuart kings in the crypt of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
Dublin 8 – A Neighbourhood to Appreciate

A whistle-stop guide to the sights and sounds of Dublin 8, the Liffey-side neighbourhood that was voted 15th Coolest in the World in 2021.

James and Margaret Moore with their eight sons and daughter Irene.
Moore of Loughall, County Armagh

Profiling the Moore family, ancestors of my fair wife Ally, who were flax-growers in County Armagh before making their mark in the world of railways, airplanes and medicine, with a focus on Tom Moore the huntsman, James Moore the blacksmith, Pilot Officer Stanley Moore and the surgeon Archie Moore.

A lime-wood rendition of the coat of arms, which was made in 2019 by Sarah Goss. (With thanks to Alex Watson)
McClintock of Newtown (Louth) & Seskinore (Tyrone)

This branch of the family descend from Alexander McClintock (1746-1796) of Newtown, County Louth, whose son Samuel succeeded to the Perry family home of Perrymount, also known as Seskinore, in County Tyrone. The story culminates in a sad episode in the 1930s, as well as the demolition of Seskinore.

George Colley served at the Bombardment of Algiers in 1816. Painted by George Chambers.
McClintock of Castrues & Prospect Hill, County Donegal

A quick look at a Donegal branch of the family, including Lieutenant Henry McClintock, a protege of Admiral Lord Exmouth, who died before he could achieve his ambitions.

De Burgh of Oldtown, Co. Kildare
De Burgh of Oldtown, Co. Kildare

Reputedly descended from Charlemagne, the de Burgh's role in Irish affairs has been immense since the first knights who cantered across the seas in the 12th century. The Oldtown branch was established in Kildare 325 years ago by Thomas Burgh, a brilliant military engineer. His descendants include the Georgian politicians Walter Hussey Burgh and John Foster, General Sir Eric de Burgh, the singer Chris de Burgh and the 2003 Miss World, Rosanna Davison.

Tom Bunbury, 2nd Baron Rathdonnell  with his wife, Kate (née Bruen), courtesy of Hugh Dalgety.
The Life & Times of Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury, 2nd Baron Rathdonnell of Lisnavagh, County Carlow – Part 3 (1914-1929)

Following the final quarter of a century of Tom Rathdonnell's life from the outbreak of the First Word War through the Irish revolutionary period to the Wall Street Crash.

I think this is Tom dressed in sporting whites at Eton.
The Life & Times of Thomas Kane McClintock Bunbury, 2nd Baron Rathdonnell, of Lisnavagh, County Carlow – Part 1 (1848-1878)

The Formative Years – Tom McClintock Bunbury (1848-1929) would become probably the most influential member of the Irish branch of the family in history. This section looks at his childhood, his Eton education, his time in the Scots Greys, the death of his parents and sisters, his marriage to Kate Bruen and his position as heir apparent to his uncle, the 1st Baron Rathdonnell.

Murder of a Wife, the death of Molly Bunbury.
Bunbury of Lisbryan, Spiddal, Woodville … and Borneo

This branch of the main Lisnavagh family initially settled between County Tipperary and Connemara. Descendants include a man who held the world record for shorthand writing, the Borneo settler for whom the Bunbury Shoals are named and the unfortunate Molly Bunbury who was murdered by her doctor husband in 1886.

Morristown Lattin was designed by William Deane Butler.
Mansfield of Morristown Lattin, County Kildare

The Mansfield family have been in Ireland at least since the 12th century. Penalized for their Catholicism in the 17th century, fortune returned when they married the sole heiresses of the Eustace and Lattin families, as well as a fortune from the Danish colony of St. Croix in the Virgin Islands. Latter day characters associated with the family include the parachuter Major Richard Mansfield, children’s author Brownie Downing and Fine Gael politician Gerard Sweetman.

H.W. Bunbury. A soldier leaving tavern is confronted by an officer.
Bunbury Baronets in England (1618-1886)

A quick overview of the Bunbury baronets in England, including the Jacobite supporter Sir Harry Bunbury and the family of Sir Charles Bunbury, Admiral of the Turf, and Henry William Bunbury, the artist.

Close up of the man I believe to be Captain William McClintock Bunbury.
Captain William McClintock Bunbury, Part 3: Lisnavagh House & Westminster MP (1835-1866)

This part takes up from William’s retirement from the navy, after 20 years at sea, and the complete revolution in his life in 1846 when, in the space of 5 weeks, he succeeded to his wealthy uncle’s fortune and became MP for Carlow, just as Peel’s government collapsed and the potato blight began to scorch the land. It looks at his sojourn in County Fermanagh, his marriage into the Stronge family of Tynan Abbey, his political term at Westminster and the construction of Lisnavagh House.

Little Moyle, County Carlow.
Colonel Kane Bunbury (1777-1874) & the Kane-Smith Family of Moyle and Rathmore, County Carlow

Dismissed from the British Army after a court martial in 1823, Kane moved to Moyle, Kellistown, County Carlow, where he became one of Ireland’s principal cattle breeders. From 1865 until his death aged 97 in 1874, he lived at Rathmore Park, also in Carlow. Although he died unmarried, it seems that Colonel Bunbury did not die without issue: hence, the Kane Smith. Also into this colourful mix can be added Willie Wilde, brother of Oscar, and Vera, Countess of Rosslyn, as well as the late architect, Jeremy Williams.

Benjamin Bunbury the magistrate, close up.
The Magistrate: Benjamin Bunbury (1751-1823) of Moyle & Killerig

Benjamin Bunbury was one of the younger sons of Thomas Bunbury of Kill but the death in a horse fall of his older brother William propelled him into the deep end as he took over the running of Lisnavagh, as well as Moyle and Killerrig, on behalf of his young nephew. He earned himself a reputation as something of a diplomat during the 1798 Rebellion but narrowly avoided being murdered by the Finnegan gang shortly before his death at the age of 72 .

Benjamin Bunbury (1642-1707), the first of the family to settle at Killerrig. Courtesy of Camilla Corrie of Leighton Hall, Shropshire, England.
Benjamin Bunbury (1642-1707) of Killerig, Lisnavagh & Tobinstown, County Carlow

Looking at the life of the first of the family to truly settle in County Carlow, where he acquired Killerrig, Lisnavagh and Tobinstown, as well as his connections to the Dukes of Ormonde, Philip Wharton and some lousy days for a Quaker sheep-farmer by name of Thomas Cooper. 

Bunbury Bridge on the Barrow Navigation between Athy and Carlow.
Bunbury of Ardnahue & Liverpool

A lesser-known branch of the Bunbury tree is a Roman Catholic family of that name who lived in Ardnehue and Benekerry, near Johnstown, County Carlow, during the 18th and 19th century, from which outliers spread into Liverpool and Australia, and possibly Wisconsin and New Brunswick.

A sketch of William McClintock Bunbury as he would later become, by William Smyth, the future admiral. Beneath it is written:
‘My old messmate in Samarang. Wm Bunbury McClintock. 1834.'
Given that Smyth's sketch book is only 15cm by 9cm, the detail is excellent. (Courtesy of John McClintock, Redhall).
Captain William McClintock Bunbury, R.N., Part 1: The Early Years (1800-1818)

The childhood years of the improbably named Captain William Bunbury McClintock Bunbury, who built the present house at Lisnavagh in the 1840s. Born in 1800, he lost his mother to a horse-fall the following year. His new stepmother was a sister of one of the most powerful men in Europe after the fall of Napoleon. Educated at Gosport in Hampshire, William entered the Royal Navy aged 13 in 1813.

A miniature portrait of Thomas
Bunbury as a young boy, presumably about
the time of his father's death.
Thomas Bunbury III of Lisnavagh (1775-1846), MP for Carlow

A chronological account of the bachelor Thomas Bunbury, eldest son of William Bunbury III of Lisnavagh and his wife Katherine (née Kane), taking in the tragic deaths of his father and sister, his time at Oxford, his connections to Bath and his role as an MP and magistrate in County Carlow on the eve of the Great Hunger.

John McClintock, 1st BAron Rathdonnell
John McClintock, 1st Baron Rathdonnell (1798-1879)

John McClintock, who inherited Drumcar House, County Louth, in 1855, launched a series of mostly unsuccessful campaigns to represent County Louth at Westminster. He served just one term from 1857-9, but he caught the eye of Benjamin Disraeli and was created Baron Rathdonnell in 1868. This story follows his life and times, his links to the Bunbury family, and his marriage to Anne Lefroy.

Viscount Gough's statue by the Dublin-born sculptor John Henry Foley and his assistant Thomas  Brock. It was was badly damaged by a Republican bomber in the 1950s. It is presently held at Chillingham Castle in Northumberland. Would it have survived the 2020 purge of public statues?
Hugh Gough – Of Opium Wars & the Punjabi Sikhs

Hugh Gough commanded in more battles than any other British soldier of the nineteenth century save for his fellow Irishman, the Duke of Wellington. This included his victories in the Opium War and the Anglo-Sikh Wars. His mother was a Bunbury.

The 2nd Baron Rathdonnell and his wife were buried beneath a Celtic cross in St Mary's Church, Rathvilly, the church built by his ancestors and extended on his father's watch. He opted not to join his parents, sisters and great-uncle Kane Bunbury in the crypt beneath the church. It was unusual to have a Celtic cross in a Church of Ireland graveyard. This one may have been carved by a man called Taylor, who often did crosses for Glasnevin. This photograph was taken while David Halligan, commissioned by my father, was cleaning up the grave in November 2021.
William Bunbury II (1704-1755) of Lisnavagh, co. Carlow

A grandson of the original Benjamin Bunbury of Killerrig, William (known as Billy) inherited Lisnavagh at the age of six, following the premature death of both his parents. He would preside over Lisnavagh for the next forty years, during which time he helped fund the construction of the Protestant church in Rathvilly. This chapter also looks at his sister Elizabeth Bunbury and her connection to the Lockwood, Minchin and Carden families.

Irish Cavalrymen, 17th Regiment of Light Dragoons, in the War of the American Revolution, 1775-1783
Bunbury of Kilfeacle & Shronell, County Tipperary

Following the descendants of Mathew Bunbury (1675-1733), fourth son of Benjamin Bunbury of Killerig, Co Carlow, from Tipperary and Kilkenny to Borneo and Australia, including the family of Field Marshal Lord Roberts and Henry Sadleir Prittie, 1st Baron Dunalley.

The children at Tobinstown School.
The Townland of Tobinstown (in progress)

A working document about the townland south of Lisnavagh and east of Haroldstown, including Tobinstown School and the old pub.

Photo: James Fennell.
Seamus McGrath (1921-2014) – Farmer & Actor – Killerig, County Carlow

‘My grandfather was a bit of a character. A genius in his own right. He made a colossal amount of money in the late 1920s. He could foresee the Depression and sold every animal he had, except the milking cow. A year and a half later, after the crash, he bought them all back for a fraction of the cost.’

John 'Old Turnip' McClintock, father of the 1st Lord Rathdonnell, Captain William
McClintock Bunbury and Kate Gardiner, as well as eight children by his second wife,
Lady Elizabeth McClintock, daughter of the Earl of Clancarty.
John ‘Old Turnip' McClintock (1769-1855) of Drumcar, County Louth

A prominent player in Irish politics during the last years of the Parliament in Dublin, aided by his kinship with John Foster, the last Speaker of the Irish House of Commons and his opposition to the Act of Union, the Brexit of its day. Following the tragic death of his first wife Jane (née Bunbury) in 1801, he married a sister of the 2nd Earl of Clancarty, one of the power houses of European politics after Napoleon’s defeat.

The Trench Family, Earls of Clancarty
The Trench Family, Earls of Clancarty

A remarkable family, descended from a French Huguenot refugee whose grandson established the family at Ballinasloe in County Galway. Headed up by the Earl of Clancarty, its prominent figures include one of the architects of modern Europe after Napoleon's fall, a 20th century UFO expert and a celebrated dancing girl of the Victorian Age. 

Colonel G.A.J. McClintock was a half-brother to Captain William McClintock Bunbury of Lisnavagh.
McClintock of Fellow’s Hall, Co. Armagh and Rathvinden, Co. Carlow

A line of descent from the McClintocks of Drumcar with links to the Curragh Mutiny, the Lonsdale who became Baron Armaghdale, the Tynan Hunt, the Stronge family, a scandalous elopement, the Land Commission that followed the Wyndham Act, and the death of a father and son who were both wartime pilots.

Lady Franklin waits in vain for her husband's return. The child by her side is probably his daughter by a previous marriage.  Illustrated London News, 2 November 1977.
Admiral Sir Leopold McClintock & His Family

An especially accomplished branch of the family, descended from Harry McClintock, Collector of Customs at Dundalk port and uncle of the first Lord Rathdonnell. Harry's son Leopold would find lasting fame as the man who discovered the fate of Sir John Franklin's Arctic expedition, while another son Alfred became Master of the Rotunda. Leopold's children included a naval veteran of Gallipoli, a Royal irish Constable and a New Zealand emigrant, while his grandson was one of the great keepers of Irish language literature.  

Elizabeth I (1533-1603) Queen of England and Ireland from 1558, last Tudor monarch. Version of the Armarda portrait attributed to George Gower c1588. (Photo by: Photo 12/UIG via Getty Images) (Elizabeth I (1533-1603) Queen of England and Ireland from
Thomas Bunbury (1542-1601)

Thomas Bunbury is the first of the family with a proven connection to Ireland, being trustee of Lismore Castle for his half-brother Sir William Stanley in 1585. Thomas was a son of Henry Bunbury, Lord de Bunbury, and his wife Margaret Aldersey. He  succeeded his father to Great Stanney in 1547. His wife Bridget Aston was the scion of a prominent Catholic family.

Photochrom of the Chester Rows as seen from Chester Cross, 1895
Henry Bunbury (1509–1547) of Great Stanny, Lord de Bunbury

Henry succeeded his father in 1540, the year Thomas Cromwell fell from power. His wife Margaret was the sole heiress of Hugh Aldersey, a prosperous merchant who served as Mayor of Chester in 1528, 1541 and 1546.

Werner von Siemens, c. 1847
Werner Siemens & the Gutta-Percha Tree

In the summer of 1847 the young German army engineer Werner Siemens secures a contract from the Prussian Army to lay a subterranean telegraph line insulated, at his suggestion, by sap from the Malaysian gutta-percha tree. By October the innovative genius has established a telegraph company in Berlin that will evolve into the present-day global telecommunications and engineering giant, Siemens AG.

Extract from Taylor & Skinner's map of 1783.
Kilkea Castle, Chapter 6: Hellfire (1668-1837) – The Dixon, Reynolds and Caulfield Years

During the late 17th century, Kilkea Castle in County Kildare was occupied by a series of well-to-do families while the FitzGeralds prepared to move to Carton. In the century thereafter, the dissolute Henry Dixon and the duplicitous Tom Reynolds did not bode well, and Kilkea would be the scene of high drama during the 1798 Rebellion, with Lord Edward FitzGerald centre-stage. Ultimately, it would find calm under the Caulfields before the FitzGeralds resumed control of Kilkea once more.

Magherymore House.
Leslie-Ellis of Magherymore, Co. Wicklow, and County Monaghan

Looking at the family who lived at Magherymore (now spelled Magheramore), near Wicklow Town for a number of generations, and their connections to the US state of Georgia and Cambridge University. Their home is now a St Columban nursing home.

The MacCarthys of Munster
The MacCarthys of Munster

An account of the origins of the McCarthy family, and various branches thereof, plus the miscellaneous and colourful MacCarthy exiles living in France during the 18th century, with reference to the branches at Carrignavar, Gortroe and Spring House.

Mex Poster, 1928
Maxol – The History of an Irish Family Company

Replete with episodes of brilliance, ingenuity, serendipity and success, this sweeping story tells Maxol’s fascinating story from the formative years of the McMullan family 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.

Kilkea Castle (5) - The Geraldine Age, Part II (1537-1773) – Resurrection
Kilkea Castle (5) – The Geraldine Age, Part II (1537-1773) – Resurrection

The FitzGeralds rose from the ashes with the remarkable return of the Wizard Earl of Kildare in the 1550s. Despite a litany of premature deaths, his successors managed to ride out the turmoil of the 17th century intact, extending Kilkea Castle in County Kildare along the way. The castle also served as a Jesuit novitiate for 12 years before being extended in the 1660s. In the 18th century, the great-great-grandson of the Fairy Earl would become the first Duke of Leinster.

Above: Above: A drawing of the new house at Lisnavagh which Redmond Kane's
son-in-law William Bunbury was planning to build when thrown from
his horse and killed in 1778.
William Bunbury III of Lisnavagh (1744-1778)

William was the great-grandson of the first Bunbury to settle in Ireland. He married the heiress  Katherine Kane, shortly before he was elected MP for Carlow in Grattan's Parliament. He was planning to build a new house at Lisnavagh when he was tragically killed in a horse accident in 1778. After his death, his widow took the family to live in Bath until their eldest son, Thomas, was old enough to return. William's posthumous daughter Jane would produce the future heir of Lisnavagh …

Ballynatray House, near Youghal, was inextricably linked with Raleigh, who became owner of both Ballynatray and nearby Molana Abbey in 1587. The abbey was given to his friend, the brilliant mathematician Thomas Hariot while it was Robert Maule, one of Raleigh's two estate managers in Ireland, who most likely lived at Ballynatray in the late 16th century. When Raleigh's star waned and disgrace loomed, he sold his vast Irish estates directly to Richard Boyle, subsequently the Earl of Cork, for a token £1500. 
Smyth of Ballynatray

The Holroyd-Smyth family who lived at Ballynatray House near Youghal in County Waterford descend from a family named Smyth who were closely allied with Richard Boyle, the Great Earl of Cork. This story charts the family's journey from the Tudor age to the 1850s.

Beneath the Rent Table, 27 slabs surround the four inner base slabs. The tabletop weighs approximately 450 kilos and each leg about 80 kilos. The place where the table stood at Kilkea is still visible by the outline of the original plinth. The three cannonballs below the table were found in the Maynooth vicinity and were probably fired at the castle when Silken Thomas was besieged in 1535. Where are they now!?
Kilkea Castle, Chapter 4 – The Geraldine Age, Part I – Rise and Fall (1273-1537)

In the 1420s, Kilkea Castle in County Kildare was considerably extended and improved by the Earls of Kildare who would become the most influential dynasty in Ireland by the end of the century. With the Tudors came a sensational but disastrous rebellion that would bring the FitzGerald elite to the brink of extinction.

A still from Kennet Branagh's acclaimed 1989 film, 'Henry V.'
Bunburys in the Medieval Age

Looking at the Bunbury family during the 100 Years War and the Wars of the Roses, including a timely sickie on the eve of Agincourt.

John Richardson (1580–1654), Bishop of Ardagh, son-in-law to Sir Henry Bunbury. His portrait was engraved by T. Cross and prefixed to his Choice Observations.
Sir Henry Bunbury (1565-1634)

Henry Bunbury was grandfather of the Benjamin Bunbury who first acquired the land in County Carlow, Ireland. Henry succeeded as head of the family in 1601 and was knighted two years later by the new king, James I. He appears to have been of Calvinist persuasion in religion, encouraged by his second wife Martha, but his first cousin Sir Arthur Aston was a prominent Catholic mercenary and his children would chose opposing sides in the Civil War.

A view of Kilkea Castle from immediately after the restoration, showing the Front Elevation, South Elevation and West Elevation. 
Kilkea Castle 7 – Twilight (1822-1895)

In the 1830s, the 3rd Duke of Leinster began a lengthy restoration of his family’s ancient castle at Kilkea in County Kildare, giving it the shape that it has today. For the rest of the century, Kilkea would be home to the Marquess of Kildare. This era, which coincided with the Great Hunger, the Land Wars and the ever-louder call for Home Rule in Ireland, would end with the calamitous – and premature – deaths of the 5th Duke of Leinster and his beautiful wife, Hermione.

Established in 1854, the Ward Union hunted – and continues to hunt - primarily in North County Dublin and Meath, as well as parts of Louth and Kildare.
McCarthy of Buttevant, County Cork, and Grange End, County Meath

Following the line of John McCarthy, a huntsman and farmer moved north from Buttevant, Co. Cork, to Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath, in the late 19th century. His son Michael ran a butcher’s shop in Ratoath

Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, as portrayed by Keira Knightley, with Bess Foster played by Hayley Atwell in The Duchess.'
Foster of County Louth – Ambassadors, Speakers, Lovers Extraordinaire

A family who rose through the hierarchy through their astute understanding of finance, property and agriculture, culminating with John Foster’s election as Speaker of the Irish House of Commons and his elevation to the peerage as Baron Oriel. With 6,500 acres at Collon, Dunleer and Glyde Court, County Louth, the head of the family also became Viscount Ferrard and Viscount Massereene, inheriting Antrim Castle. Includes the philanthropist Vere Foster and Lady Bess Foster, part of the Duke of Devonshire’s ménage à trois with Georgiana.

Approaching Tankardstown Cross on the N81.
Tankardstown, County Carlow

Musings on the Carlow townland. Does anyone have any information on the Tankard family, sometimes Tancred, of County Carlow?

Grafton Street in 1956.
Grafton Street, Dublin City

Grafton Street, Ireland's main shopping boulevard, started life as a small, medieval cattle track that wound alongside the east bank of the Stein, the river that now flows underground between St Stephen’s Green and Trinity College. This account tells the tale of five Georgian houses running from 96-100 Grafton Street, as well as the Turkish Baths and 5 Grafton Street, and who their occupants were, including Weir's and the company that inspired Bono's name. It also provides a detailed listing of occupants of all houses on Grafton Street, compiled by Belinda Evangelista in 2023.

Clonmore Castle, County Carlow
Clonmore Castle, County Carlow

A potted history of a fabulous ruin in north-east County Carlow.

What’s in a Name? The Houses of St Columba’s College
What’s in a Name? The Houses of St Columba’s College

St Columba’s College in Dublin is named for the feisty Donegal missionary best known who brought Christianity to Pictish Scotland, but who are the houses at the school named for? The story behind Iona, Stackallan, Beresford, Clonard, Holly Park, Glen, Gwynne, Tibradden and Killmashogue.

Photo: James Fennell.
Tom Connolly (1917-2008) – Boat Driver & Engineman – Rathangan, Co. Kildare

‘I always wanted to work on the canal’, so, my eldest brother came home and took over the lock and I started on the boats in 1935 … but carrying forty or fifty bags of malt weighing over 20 stone over your shoulder is no easy job’.

Timmy O’Keefe (b. 1931, Farmer) & Patsy Kingston (b. 1935, Farmer, Soldier and Bus Driver), Caherlaska, Co. Cork. Photo: James Fennell.
The Caherlaska Three: Ellen O’Keeffe (1920-2017), housewife; Timmy O’Keeffe (1931-2017), farmer; and Patsy Kingston (1935-2018), farmer, soldier + bus driver.

Timmy and Patsy have been best friends since childhood, despite the complications of one being Protestant and the other Catholic. ‘He went that way to school and I went that way,’ explains Patsy, and the two men roar with laughter for a moment or two. Patsy then said the single most unlikely thing anyone said to me during the entire Vanishing Ireland project: ‘I knew Colonel Gadaffi’ …

Seamus Vaughan (1922-2013), Clothes Merchant & Turf Cutter, Upper Dirreen, Athea, County Limerick. Photo: James Fennell.
Seamus Vaughan (1922-2013) – Clothes Merchant and Turf Cutter, County Limerick

‘When I was to be baptised, I was taken in an ass and cart to the village. I suppose people would pay good money to go to a baptism in an ass and cart these days.’ A clothes merchant from Upper Dirreen, Athea, County Limerick, recalls his time as a soldier in the British army in World War Two and working as a turf cutter on the Bog of Allen, as well as his kinship with Denis Guiney, the Kerry draper who owned Clery’s department store in Dublin.

Index to Vanishing Ireland Interviews

History is best understood by talking to those who took part in it. You don't …

George Colley served at the Bombardment of Algiers in 1816. Painted by George Chambers.
The Bunbury Isaac Family

In 1758, Thomas Bunbury of Kill, County Carlow, married Susanna Priscilla Isaac, daughter of the County Down barrister John Isaac. Their descendants would hold properties such as Holywood (Hollywood), near Hillsborough, County Down, Seafield House, near Donabate, County Dublin, and Lisbryan (Lisbrien), County Tipperary. Among them were Thomas Bunbury, Bishop of Limerick, and other lines that sprang up in Jersey and Mozambique.

Edward Bunbury Foster’s home at 33 Cockspur Street, London, was later home to John Dent (1790-1853), designer of Big Ben. The main bell at the Great Clock of Westminster is officially known as the Great Bell. It is, of course, better known by the nickname Big Ben, which is often mistakenly applied to the Clock Tower. The original bell was a 14.5-tonne (16 ton) hour bell, cast on 6 August 1856 in Stockton-on-Tees by John Warner & Sons. The bell was never officially named, but the legend on it records that the commissioner of works, Sir Benjamin Hall, was responsible for the order. Another theory for the origin of the name is that the bell may have been named after a contemporary heavyweight boxer Benjamin Caunt. It is thought that the bell was originally to be called Victoria or Royal Victoria in honour of Queen Victoria, but that an MP suggested the nickname during a Parliamentary debate; the comment is not recorded in Hansard.
Bunbury of Killerig, County Carlow

A lesser known branch of the Irish family whose members include the mistress to one of George III's sons, one of Australia's most celebrated clockmakers, a brilliant pianist, a Victoria Cross winner and the landlord of the Yellow-Lion Inn in Carlow Town, as well as a cameo by the creator of Big Ben.

Waterways Through Time - Season 2
Waterways Through Time – Season 2

What impact did the Vikings and the Normans have on Ireland’s inland waterways? How did Turlough O’Connor earn the moniker ‘King of the Water’? How did the Knights Templar use the waterways during the Anglo-Norman invasion? Those are some of the questions Turtle tackles in the second series of the ‘Waterways Through Time’ podcast, launched in May 2023.

The River Nore flowing by Woodstock.
Waterways Through Time

The text version of Turtle's collaboration with Waterways Ireland in which he explores Ireland’s natural rivers and lakes, as well as the man-made canals that criss-cross the island. This starts with the geology and archaeological legacy of Ireland's waterways and how, the Blackwaters aside, almost every Irish river is named for a goddess of the mythical Tuatha de Danaan. I then delve into the spiritual aspects of the waterways with the onset of Christianity.

Tynan Abbey in its heyday. Photo courtesy of Kate Kingan.
Stronge of Tynan Abbey, County Armagh

The dramatic tale of the Stronge family from their arrival in Ireland on the eve of the siege of Derry through to the brutal murder of Sir Norman Stronge and his son James by the Provisional Irish Republican Army in 1981.

The Making of a Pacifist - A Christmas Story
The Making of a Pacifist – A Christmas Story

What makes us who we are? As a historian, I sometimes think back to those packages that arrived from Godmother Mary every Christmas without fail. My armies of Prince August soldiers fought so many battles that I was both a committed pacifist and a committed historian by the age of 15.

Royal Danelli in action, 1939
Naas Races – Chapter 3 – The 1930s

Bringing the story onwards as Naas Racecourse evolves in the face of the Great Depression, the Betting Tax and the outbreak of the Second World War.

Glencaraig Lady, 1972 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, ridden by Frank Berry
Naas – Chapter 7 – The 1970s

From ‘The Centenary of Naas Racecourse (1924-2024) – Nursery of Champions’ by Turtle Bunbury.   …

Dun Aengus
Dun Aengus

I am still unsure of the fort’s purpose, but I am now quite convinced that Dun Aengus was once a circular fort and that a little under half of it has tumbled into the Atlantic Ocean, a wee slide here, a little collapse there.

Naas veteran Fort Leney wins the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Naas – Chapter 6 – The 1960s

  From ‘The Centenary of Naas Racecourse (1924-2024) – Nursery of Champions’ by Turtle Bunbury. …

A Knight in shining armour, purchased in New York, stands guard above family patriarch Sergeant Dinny Cunnaire, Irish Army, retired. Photo: James Fennell.
Gertie Browne – Athlone, Co. Westmeath

Running over 200 miles from its source to the sea, the Shannon is the longest river in …

Pat Eddery winning at Naas, October 1982.
Naas Races – Chapter 8 – The 1980s

From ‘The Centenary of Naas Racecourse (1924-2024) – Nursery of Champions’ by Turtle Bunbury.   …

From the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News, 29 July 1916. After their commander, Captain W. P. Nevill was killed, a company of the 8th East Surrey Regiment is reported to have dribbled four footballs - the gift of their Captain - for a mile and a quarter into the enemy trenches, prior to launching an enemy attack on 1 July 1916. A picture of the men kicking the ball appeared in the Illustrated London News on 29 July 1916, while the lines below are from a poem published in the Daily Mail on 12 July.  

'On through the hail of slaughter,
Where gallant comrades Fall,
Where blood is poured like water,
They drive the trickling ball.
The fear of death before them
Is but an empty name.
True to the land that bore them-
The SURREYS play the game.’
The Christmas Truce, 1914 – An Irish Perspective

The Christmas Truce of 1914 has become one of the most iconic events of the war, a moment when British and German soldiers met in the killing fields of No Man’s Land to play a football match on Christmas Day. The only hiccup is that, sadly, historians are now unanimously agreed that this match never happened.

The Naas Supporters Handicap Hurdle at Naas in 2010. Photo: Peter Mooney.
Chapter 11: Naas Races 2010-2019

From ‘The Centenary of Naas Racecourse (1924-2024) – Nursery of Champions’ by Turtle Bunbury.   …

Naas 2001 Member's Badge
Chapter 10: Naas Races – 2000-2009

From ‘The Centenary of Naas Racecourse (1924-2024) – Nursery of Champions’ by Turtle Bunbury.   …

Margaret McGuinness by Siobhan English, 2023.
Margaret McGuinness

Back to Naas 100 Contents For almost forty years, the lynchpin that kept everything in …

1994 - Charlie Swan's 100th winner at Naas- with Margaret McGuinness
Naas – Chapter 9 – The 1990s

From ‘The Centenary of Naas Racecourse (1924-2024) – Nursery of Champions’ by Turtle Bunbury.   …

I concede this is not Naas but it is too cool a shot to ignore - its a race at Cheltenham from 17 March 1948.
Naas Races – Chapter 4 – The 1940s

The post-war years were dominated by Vincent O’Brien who saddled three Grand National winners, as well as Cottage Rake (who won three consecutive Gold Cups) and Gold Cup winner Knock Hard. All five of those horses honed their craft at Naas.

1955 Picture of Quare Times from Brendan Behan's book
Naas Races – Chapter 5 – The 1950s

From ‘The Centenary of Naas Racecourse (1924-2024) – Nursery of Champions’ by Turtle Bunbury.   …

The founding fathers tip their bowlers and trilbies during the presentation of prizes for the Trainers Cup at the first meeting at Naas Racecourse on 19 June 1924. General Waldron (the handicapper) and Thomas Whelan are on the left, with Edward ‘Cub’ Kennedy, raising his hat high on the right. Ned Gaul is centre background, with hat and tie. Charlie Farrell is also said to be in the photo. There may also be a Dowse from outside Naas. Edward Brophy is not in the picture.
Naas – Chapter 2 ­– The Roaring Twenties

The formative years of the Naas Race Company, and the story of its original cast and dramatis personnae.

John 'Bumper Jack' McClintock of Drumcar was chief serjeant-at-arms in the Irish House of Commons during the 1790s. He was grandfather of the first Lord Rathdonnell.
‘Bumper Jack’ – John McClintock (1743-1799)

The builder of Drumcar House, John McClintock was one of the most prominent MPs during the age of Grattan’s Parliament, serving as MP for Belturbet and Enniskillen between 1783 and 1797. He was also Chief Serjeant of Arms to the Irish Parliament (when his wife’s cousin John Foster was Speaker of the Irish House of Commons) and Treasurer of the Northern Rangers. This story also takes in the remarkable tale of John Suttoe, a black man who worked for the McClintocks and married Margaret O’Brien from County Louth.

The Royal Arch Chapter Room is in the Egyptian style and lit by Jewish gasolier candelabras that spring out from Egyptian heads. This curious mixture underlines Masonic empathy for the priestly caste, technical powers and ancient mysteries of Egypt. It probably also derives from the craze for Egyptology in the 1860s when the Freemason’s Hall was built. Life-sized sphinxes flank the ceremonial chair beneath an exotically coloured Egyptian baldacchino canopy, giving the room a Hollywood meets Monty Python ambience. In Masonic lore, twin pillars symbolize the entrance to the Temple of Solomon, the ultimate repository for strength and wisdom. (Photos: Chris Bacon)
A Look Inside Dublin's Freemasons Hall

What goes on inside the Dublin premises of the Grand Lodge of the Ancient, Free and Accepted Freemasons of Ireland on Molesworth Street? With 22,000 members on the island of Ireland, it's a lot more down-to-earth, albeit in an up-in-the-clouds way, than the secret handshakes and the Da Vinci Code would have you believe.

Adare Manor, South East View, by J. R. Jobbins, 1812.
Introduction to Adare Manor: Renaissance of an Irish Country House

An overview of the contents of ‘Adare Manor – The Renaissance of an Irish Country Manor,' the first of Turtle's two books with Adare Manor, winner of the No. 1 Resort in Europe in 2023 at the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards. It was also awarded a five-star rating by Forbes Travel Guide in 2023.

Rogers of Airlie Stud and Radnorshire
Rogers of Airlie Stud and Radnorshire

The Rogers family have been breeding first-class stock for at least six generations, winning multiple Classic horse races as both breeders and trainers. Before they turned their attention to horses, they bred cattle. During the Victorian Age they were in the first rank of Britain’s Hereford cattle breeders.

Naas Racecourse is located within the townland of Kings Furze, as it was named on a map of Kildare produced in 1783 by Major Alexander Taylor (1746-1828). Taylor, who also noted a ‘Burying Ground’ on the site, came from Aberdeen, Scotland, and was serving as surveyor with the Royal Irish Engineers at this time. He married Elizabeth Bonner of Naas and was later buried in the cemetery at Maudlins in Naas.
Prologue – The Early History of Racing in Naas

From ‘The Centenary of Naas Racecourse (1924-2024) – Nursery of Champions’ by Turtle Bunbury.   …

The Gaffer and his family, Ballyknockan, c. 1903-4
Back: Patrick, Lil, John, Nan, Bob.
Middle: William, Bride, William (The Gaffer), Mary (née Brady), Marcella, Mary
Sitting: Joe, Jim, Kitty
Osborne of Ballkyknockan, Craddockstown and Tipper

The family who prospered on the Ballyknockan granite quarries in County Wicklow, several branches of which relocated to County Kildare where they became one of the best-known equestrian dynasties in Ireland during the 20th and early 21st centuries.

Naas Racecourse (1924-2024) - Further Reading
Naas Racecourse (1924-2024) – Further Reading

From ‘The Centenary of Naas Racecourse (1924-2024) – Nursery of Champions’ by Turtle Bunbury.   …

Porta Fortuna, trained by Donnacha O’Brien, winner of both the Albany Stakes at Ascot and the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket in 2023, also won the Coolmore Stud Irish EBF Fillies Sprint Stakes (Group 3) at Naas on her second outing. She is pictured here winning at Naas under Gavin Ryan. The race was the Coolmore Stud Irish EBF Fillies Sprint Stakes (Group 3).
Pattern Races at Naas

A record of all the Graded (National Hunt) and Group (Flat) Pattern Races at Naas Racecourse that took place in 2023.

The assassination of Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie.
The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

Hubert Butler estimated that the gun that killed the Archduke changed hands 20 times between Belgrade and Sarajevo. Had any of these connections failed, the assassination attempt would have almost certainly been called off. As such, it is a truly astonishing and unnerving fact that so many tiny happenstances should culminate in a single instance of violence by a single human that would change the course of global history forever.

Connemara Wanderer by Sir Evelyn Wrench KCMG (1882–1966). A Fermanagh-born author and journalist, Wrench was editor of The Spectator and founded both the Royal Over-Seas League and the English-Speaking Union, both to foster international communication and education.
Aill na Caillí – A Deserted Village in Connemara

In Peter Ward’s youth, there were eight families living in eight different cottages here. Walking me into one ruin, he draws attention to the construction date etched into the wall. ‘1915’. He recounts a visit here with his grandmother as a child, only to be surprised to tears when the owner played a record on a gramophone. ‘I had never heard music before’, he explains.

De Robeck of Gowran Grange, Co. Kildare & the Focks of Estonia
De Robeck of Gowran Grange, Co. Kildare & the Focks of Estonia

Originating in Estonia and Sweden, the de Robecks came of age during the American War of Independence and the Napoleonic Wars, while Admiral de Robeck was one of the principal figures in the Dardanelles campaign of the First World War. Other family members have been pivotal to the success of events such as the Punchestown races, the Kildare Hunt and the Dublin Horse Show.

Jessie Harrington. Photo: James Fennell.
Jessie Harrington – Queen of the Turf

An interview with Ireland's most successful female Jessie Harrington was named The Irish Times/Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Year for 2017 after a remarkable year in which she trained Sizing John to win the Leopardstown, Cheltenham and Punchestown Gold Cups, won the Irish National with Our Duke, and enjoyed her best ever year on the Flat. This interview took place in 2011.

Charles Bianconi
Charles Bianconi (1786-1875) – The Man who put Ireland on Wheels

‘Earn a shilling a day and live upon sixpence’. That was the motto of a remarkable entrepreneur from Italy whose energy, perseverance, punctuality and good humour made him the transport king of Ireland in the 1820s and 1830s. A friend of Daniel O’Connell, he became Mayor of Clonmel in 1845.

Reactions to the destruction of Carlow Castle. From an Illustration by Derry Dillon, extracted from Past Tracks (2021).
Carlow Town – Historical Snapshots

The stories of a man born without limbs who became an explorer, as well as the Czech engineer who invented the water-bike, the murder of a Hollywood director, the prince of Antwerp who made Carlow his home, the crazy doctor who blew up Carlow Castle and the mystery of one of the world’s biggest ancient monuments. Extracted from Past Tracks, with Irish translations by Jack O'Driscoll.

'Storm in the Mountains' by Albert Bierstadt.
The Night of the Big Wind, 1839

The Night of the Big Wind was the most devastating storm in recorded Irish history. The hurricane of 6-7 January 1839 made more people homeless in a single night than all the sorry decades of eviction that followed it. A dramatic account a hurricane so powerful that the Atlantic waves are said to have broken over the top of the Cliffs of Moher.

Daniel Robertson, an American Architect in Ireland
Daniel Robertson, an American Architect in Ireland

An eccentric and prolific architect. Robertson left his mark on such well-known Irish mansions as Killruddery, Powerscourt and Lisnavagh. An American of Scots origin, he grew up between South Carolina and Georgia before training as an architect in London. Having gone bankrupt in 1830, he moved to Ireland where he lived until his death in Howth in 1849.

Adolf Hitler, who was saved by a man from Tullow.
Michael Keogh – The Irishman who Saved Hitler

In 1919, an Irishman working as a policeman stopped a mob from pummelling a right wing radical to death on the streets of Munich. Michael Keogh would come to rue the day when the radical transpired to be Adolf Hitler.

The village of Knockcroghery.
The Burning of Knockcroghery, 1921

The night the Black and Tans burned down 11 houses in Knockcroghery, including its famous clay pipe factory, and why they did it.

The Sack of Balbriggan, 1920
The Sack of Balbriggan, 1920

On the night of 20 September 1920, during the Irish War of Independence, the Black and Tans went on the rampage through the small town of Balbriggan, County Dublin, burning more than fifty homes and businesses, looting, and killing two local men.

Mouse by Helnwein
Gottfried Helnwein – Head Above the Cuckoo's Nest (2000)

Extracts from this interview were used for features in Irish Tatler and The Dubliner. See …

Helnwein. Photo: James Fennell.
Helnwein's Castle, County Tipperary, Ireland – The Austrian Firestarter

Ireland got its first real glimpse into the mind of Gottfried Helnwein in 2002 when he headlined the Kilkenny Arts Festival. Across the medieval city, familiar landmarks were draped in gigantic posters such as “Epiphany”, depicting a voluptuous mother proudly displaying her naked young boy to a gathering of sharp-dressed officers. It is only when one registers the swastikas and iron crosses that one looks again at this toddler and beholds the unmistakable visage of Adolf Hitler …

Willie John McBride in action on the 1974 British Lions Tour to South Africa
Willie John McBride – Pride of the Lions – Rugby Icon

An interview with the Ballymena-born rugby star Willie John who took part in a remarkable five tours and, with 17 Lion Tests, and remains the most caped player in the series. The Irish lock forward captained the last tour, during which the Lions tore South Africa apart, winning 21 of their 22 games.

Lola Montez and the King of Bavaria
Lola Montez and the King of Bavaria

Lola Montez was one of the most famous dancers in Europe in the 1840s. Her love affair with the King of Bavaria brought him crashing down before she embarked upon a new life running a literary and social salon in California. This tale follows the rise and fall of this tempestuous Irish woman, charting her romance with Franz Liszt and her encounters with Richard Wagner, Hans von Bülow and Alexandre Dumas. 

The Irishmen who Founded Menlo Park, California
The Irishmen who Founded Menlo Park, California

Menlo Park, one of the most iconic places in Silicon Valley, was founded by two Galway men in the 1850s. It previously belonged to Don José Darío Argüello, the Mexican pioneer who founded Los Angeles.

Close up of dog-fight by Derry Dillon, from the Boyle 'Past Tracks' panel.
The Irish Air Aces – Mick Mannock, Jimmy McCudden & George ‘McIrish’ McElroy

Fighter pilots in World War One were the football celebrities of their day, their actions eagerly followed by millions of people in their homelands. The top three air aces in the war were Edward ‘Mick’ Mannock, James McCudden and George ‘McIrish’ McElroy. All three were destined to die in the war. A rather lesser known fact is that all three had strong Irish connections. Mannock was born in Ireland to a mother from Cork. McCudden’s father was born in Carlow and McElroy was the son of a Roscommon schoolteacher.

More Bronze Age gold hoards have been found in Ireland than anywhere else on earth, including eighty gold lunulae.  These decorated neck-collars, shaped like a crescent moon, are made of thin, hammered sheets of gold. 
By the Late Bronze Age, the fashion had moved towards bigger, wider, thinner ‘gorgets’, such as the beautiful gold collar found at Glenisheen, just east of Gregan Castle. The gorget is about the size of a 12-inch dinner plate and was crafted between 900 and 500BC. A teenage boy spotted it tucked into a limestone gryke while hunting rabbits in 1932. 
When Ireland joined the European Economic Community in 1973, the Glenisheen gorget was chosen as the symbol that defined the state’s cultural heritage.
A Short History of Irish Gold

There is gold in Irish hills, as evidenced by recent finds on the Armagh-Monaghan border, Slieve Glah in County Cavan and the Sperrins Mountains of County Tyrone. Ireland’s rapport with gold actually began about 4,000 years ago when the Bell-Beaker people arrived in from Europe, heralding the so-called Bronze Age. 


Olympic Games

Silver 5000m (Sydney, 2000).

World Championships

Gold 5000m (Gothenburg, 1995)
Silver 1500m (Stuttgart, 1993)

European Championships

Gold 3000m (Helsinki, 1994)
Gold 10000m (Budapest, 1998)
Gold 5000m (Budapest, 1998)
Silver 10000m (Munich, 2002)
Silver 5000m (Munich, 2002)

World Cross-Country Championships

Gold 8km (Marrakesh,1998)
Gold 4km (Marrakesh,1998)
Bronze(Team) 8km (Turin,1997)
Bronze(Team) 4km (Dublin, 2002)

World Indoor Championships

Silver 3000m (Paris, 1997)


European Athlete of the Year 1994.

RTÉ Sports Person of the Year 2000.

Texaco Sportstar Awards: 6 (Supreme, 1993).

ESB/Rehab People of the Year 2004

Honoroary Doctor of the Arts
University College Cork.
Sonia O'Sullivan – Ireland's 5000 Metre Star

‘I don’t like to go a day without running. If you keep doing it every day, you enjoy it a lot more. You go to bed knowing you’re going to run the next day and you have it in your mind where you are going to run. If you’ve had a late night, and you go out and run, you will still get into it. You’ll always think “I’m glad I did this”.’

Arthur MacMurrough Kavanagh, P.C., M.P. (1831-1889)
The Incredible Mr Kavanagh

The story of a remarkable Irishman, born without arms or legs, who became an explorer and member of parliament, as well as a huntsman, sailor, photographer and father of seven. 

Detail from Slaves cutting the sugar cane - Ten Views in the Island of Antigua (1823)
Hugh Mill Bunbury & the Guyana Connection

Plantation owner Hugh Mill Bunbury of Guyana (Demerara) was born in Devon and moved to the West Indies as a young man. His daughter Lydia was disinherited for marrying the French Romantic poet Count Alfred de Vigny. His son Charles commanded the Rifle Brigade and married Lady Harriot Dundas. One grandson was Privy Chamberlains to the Pope, as well as heir to Cranavonane, County Carlow. Another was the much-decorated businessman, Evelyn James Bunbury.

Applause for Vanishing Ireland
Applause for Vanishing Ireland

Christy Moore, Rob Kearney, John Spain and hundreds of others voice their approval of the Vanishing Ireland project on a page that Turtle secretly visits from time to time on the rare occasions he's feeling a little blue.

Killing of Albrecht von Waldstein in Cheb during the Thirty Years War
Walter Butler & the Death of Wallenstein by Melosina Lenox-Conyngham

An account of Walter Butler, of the Shankill Castle line of Butlers, who assassinated Albrecht von Wallenstein, the supreme commander of the armies of the Habsburg empire, at the height of  the Thirty Years' War.

Turtle scores cover story on National Geographic Traveler, April 2014.
Irish Manor Houses – National Geographic Traveler, 2014

Turtle scored a cover story on National Geographic Traveler, April 2014, with this account of five cracking Irish ‘big houses’, still owned by the original families, which have opened their doors as places you can stay and enjoy some of the immense peace and opulence that their ancestors enjoyed.

Edward the Bruce's army invaded the region around Athy in 1316. Illustration: Derry Dillon.
Athy, County Kildare – Historical Tales

The stories of Ernest Shackleton, a saviour ape, a Scottish invasion of Kildare, a World War One hero, a bare knuckle champ, amongst others, from the very first Past Tracks panel – installed in 2019 and illustrated by Derry Dillon. Nationwide filmed an episode with Turtle guiding viewers through the panel. 

Bela Lugosi's Dracula carries Mina (Helen Chandler) off to a breakfast of sorts in the 1931 film.
Ireland – Birthplace of Vampires

The vampire cult owes an enormous amount to Irish writers such as Bram Stoker (Dracula), Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (Carmilla) and Thomas Crofton Croker, not to mention Abhartach, a psychotic dwarf chieftain from Donegal.

Above: William Tighe by Thomas Pooley 1679
Tighe of Woodstock, Co. Kilkenny, and Rossanagh, Co. Wicklow

An epic saga that follows the descendants of an opportunist farmer who became the principal baker to Oliver Cromwell’s troops in Ireland through to a murder in 1917. We meet one of Dean Swift’s greatest foes, families such as Bligh, Fownes and Bunbury, and a host of literary greats including Percy and Mary Shelley, Thomas Moore, John Wesley and Patrick Bronte.

Noel Sheridan (b. 1927, Post Office Worker & Philatelist), Naas, County Kildare. Photo: James Fennell.
Noel Sheridan (b. 1927) – The Philatelist of Naas, County Kildare

‘I heard someone on the radio say how the first Ryder Cup was presented nearly a century ago. Now, that made me sit up straight because it was actually first presented in the year that I was born.' A post office worker and philatelist recalls growing up in Naas, County Kildare.

This is believed to be Edward Wingfield, 2nd Viscount Powerscourt, who died unmarried in May 1764, aged 34.
Wingfield, Viscounts Powerscourt of Co. Wicklow, Ireland

Powerscourt House is one of the most famous Georgian houses in Ireland. Built in the 1740s, it was devastated by fire in 1974 but subsequently rebuilt. The estate takes its name from the de la Poer family who built a castle here in Norman times. In 1608, the property came to the possession of Sir Richard Wingfield, a prominent general in the English army. This story of their descendants included one of Lord Byron’s closest friend, a man who hosted George IV to dinner and Sarah, Duchess of York. The Slazengers of Powerscourt are closely related to the present Viscount.

Johnny Meehan & the Spanish Civil War
Johnny Meehan & the Spanish Civil War

68 Irish men and women died in defence of the Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1938. The war ended with victory for Franco, who would remain in power until his death in 1975. This story focuses on Galway-born Johnny Meehan, one of eight Irishmen to die at the battle of Lopera.

Bob Ievers as a young man.
Bob & Kate Ievers in Ceylon, plus Ethel, Nena and Kitty

Robert Wilson Ievers, known as Bob, was a high-profile civil servant in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) during the late 19th century. He spoke Singhalese, wrote poetry and explored the ancient ruins of Anarahdapura and Sigiriya. His wife Kate miraculously survived a scuffle with a sloth bear. In 1912, their daughter Ethel married Tim McClintock Bunbury, later 3rd Baron Rathdonnell. Tim and Ethel's son William was my father's father.

Behind the Guinness Gates, launching 1 April 2023.
Behind the Guinness Gates

Beyond the Guinness Gate is the first podcast series from the Guinness Storehouse. Hosted by Turtle Bunbury, the 8-part series features interviews with rapper Mango, chef Niall Sabongi, flavour guru Kate Curran, the Iveagh Trust’s Rory Guinness and local historians Liz Gillis and Cathy Scuffil. The series also includes three episodes by about the formative years of St James’s Gate and the brewery’s strong sense of employment welfare and social philanthropy.  An audio journey into the very heart of Guinness.

Howth Harbour Lighthouse, undertaken by Halpin who was the Inspector of Lighthouses; his brother Richard was Warden of Howth. 
The Halpin Family: Lighthouse Builders, Port Engineers, Pioneers

A dynasty whose bloodlines interlink across multiple generations from their origins in the Huguenot stronghold of Portarlington, County Laois, to Wicklow, the Dublin Docklands, Meath and the distant lands of the USA and Australia. George Halpin, the ‘Founding Father’ of Irish lighthouses, constructed 53 lighthouses around the Irish coast, and did much to shape Dublin Bay and the Liffey. His nephew Captain Robert Halpin laid the Atlantic cable, while the article brings us to the present-day with the inventor, engineer and MacArthur fellow, Saul Griffith.

Kindred Spirits by Alex Pentek.
The Choctaw Nation’s Extraordinary Gift to Ireland, 1847

In 1847 the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma raised $170 for Irish famine relief. Their empathy was stirred by a similar experience during the early 1830s when between 1500 and 4,000 died Choctaw on the infamous ‘Trail of Tears’. This story explores the fate of the Choctaw and the two Irish-American brothers who helped them cross the Mississippi, and also looks at donations from the Muscogee, Cherokee and Mississauga people.

George Ievers of Athlacca

GEORGE IEVERS OF ATHLACCA George Ievers was the sixth and youngest son of Henry and …

The Whishaws: From Rudheath to Russia

(with sub-chapters on the Henley & Yeames families) This story was commissioned in 2006 as …

Huntington Castle has been in existence since the 17th century.
Huntington Castle – Ghostly Tales & Worthy Fellowships

Huntington Castle has always had an otherworldly ambience. Just over a hundred years ago, a meteorite fell to earth and landed near the avenue. The story takes in Franciscan monks, Tudor bigamists, American pioneers, ghosts a-plenty and a cellar devoted to devoted to an Egyptian Goddess.

Willie Mullins, 2010. Photo: James Fennell.
Willie Mullins – Commander of the Turf

An interview with the Cheltenham Festival’s most successful trainer of all-time, a man who had racked up 94 wins by the close of the 2023 festival. Young Willie was in the saddle from the age he could toddle. In his boyhood, he read as much as he could about the industry, particularly focusing on the methods and problem-solving tactics of other trainers.

View from Eagle Hill.
Of Rings, Raths & the Kings of Leinster: Around the Lisnavagh Estate

In the distant past, the raths around Lisnavagh were part of the power base of the Uí Ceinnselaig (Kinsellagh). This section considers the links to Rathmore, Rathvilly, the Oldfort ringfort and the Slíghe Chualann, as well as two kings of Leinster, Crimthann mac Énnai (who was baptised by St Patrick) and his father, Enna Kinsellagh .

Sir William Gregory
Sir William Gregory (1817-1892) – Governor of Ceylon

Considered one of the finest governors of Sri Lanka (Ceylon) in the island's history, Sir William's legacy is complicated by the appalling treatment of Tamil labourers, as well as the Gregory Clause in Ireland during the Great Hunger. His wife was the famous Lady Gregory.

Operation Shamrock
Operation Shamrock