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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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|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.
|Voices of Ballinskelligs, South West Kerry|
While writing the fourth volume of the Vanishing Ireland series, I spent the bones of a week in County Kerry, happily ensconced in one of nine charming stone cottages overlooking Ballinskelligs Bay at Cill Rialaig. This story is about some of the characters I met while down there.
|Beyond 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.
|Con Riordan (1912-2008) – Farmer – Glenbeigh, Co. Kerry|
With his 95th birthday looming close, Con is philosophical but restless. ‘I can’t do a lot of work at my age. When you’ve nothing to do, you can feel the day. But sure, we still have plenty of time’.
|Wogan-Browne of Clongowes Wood, County Kildare|
A far too brief account of two families, Wogan and Browne, whose cast includes a leading light of the Brigidine nuns; a former aide-de-camp to the King of Saxony; an architect who was refereeing Gaelic football matches in 1798; and a popular rugby player who was shot dead in Kildare in 1922.
|Kilkea Castle – Further Reading|
In terms of source material, as well as the persons acknowledged here, I salute the …
|The Cistercian Order in Ireland|
Between 1142 and 1270, the Cistercian Order built 38 abbeys in Ireland from which, at their peak, they owned almost half a million acres in Ireland, including 48,000 acres at their mother-house, Mellifont Abbey. Famed for their agricultural prowess, the Cistercians were particularly adept at bringing sheep's wool to the markets of Flanders, by which means they became a corporate megastar – closely affiliated with the Knights Templar.
|The Ballyduff Three, County Waterford|
Written following an encounter in circa 2005 with thresher John Flynn (born 1943), store manager Pat Flynn (born 1939) and the late postmaster, Eamon Bolger (1931-2009).
|Mick Kenneally (1939-2013) – Potato & Cattle Farmer, Cloonanaha, County Clare|
‘They’d all meet after mass and stand around chatting for hours. That’s gone now. Then everyone got motor cars and they drove away afters. Back then it was all walking. There was maybe the odd bicycle or a few asses and carts. But everyone else walked.’
|Mike Murphy (1937-2012) – Fiddler & Taxi Driver, Ennistymon, County Clare|
Mike toured the USA seven times as fiddler with the Tulla Ceil Band. Chicago was his kind of town. Toronto impressed him too. He was not trained in music. Few of his contemporaries were. He would listen to his father play and then, at the age of eight, he picked up a mouth organ. Shortly afterwards he moved on to the fiddle and accordion.
|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’.
|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.
|Mick Lawlor (1927–2004) – Trap Driver – Borris, County Carlow|
It was not Mick’s intention to die quite so soon. When James photographed him two days earlier, he had gamely invited us back the following week to join him on his pony and trap. I feel for Sheba, his seven-year-old sheepdog, who literally put her hand out to introduce herself when we arrived. Mick maintained Sheba could tell the time of day by looking at the clock on his kitchen wall.
|John Murphy (1925-2015) – Farmer & Gardener – Waterville, Co. Kerry|
John has no interest in parliamentary affairs. “Feck politics, amen”, he suggests. His particular gripe is against the ‘rules and all kinds of feckology that came in when he and his wife tried to set up a small caravan park in the 1980s. One can see why he got on with Brendan Behan – ‘an ordinary working man like the rest of us.’
|Paddy Walsh (Farmer) and Johnny Walsh (Forrester) of Derrinlaur, County Tipperary|
‘You see, a tractor could do the work of eight men,’ says Paddy. ‘So of course that changed everything.’ Not that he minded. In the early days, he might be out ploughing all day with ‘nothing to hold only the reins driving the horse’. Over rough terrain, on a warm day, with sweaty trousers rubbing constantly against the skin, that could get pretty sore after a while…
|Kathleen Lynam Keogh (1930-2018) & Kathleen Lynam (born 1926) – Kiltegan, County Wicklow|
‘It’s amazing to think of her now,’ says Kathleen of her mother. ‘And what she did for us. It was a different world. There was no taps, no sinks, no nothing. We only had a few oil lamps. We done our homework by candlelight. We got our water from the well and we ate our meals on stools. We always had porridge for breakfast, big plates of porridge, with lots of milk.’
|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.
|Sir William Arrol (1839-1913), or, How A Boiled Sheep’s Head Shaped The Industrial Age|
The greatest bridge builder of his generation learned his craft while singeing hair off sheep's heads in a blacksmith's forge as a boy. He went on to build works such as the Forth Bridge and the Tay bridge in Scotland, the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, the Arrol Gantry in Belfast, Tower Bridge in London, the Nile Bridge in Egypt, the Hawkesbury Bridge in Australia and all the bridges along the Manchester Ship Canal.
|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.
|Peter the Great – Ulster Damask & The Beard Tax|
The Russian emperor is said to have visited Ireland to study the latest developments in the manufacture of damask, but could this have been so? A quick look at the Tsar and his Irish links.
|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.
|More O'Ferrall of Balyna, Enfield, Co. Kildare|
Descended from two great Catholic Irish families, the More O’Ferralls combined with the marriage in 1751 of the Balyna heiress Letitia O’More and the Dublin banker Richard Ferrall. During the 1840s, Sir Richard More O’Ferrall emerged as a great champions of religious toleration and independence. Balyna is an exclusive hotel near Enfield, County Kildare.
|Sir George Gore (1811-1878) – Buffalo Slayer|
St. George Gore, the most extravagant buffalo hunter in history, was also a major Donegal landowner and one of the lousiest types of absentee landlord. In a single hunting trip to North America, he killed 2,000 prairie buffalo, 1,600 deer and elk, as well as thousands of mountain sheep, coyotes and timber wolves …
|Ireland's Wine Geese|
We may not have the climate to grow our own vines, but the Irish have done a colossal amount to develop the wine trade and spread those succulent grape juices across this world from France to California to Australia and New Zealand.
|More O'Ferrall of Kildangan, Monasterevin, Co. Kildare|
A short account of Kildangan Stud from its acquisition by the O'Reilly family in 1705 to its development as a major equestrian base by the More O'Ferrall family.
|St Oswald and St John the Baptist – Two Heads are Bigger Than One|
Exploring the links between Northumbria and Ireland through the holy islands of Iona and Lindisfarne and the Saxon prince who founded Mayo. Also looking at St Oswald – a military man who became a deeply religious convert to Irish Christianity on Iona, the HQ of St Colm Cille (aka Columba) and how the cult of Oswald, centred at Regensburg, became a core part of the Crusader culture of later times.
|Kilkea Castle (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.
|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.
|Violet Gibson – The Irish Aristocrat Who Shot Mussolini|
The astonishing story of a Dublin-born gentlewoman, who attempted to assassinate Mussolini when she was fifty years old, and her connection to – and eventual rejection by – one of Ireland’s most distinguished legal families.
|The Normans in Wexford|
An overview of the Cambro-Norman origins of County Wexford places such as New Ross, Bannow, Clonmines, Tintern, Duiske, Dunbrody, Loftus Hall, Hook Head and Bagibun, as well as families such as Barry, Burke, D’Arcy, Devereux, FitzGerald, FitzMaurice, Furlong, Grace, Keating, Meyler, Prendergast, Power, Roche and Sinnott. .
|William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke (1147-1219) – The Greatest Knight|
William Marshal was the most powerful Anglo-Norman lord to come to Ireland. A jousting champion, die-hard crusader and pre-Machiavellian tactician, he survived the turbulent courts of four Plantagenet Kings to become Regent of England, Lord of Leinster and the richest man in the British Isles by his death in 1219. As successor to Strongbow and Aoife, he did more to establish Anglo-Norman control in Leinster than any other man. He was also an enthusiast for roast rabbit and sautéed mushrooms…
|More O'Ferrall of Lisard, Co. Longford|
The Lisard property near Edgeworthstown was acquired in the mid 19th century by John Lewis More O’Ferrall. It was the scene of a shocking murder in 1935.
|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.
|St. Columba (521-592) – the Making of a Missionary|
The story of the feisty Donegal missionary who brought Christianity to Pictish Scotland, after a devastating battle in Ireland, plus Iona's links to Lindisfarne … and how a court case that he was embroiled in set a useful precedent for anyone advocating Google’s right to free content.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|Thomas Bunbury (1705-1774) of Kill, County Carlow|
The life of a Georgian gentleman farmer in 18th century Ireland as he extends his land ownership from County Carlow into Longford and Kildare. Thomas Bunbury was grandfather of Jane Bunbury who married John McClintock of Drumcar, from whom the McClintock Bunbury family descend, and also of Field Marshal Viscount Gough.
|Maxol 1920–2020: Celebrating the First Hundred Years 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.
|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.
|Ireland's Forgotten Past A History of the Overlooked and Disremembered|
An alternative history that covers 13,000 years in 36 stories that are often left out of history books. Among the characters I profile are a pair of ill- fated prehistoric chieftains, a psychopathic Viking, a gallant Norman knight, a dazzling English traitor, an ingenious tailor, an outstanding war-horse and a brothel queen.
|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. As such, I was blessed by a magnificent cast of kind and supportive hands to help me shape, enhance, verify and enrich the stories told in these pages. My thanks to …
|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.
|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 …
|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.
|Kilkea Castle 6: Hellfire and Rebellion (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 before the FitzGeralds’ 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.
|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.
|Dublin City – Streetwise|
The etymology (ie: origin) for the names of the streets, bridges, docks and other landmarks of Dublin. This is mainly focused on the docklands area as it is based on work I did for my 2008 book, ‘Dublin Docklands – An Urban Voyage’, which was commissioned by the Dublin Docklands Development Authority
|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.
|Rise & Fall of the Knights Templar – The Irish Experience|
The Knights Templar have captivated people’s imagination ever since the Order was founded in 1119. One of the most powerful forces in Europe for almost 200 years, their initial purpose was to protect pilgrims in the Holy Land. In Ireland, they had manors and banking preceptories across Leinster, as well as anchorage for ships from Waterford Harbour to Galway City to the north-west coast. Their fall was astoundingly dramatic.
|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 .
|Kilkea Castle (1) The Time Before the Normans|
Charting the emergence of the landscape around Kilkea Castle in County Kildare from the end of the last Ice Age through the establishment of the ringforts at Mullaghreelan and Mullaghmast, as well as St Caoide’s church, to the eve of the Cambro-Norman conquest.
|Róisín (Folan) Ui Chualáin (1929-2022) – The Nurse of Inisheer Island|
‘Everyone had a donkey,’ she says. ‘But there’s only two left on the island now.’ Born in 1929, the former District Nurse reflects on working as a midwife in Tottenham, London, and life in Lurgan village on Inisheer in the Aran Islands of County Galway.
|Den Lane (1923–2023) Turf Dealer of Glin, County Limerick|
‘It was hard work. We were on Joe White’s bog by eight o’clock every morning from the end of March. We often used to make our dinner with a fire out in the bog. If we were out of butter we’d go into Glin on our way, but we’d be there a half an hour before anyone else would get up!'
|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.
|Lefroy of Carrigglas (Longford), Ewshot (Hampshire) and Canterbury (Kent)|
Hailing from Cambrai in French Picardy, the Lefroy family arrived in England as refugees during the French Wars of Religion. Having prospered as silk merchants in Canterbury, two branches emerged. The Irish branch included Tom Lefroy, famed as the love interest of Jane Austen, before he became Chief Justice of Ireland. The English branch were based at Ashe in Hampshire where they were again closely affiliated with Jane Austen's family. Among the family were the first Lady Rathdonnell and the surveyor Sir John Lefroy.
|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.
|Thomas Bunbury (1606-1668) – Oxford Links|
The Bunburys of Lisnavagh descend from Thomas Bunbury, son of Sir Henry Bunbury (1565-1634) of Stanney Hall, Cheshire. This page looks at his links to the Birkenhead family and Balliol College, Oxford, as well as Cromwellian links to Carlow town and the gruesome fate of his cousin Sir Arthur Aston during the siege of Drogheda of 1649.
|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.
|The Benson Family|
Originally from Westmoreland in the English Lake District, the Bensons were renowned for their clerical inclinations from the Tudor Age onwards. They were also closely associated with the Downshire Estates in Ireland and, later, the Pony Club in the UK. This history is based on an interview I conducted in about 2004 with the late Ian and Wendy Benson of Ballyvolane House County Cork.
|William Desmond Taylor – A Hollywood Murder Story|
William Desmond Taylor was 49 years old when a fatal bullet ploughed into his back in 1922. The murder of the popular Irish film director was to become one of the greatest unsolved crimes in Hollywood history. Perhaps, as he lay dying in his bungalow in downtown Los Angeles, he had time to think back to the childhood he spent in County Carlow in another century and another world.
|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.
|Sir John Conroy (1786-1854) – Childhood Nemesis of Queen Victoria|
Queen Victoria was the illegitimate daughter of an Irishman. At least that was the sensational …
|William Francis de Vismes Kane (1840–1918) – A Gentleman Naturalist At Large|
The Monaghan-born naturalist and butterfly enthusiast who studied Ulster's ancient Black Pig's Dyke.
|Michael Fay (1899-1921)|
Michael Fay was killed in an ambush at Ballymurphy, County Carlow, in 1921. Born in Dublin, he grew up a virtual orphan before joining the British Army as a teenager in the First World War. He subsequently moved to Carlow where he worked as a gardener (possibly at Lisnavagh) and coachman / chauffeur (at Altamont). In 1920, he joined the Irish Republican Army who assigned him to the Carlow Brigade’s Active Service Unit. These notes were assembled when I was asked to deliver a speech at the launch of a memorial to him in Rathvilly on the centenary of his death.
|A Short History of Irish Gold|
There is gold in Irish hills, as evidenced by recent finds on the Armagh-Monaghan border 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.
|Cobh – Historical Tales|
A mercy mission from Boston, the bells that rang out for Laurel and Hardy, Sonia O'Sullivan and a remarkable Titanic survivor are among the cast on Turtle's panel in Cobh railway station, illustrated by Derry Dillon, translated by Jack O Driscoll.
|Arklow, County Wicklow – Historical Tales|
The stories of the Arklow munitions factory, a 1920s party animal, an Olympic Gold medal winner, a spy called Agent ZigZag, a lady mariner, and an old world cure for Charles Stewart Parnell's wounded hand. Extracted from Past Tracks. Irish translation included.
|Ronnie Delany – Gold Medal Hero of the 1956 Olympics|
‘One of my proudest moments was when my son said to me, later in my life, “Dad, I never knew that you were a famous sports person until I was about 10 years of age”. I thought that was beautiful. To him I was just Dad. I wasn’t Ronnie Delany the iconic athlete.’
|Kilkea Castle – Contents|
Foreword Introduction 1 – The Time Before the Normans Charting the emergence of the …
|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”.’
|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.
|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.
|Life is a Frying Pan|
We are all well and used to the daily bummer in life, from the instant our alarm clocks shrill our weary eye-lids open to the moment we collapse on our beds, too shattered by our escalating ambitions to indulge in the fun and frolics of our more praise-worthy forbears. Here's some relativity to muse upon, from a column I wrote in Hong Kong in 1997.
|‘The only place I can achieve peace is in the bath’ – Pieces of Me (2016)|
An Ikea world map, an Edwardian scrap book and an acrylic table containing 1,000 pool cue chalks were among Turtle’s favourite things when he was interviewed by The Irish Times on 26 November 2016.
|Joe Biden’s Irish Roots|
Joe Biden is arguably the most ‘Irish' president to have occupied the White House, which will liven things up when he attends a state dinner hosted by King Charles III at Hillsborough Castle outside Belfast on 18 April 2023. 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.
|A Brief History of Merrion Square|
It is over 260 years since the first houses were built on Merrion Square. It just goes to show what you can do with a few acres of undeveloped marshland if you put your mind to it.
|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.
|Obama: A Tale of Irish Wigmakers, Shoemakers & Oratorical Bishops|
Barack Obama descends from an Irish shoemaker who emigrated to Ohio in 1850 when the family wig-making business dissolved in Ireland. This story looks at his unlikely links to the Kearney dynasty, one of whom was Provost of Trinity College Dublin, as well as the de Montmorency family of Castle Morres, County Kilkenny.
|About Turtle Bunbury|
An overview of Turtle's professional career, including bundles of photos from the last two or three decades.
|Meeting Jasper Conran – The Waterford Crystal Years|
In 1999, Jasper Conran was approached by the Waterford Wedgwood Group to design a range of crystal. He re-invigorated the sector by creating a range of contemporary Stemware. His crystal collections went on to win the Prince’s Medal ‘Homes & Gardens Classic Design’ Award in 2003 and 2006. Turtle traveled to London to talk with him for ‘The White Book'. This article was published in February 2006.
|Chicken or Egg? The Glevum Superior|
As of 2023, there are a staggering 33 billion chickens clucking, making them far and away the most populous birdbrain on the planet. One reason why there are so many chickens is that their eggs work very well. Indeed, given the right conditions, nearly all fertilised chicken eggs will hatch after 21 days. The key tool for this seismic eggsplosion was the artificial incubator …
|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.
|George Moore: The Man Behind Alfred Nobbs|
The film ‘Albert Nobbs' is based on a story, first published in 1918, by the Irish author George Moore. In 1912, he abandoned Ireland in pursuit of unrequited love in London with one of the richest women in the world. An early critic of the dictatorial behaviour of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Moore was also one of the first writers to seriously address equal rights for women.
|Kilkea Castle – (2) De Ridelesford & the Original Castle (1169-1304)|
Following the Cambro-Norman conquest of Leinster in the late 12th century, the lands around Kilkea and Castledermot in County Kildare were granted to Walter de Ridelesford, a man with strong links to the Knights Templar. The original stone castle – once among the most formidable in Ireland – was built by Hugh de Lacy in about 1180. Within a hundred years, the manor had been divided between Walter’s female heiresses, Christiana De Marisco and Emmeline Longespée, which would bring the House of FitzGerald into the mix.
|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.
|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.
|Ballyhacket, County Carlow & the Ridelesford Connection|
Looking at the townlands connections to Sir Walter de Ridelesford (or Riddlesford), Lord of Bray, as well as the Knights Templar, the Fratres Cruciferi of Castledermot and the displacement of the Mac Gormáin or O’Gorman family, and the Bull Ring.
|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.
|Slats – Was the MGM Lion from Dublin?|
Slats the lion served as the mascot of the Goldwyn Studio (later Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, or MGM) in Hollywood from 1917 to 1928. Although his hey-day predates the talkies, his sleepy, growling visage also graced the logo that kick-started all MGM films made between 1924 and 1928. Also known as Cairbre, the Irish for ‘charioteer,’ it is widely stated that Slats was a Dubliner, born and bred in Dublin Zoo. Could this be so?
|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.
|The Burning of Marlfield and Palmerstown, 1923|
The burning of two Irish ‘big house' jewels during the Irish Civil War, including the 7th Earl of Mayo's detailed account.
|The Pirate Hull of Leamcon, West Cork|
Hull was a piratical cad from the early days when he was engaged in smuggling and piracy operations off the coast of Devon as early as 1604. So it was a case of poacher-turned-gamekeeper when, during the reign of James I of England, the English Admiralty appointed him Deputy Vice Admiral of Munster in 1609.
|The Ponsonbys of Kilcooley Abbey, County Tipperary|
A work-in-progress account of the Posonnby family and their connections to the Barker, Bridgeman, Turton, Plunkett, Holroyd-Smyth, Brabazon and Chetwynd-Staplyton families.
|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.
|Sotogrande, Spain: Paradise Reconstructed|
Take a small chunk of desolate Spanish sierra, add a sprinkler system and what do you get? By 2003, Sotogrande was unarguably the most exclusive, up-market golfing resort in Europe.
|Kilkea Castle (5) – The Geraldine Age, Part II (1537-1773) – Of Wizards, Fairies and Dukes|
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.
|The Massacre of Mullaghmast|
In a matter of minutes, the massacre is over. 40 men lie dead, including the chiefs of the Seven Septs of Leix – O'Moore, O'Lalor, O'Kelly, O'Doran, O'Dowling, McEvoy and Devoy – and the chiefs of the O'Dunne, O'Molloy, O'Connor and O'More clans. Only two men escape. In an instant, native opposition in the Irish Midlands has been totally annihilated…
|Conolly of Castletown House, Celbridge, Co. Kildare, Ireland|
Charting the rise of Speaker Conolly, an innkeeper’s son from Donegal who became the most powerful man of his generation. His magnificent Palladian residence at Castletown House, Celbridge, is one of the Irish nation’s greatest treasures. Also looking at connections to the disastrous 1798 Rebellion, the beautiful Lennox sisters, the Charlston Blockade and the Irish Georgian Society.
|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.
|Kilkea Castle 9 – The New Custodians (1961-2010)|
In 1961, the Marquess of Kildare – later the 8th Duke of Leinster – sold Kilkea Castle, his ancestral home in County Kildare, to the Land Commission. There then followed a succession of fascinating owners including an engineer who built most of Northern Ireland’s aeroplane runways, a veteran of the French resistance and the wife of Agent Zigzag, an extraordinary British double agent – as the castle evolved into a health farm and hotel. The castle hotel is now owned and run by Jay Cashman.
|Cuffe, Earls of Desart – Ghostly Women and Forgotten Heroes|
The story of the Cuffes of Desart Court in the Irish county of Kilkenny is as sprawling an epic as ever there was. Over nine generations, the family were deeply ensconced in the affairs of Ireland and the Anglo-Irish world. Their rise through the ranks of Great Britain’s social hierarchy makes for a fascinating mirror of the rise of Britain itself, from uncertain nation state to brash and broody empire, culminating in the burning of Desart Court on 22 February 1923.
|De la Poer (Power) of County Waterford|
Tracking the history of the de la Poer or Power dynasty, reputedly from Brittany, who became prominent in Ireland in the medieval period (despite some hefty criminals in the clan) and fetched up as Earls of Tyrone, a title that passed by marriage to the Beresford family of Curraghmore, now headed up by the Marquess of Waterford.
|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.
|Tankardstown, County Carlow|
Musings on the Carlow townland. Does anyone have any information on the Tankard family, sometimes Tancred, of County Carlow?
|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.
|The Bunbury Family – Contents Page|
With links to all the various branches of the Bunburys I have written about from Lisnavagh to Guyana, Suffolk to Liverpool, New Zealand to Cheshire.
|Saint Brigid of Kildare|
In Ireland, St Brigit became known as “Muire na nGael” (Mary of the Irish), as venerable as the Blessed Virgin, mother of Christ, and second only to St Patrick in the hierarchy of patron saints. However, her story is infinitely more complex, embracing the deities of pre-Christian Ireland and the political machinations of the medieval church, as well as a certain amount of revamping in recent times.
|Beere of Dublin|
The Beere family were one of Dublin's leading gold and silversmith dynasties during the Georgian Age. This story also touches on Thekla Beere, the volcanic island of St. Helena and other ancestors of the family who would go on to found the Abrakebabra chain in Ireland.
|Browne Clayton of Browne's Hill, County Carlow|
An account of the family who lived at Browne's Hill outside Carlow from 1763 through until the 1950s, including the Browne Clayton Column (modelled on Pompey’s Pillar in Egypt) in Wexford, and a more recent connection to the last days of the Cambodian dictator Pol Pot.
|Sulawesi Warty Pig: ‘My Favourite Painting.'|
This little piggy is part of a remarkable collection found in a limestone cave on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. It’s a Sulawesi pig, warts and all, painted with vivid red ochre and is quite possibly the earliest known artwork produced by human hand
|Tenerirfe – The Island of Lost Arms & Comedy Seals|
Tenerife ain't the sort of place you'd generally associate with snow. Nor would you particularly expect penguins to hang out there. But much is not as it seems on this, the largest of the seven Canary Islands, pitched out in the Atlantic Ocean, 275km off the coast of Africa. In the indigenous Guanche language, Tenerife means ‘snow-capped mountain' and sure enough there's a great big mountain at its centre …
|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. The resort was awarded a five-star rating by Forbes Travel Guide in 2023 and voted No. 1 resort in the world by readers of Condé Nast Traveler in 2022.
|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.
|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.
|Down with Swine Flu|
Madam, – As I sit here wrestling with an unidentified flu, I find myself compelled to raise an objection to the name of the pandemic presently sweeping the globe. Swine flu is an unpleasant name … a letter published in the Irish Times in 2009.
Full details about Ally can be found on her own website here. As well as …
|Medlicott of Dunmurry, County Kildare and Newport, County Mayo|
An invitation to manage the Ormonde estates in post-Restoration Ireland changed everything for the youngest sons of a prominent London barrister. In 1714, the younger brother George Medlicott acquired an estate at Dunmurry. Despite a series of complex changes in ownership, the house remained the family base until 1955. George’s descendants excelled as horse riders, both hunting in Kildare and in action with the British Army overseas.
|North Louth Burning 1816: The Wild Goose Lodge Inferno Retold by Brian Hopkins|
A savage murder in 1816 led to the execution of more people than were executed than in 1916, writes BRIAN HOPKINS. “Given the way witnesses were intimidated or bribed, it is not surprising to learn that more than half of the condemned were innocent.”
|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.
|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.
|Thomas Burgh (1670-1730) – Engineer Extraordinaire|
One of the greatest Irish military engineers of all time, who rose to become Surveyor General of Ireland, his legacies include Collins Barracks, the Old Library at Trinity College, the Linen Hall, the Kilmainham Infirmary and Dr. Steeven's Hospital, as well as his family home, Oldtown, near Naas, County Kildare.
|The Butlers of Ballyglasheen, County Tipperary|
A branch of the Anglo-Norman dynasty of Butler settled in County Tipperary during the 16th century and became one of the leading cattle farming families of Tipperary Town by the advent of the War of Independence.
|The Harringtons – From the Beara to Butte City, Montana|
An off-shoot of the Harrington family of the Beara Peninsula in West Cork who made their way from Milleens near Eyeries, via the copper mines of Montana and the silver mines of Colorado, to the verdant pastures of Tipperary where they turned to cattle farming.
|Delbridge of Cornwall, Arizona & Mexico|
John Delbridge lived an extraordinary life that took in the tin mines of Cornwall and the copper mines of Mexico and Arizona, among many other places. He was my wife Ally's great-grandfather.
|Silken Thomas FitzGerald's Rebellion, 1534-1536|
In 1534, Silken Thomas FitzGerald, 10th Earl of Kildare, flung down his Sword of State in front of the Council of State and renounced his allegiance to Henry VIII. This was the opening gambit of a rebellion in which FitzGerald attempted to capture Dublin Castle, only to be executed in London, along with five of his uncles, on what was possibly the blackest day in the long, epic history of the FitzGerald family.
|Kilkea Castle – (3) The Wogan Years (1305-1425)|
Arising from nowhere, Sir John Wogan became the most influential man in Plantagenet Ireland, for which King Edward II of England gifted him Kilkea Castle and its manor lands in County Kildare. The castle would also be of much interest to the FitzGerald family, now Earls of Kildare, not least with the Pale itself becoming one of the bloodiest battlegrounds on the island of Ireland.
|Mick Lavelle (1930-2013) – The Entertainer of Westport|
One of the best-loved faces in Westport, County Mayo, Mick was renowned for rolling up on a nearby seat in Matt Molloy’s and breaking into song. He reckoned he knows the words to over a thousand songs. For instance, he knew ten about Donegal, four about Kildare and one about Carlow. ‘Everyone is so busy now’, he said stoically. ‘Well, there will be plenty of time when we’re dead and gone’.
|Tom Frawley (1920-2014) – Publican – Lahinch, County Clare|
‘If priests were allowed to marry, they wouldn’t have had half the number of scandals.’ When Tom Frawley makes his point, he does not slam his fist on the bar. He says the words with quiet certainty. He has thought the matter through thoroughly and he knows he is correct. Besides which, the bar is his so why would he want to go and bang it.
|Paddy Fagan (1924-2014) – Forester & Farmer of Enfield, County Meath|
‘I’m just ticking over,’ says the eighty-two-year-old forester, while tippling several litres of petrol from a billy-can directly into a chainsaw without spilling a drop. ‘And once you keep ticking, you’re not too bad.’
|Spotlight on Belfast – City of Music & Joy|
Belfast City, Northern Ireland's progressive capital, developed as a great port and industrial centre during the 18th and 19th centuries. In 2021, Belfast was awarded prestigious UNESCO City of Music status, while the Array Collective, a Belfast-based group, won the Turner Prize and Kenneth Branagh's movie ‘Belfast' won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 2022.
|From Holy Jerusalem to Holy Tuam: The True Cross, The Cult of John the Baptist and King Turlough O’Connor|
In 1829, Fr Michael Waldron, the new parish priest of Cong, Co Mayo, discovered in his predecessor’s belongings the now world-famous Cross of Cong. The subsequent history of the cross, writes MICHAEL BRABAZON, is one of a growing fame, becoming something of a cultural icon housed in the National Museum of Ireland. But what of the piece of the True Cross for which the Cross of Cong was a purpose-made reliquary in 1123?
|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.
|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.
|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.
|Hugh Mills 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.
|A History of the O’Leary and Cavanaugh Families – From Kerry to Houston via Oil City|
This epic story homes in on the descendants of Pat O’Leary, who emigrated to North America from Ireland at the height of the Great Famine. Following his marriage to fellow Kerry emigrant Catherine Maloney, he worked on the railroads of New York and Toronto. The O’Leary’s and their seven children then journeyed south to Pennsylvania where the oil industry was underway. Pat's grandson George O'Leary became one of the most influential figures in Houston, Texas. Also told are the back stories of the Maloneys of Knockalougha, County Kerry, and the Cavanaughs of County Leitrim.
|“The Major” – Hugh Caruthers Massy (1914-1987)|
An account of my father's stepfather Major Hugh Caruthers Massy, from orphaned childhood to Prisoner of War, from Gaza to Kenya to Ballynatray, with musings upon his family background and his lovely sister Narcissa.
|The Irishman who built 10 Downing Street|
Described as a ‘perfidious rogue' and ‘a most ungrateful villain,' the man who build Downing Street was also a brilliant scholar, a Puritan preacher, a duplicitous spy, a diplomat, an economist and a dastardly politician.
|Bob Murphy (1909-2002) – The End of an Era|
A story about the first person interviewed for the Vanishing Ireland project, arguably the smartest dresser in Rathvilly, with a cameo from two eels. ‘We won’t get those people again,’ said his neighbour. ‘Bob was the end of an era.'
|The Irish Air Aces – Mick Mannock, Jimmy McCudden & George ‘McIrish’ McElroy|
The top three Allied air aces in World War One 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.
|Kevin McClory (1924-2006) – James Bond's Mentor|
The flamboyant Hollywood producer Kevin McClory (1924-2006) grew up in Dublin. He is credited with converting James Bond’s character into the dashing, charismatic star of 27 hit films. In 1983 he co-produced ‘Never Say Never Again’, in which Sean Connery reprised his role as Agent 007 for the first time in twelve years.
|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.
|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.
|Chaigneau of Corkagh & Youghal|
The story of a Calvinist Protestant (or Huguenot) dynasty from France who relocated to Ireland in the 17th century. Louis Chaigneau, a wealthy Dublin wine and property merchant, built Corkagh House in Dublin, as well as properties in Gowran, County Kilkenny. Also looking at connections to Wolfe Tone, the actress Peg Woffington and a well-connected army agent.
|Barton of Straffan House, County Kildare, and Grove, County Tipperary|
The remarkable tale of the family of ‘Wine Geese’ who, having arrived in Ireland in the last year of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, prospered in the wine trade despite the French Revolution. They owned the Châteaux Léoville Barton and Langoa vineyards from where some of the finest clarets in France are still produced to this day, and co-founded Barton and Guestier. With their profits, they purchased Grove House in County Tipperary, and Straffan House in County Kildare, better known as the K-Club.
A two-time Guinness World Record-holder – the oldest and the most prolific cow ever recorded – Bertha passed away just three months short of her 49th birthday, being more than twice the lifespan of your average cow. This legendary Droimeann cow from Sneem, Co. Kerry, has been immortalised by an award-winning Irish gin.
|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.
|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.
|Mackenzie of Druim, Inverness|
Looking at the lives of the Rev Hur Libertas MacKenzie, a Scots missionary who was in China from 1860-1899; his son Theodore, who was in charge of the Inverness District Asylum, and grandsons, including Admiral Hugh Stirling MacKenzie, commander of the Polaris submarine.
|Boyle, County Roscommon – Historical Tales|
The stories of the Hollywood beauty who starred in the Tarzan movies, the scullery maid who became a baroness, a Great War air ace, the woman who composed India’s national anthem, a regiment known as the Devil’s Own and the inspiration for Chris O’Dowd’s ‘Moone Boy.’ Extracted from Past Tracks, with Irish translations by Jack O'Driscoll.
|The Irish Dames of Ypres – Escape from the Western Front|
The dramatic story of the Irish Benedictine nuns of Ypres and their escape from Belgium and France at the height of World War One to Ireland where they went on to establish Kylemore Abbey.
|Gozo – Blessed Virgins and Grophibberous Beaches|
Turtle sizes up the second-largest of the Maltese islands, with its clearwater beaches, religious festivals and Neolithic ruins.
|The Glorious Madness – Tales of the Irish & the Great War – Introduction & Contents|
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
|Father Patrick Lavelle (1825-1861) – The Patriot Priest of Partry.|
The story of a courageous and fiery priest from County Mayo who sought to end landlordism, evictions and evangelical conversion of Catholic children in the 19th century and who was alleged to have stolen the famous Cross of Cong, one of Europe’s most valuable treasures. The cross was almost certainly commissioned in 1123 by Turlough Mór O'Connor, High King of Ireland.
|The Rathdonnell Papers (PRONI)|
This index – a work in progress – was originally compiled in 1996 by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. This list covers almost all of the Rathdonnell archive.
|Molana Abbey: From the Stone Age to Dissolution|
Molana Abbey is located on the Blackwater outside Youghal, County Waterford. Its history is astonishing – the birthplace of Canon Law, the burial place of Raymond Le Gros and the home of Thomas Harriot, one of the first Europeans to visit the Americas.
|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.
|Redmond Kane and the O'Cahan Family|
The story of the O’Cahans of Limavady, who became the Kane family, prominent bankers, homing in on the attorney Redmond Kane of Mantua, Swords, County Dublin, one of the wealthiest commoners in Ireland during the late 18th century. He was also for many years the Solicitor to the Irish Company entrusted with management of what is now County Derry Londonderry. In time, the substantial Kane estates would pass to his grandson Colonel Kane Bunbury.
|Ronaghan of Monaghan|
The Ronaghan family have been associated with County Monaghan for many long centuries, specifically with Oriel, an ancient kingdom that embraced Monaghan as well as parts of Tyrone, Armagh and Louth. In more recent times, they have been one of Monaghan's foremost pharmacists. These notes were compiled by Turtle, with multiple assistance from the late Lorcan Ronaghan, and include records of the Rose Estate (Muallaghmore).
|The Big Snow & Freeze-Up in West Wicklow, 1963, by Michael O'Brien|
“The heavens scowled, the huskies howled and an ice wind began to blow.” This is a guest-post by Michael O'Brien.
|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.
|The Versturme-Bunbury Family|
The Versturme-Bunbury family descend from the 1829 marriage between Anne Elizabeth Bunbury, a descendent of the Bunburys of Cranavonane, and Captain Louis Versturme of Berkshire. They include the North North and Bunbury North family, and a number of people who became influential in Kenya during the mid-20th century.
|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.
|Denny Galvin – Cattle Farmer of Stradbally|
From the ‘Vanishing Ireland' archives, an interview with Denis ‘Denny' Galvin, a cattle farmer born in 1945, about the challenges of keeping his County Kerry farm in order in the early 21st century.
|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.
|Jimmy Ryan (1928-2018) , The Hurley Maker – Crosscannon, Killenaule, County Tipperary|
‘To make the perfect hurley, you need an ash tree that is between 25 and 35 years old. If the tree is any younger than that, you won’t get enough hurleys out of it. And if the tree has gone beyond 35, then the skin becomes too rough and the timber is old and brittle.’
|Mick Gallagher (1932-2022), Farm Labourer – Collooney, County Sligo|
‘When he wasn’t thatching, my uncle was making crill baskets for the donkeys to carry the turf in from the bogs. It was all donkeys at that time. There were droves of them on the mountains.’ A much loved resident of Ox mountain, County Sligo, recalls a life of hunting rabbits, open-top tractors and working with the O'Hara family.
|Elephants at Dublin Zoo|
“Oh, I can well remember the elephants, Sara and Komali! A penny’s worth of cubed stale bread to feed them and rides on Sara down by the lake!”
|Kitty Kiernan – Michael Collins’ Fiancée|
A short account of the love that bloomed between Michael Collins and Kitty Kiernan, including an extract from the last letter she wrote to him before he was shot dead on 22 August 1922.
|Soo Piercey's Tannery, Zimbabwe – Awaiting the Inevitable|
An adventurous artist, whose life sounds very Wilbur Smith, Soo Piercey bought a Zimbabwean tannery for storing elephant hides and leopard skins. It became home to her collections – including the craft of over twenty African tribes, as well as her own extraordinary works, painted over the course of her extensive wanderings.
|Harrison Ford – The Hollywood Carpenter|
‘As a man, I've always felt Irish. As an actor, I've always felt Jewish.’ So declared Harrison Ford who, born in Chicago in 1942, was the grandson of John Fitzgerald Ford, an Irish Catholic émigré.
|Half-Time Oranges: Joe Rock (1927-2016)|
The Rock family from Dublin were awarded the Dermot Earley Family Award in the 2022 GAA Presidents Awards. The award honours the superb and long standing impact the Rock family have had on GAA life in the capital. Joe Rock was a Croke Park legend prior to his death at the age of 90 in 2016. A grand uncle of Dublin All-Star forward, Dean Rock, Joe worked at Croke Park since the age of six, looking after the dressing room and tunnel areas for the biggest games of the year. He told me of his highs and lows, including shadow-boxing with Al “Blue” Lewis and picking orange peels off the ground as a young fellow.
|Noel Robinson – Farmer of Coole, County Westmeath|
Born in 1939, Westmeath farmer Noel Robinson reflects on mixed marriages, emigration, rabbit-hunting, holy wells, and the challenges for farmers in the 21st century. From the Vanishing Ireland archives.
|Charles Byrne, the Irish Giant (1761-1783)|
It’s not often that a funeral director buys everyone a drink, but this undertaker had his reasons … The story of a giant from County Derry, a household name in 18th century London, the ongoing fate of his valuable corpse and the important role his DNA has played in identifying the “gigantism gene”.
|The McGarvey Brothers of Clones, County Monaghan|
The McGarvey brothers were once amongst the best-known faces in the border-town of Clones. Making their way down Fermanagh Street, ambling across the Diamond or talking with friends in the shadow of the ancient Round Tower, the brothers were almost certainly destined for a pub. The joys of celibacy meant they had little to trouble them other than raising the price of a pint.
|Dennis of Fortgranite, County Wicklow|
Kinsfolk of both Jonathan Swift and John Dryden, the Dennis family fortunes rose with a prudent marriage to a sole heiress, netting them extensive estates in Kerry, Cork and Dublin. Family members include the artist Kathleen Marescaux, the Indian tea magnate Maurice FitzGerald Sandes, radio pioneer Colonel Meade Dennis and General Meade Dennis, who served as principal artillery commander under Montgomery at El Alamein. Fortgranite, their family home, was sold in 2019.
|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.
|De Glanville of Sussex, Formby, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Burma (Myanmar)|
Kitty Ievers, my father’s great-aunt, married Bertram de Glanville, chairman of the Colombo Port Commission in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in the 1930s. The following insights into the de Glanville / Glanville family focuses on Bertram and his half-brother, Sir Oscar de Glanville, who had an fascinating, sometimes controversial and ultimately tragic career in Myanmar when it was a part of the British Empire known as Burma.
|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.
|Synge of Syngefield & Rathmore (Offaly) and Slevoir (Tipperary)|
It was always said that my great-grandmother Ethel Synge Ievers (who married the 3rd Baron Rathdonnell) was a cousin of the playwright John Millington Synge. This is true, albeit in a rather distant way …
|Rathdonnell Rental Account Books for Rathvilly, Celbridge, Swords etc 1929-1973|
Detailing tenants of family properties owned in Carlow (Rathvilly, Mountneill , Moanavoth, Lisnavagh, Ballybit), Kildare (Celbridge), Dublin (Swords) and Meath (Flemingstown), including the post office, Molloy's and the Harp Bar in Rathvilly. As transcribed by 5th Baron Rathdonnell on 2 November 2016.
|William McClintock (1697-1774) of Cappagh & the Pennsylvania Links|
A branch of the Donegal family who made their mark in Pennsylvania, including the McClintock Slave Riot of 1847, when John McClintock was accused of instigating a riot that resulted in the rescue of a number of fugitive slaves
|Alexander McClintock of Drumcar (1692-1775)|
The “fairy godfather” of his nephews and nieces, Alexander McClintock was a barrister of note in Dublin during the early Georgian Age, and Attorney at the Court of Common Pleas. He acquired Drumcar, County Louth, which later passed to his principal heir, Bumper Jack McClintock of Drumcar. Alexanders wife was Rebecca Sampson.
|John McClintock (1649-1707) of Trintaugh (Treantagh), County Donegal|
John was the oldest known son of Alexander McClintock and his wife Agnes (née Stinson / Maclean). The ancestor of the McClintocks of Drumcar, Lisnavagh, Seskinore and Red Hall, he was 21 years old when his father died. His wife Jenet was the daughter of John Lowry, a prosperous Scottish landowner who settled in County Tyrone. Also looking at links to Donegal townlands of Trentaghmucklaugh, Leck and Trensallagh.
|James McClintock of Trintaugh (1735-1786) & the Rathdonnell House Link|
The family fortune floundered when one extravagant individual kept 29 hunters and coach-horses in his stable, and always drove with four horses in his coach, but, on the positive side, the hymm-writer C F Alexander, Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery of Alamein and Field Marshal Lord Alexander of Tunis were all part-McClintock.
|Crawford of Orangefield (Belfast), The Lodge (Antrim) & Nenagh (Tipperary)|
Ethel McClintock Bunbury, my father’s grandmother, was a daughter of Robert Ievers and his wife, Catherine (Kate) Crawford. Kate was the eldest daughter of Andrew Howard Crawford whose family were prominent bankers and merchants in Belfast during the nineteenth century.
|Barry of Forfar (Scotland), Glenageary (Dublin) and Ceylon (Sri Lanka)|
Beatrice Crawford, aka Bee Barry, was an aunt of Ethel Synge Ievers, my great-grandmother, who married Tim McClintock Bunbury, later 3rd Baron Rathdonnell. This is a brief study of the Barry family with whom she married.
|Love Home Swap in Languedoc, 2002|
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 lovehomeswap.com
|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.
|Maisie Grannell (1925-2023) – The Seamstress of Enniscorthy, County Wexford|
Maisie has endured considerable hardship in her life but by dint of her amazing determination and sheer work ethic, she has survived with her sense of humour intact. Politician, be warned. Maisie has a catapult and a bag of road chippings set aside for door-to-door canvassers. And she knows how to use them.
|Berkeley Forest, County Wexford, Ireland – Playing the Dane|
In 1957, a charming Danish Count and his young Limerick-born wife took on a dark Georgian house near New Ross and added a whole lot of colour. The house is also home to the Costume & Toy Museum.
|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 …
|George IV’s Royal Visit to Ireland, 1821|
In 1821, when the new king commenced an 18-day visit to Ireland, the scandal-mongers of London homed in on the new leading light in His Majesty’s bedchamber – Elizabeth, Lady Conyngham, the chatelaine of Slane Castle, County Meath.
|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.
|Brabazon Disney – A Mostly Clerical Family|
Looking at the life of an Irish clerical family whose best known members include John Disney, sometime Mayor of Galway, and Catherine Disney (1800-1853), a love interest of mathematician and astronomer Sir William Rowan Hamilton.
|The Clonmel Show (1865-2015)|
The Clonmel Show has survived some of the darkest days in Irish history, through times of local agitation, national crisis, global conflict and Covid 19. This account was commissioned by the Clonmel Show Committee as part of the 150th anniversary celebrations in 2015.
|The Irish Roots of the Brontë Sisters|
Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and Agnes Grey are considered three of the greatest literary classics of all times. The three novels were published in 1847 by the brilliant Bronte sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne. This is the lesser known story of their father, an Irish clergyman from County Down, and the Heathcliff-like story of his ancestors, as well as a look at Charlotte Brontë's connections to Banagher, County Offaly.
|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.
|Rayne's Shoes – A Tipperary Tale|
Rayne’s were the world's most glamorous shoes in the 20th century, when Royalty and Hollywood wore them with gusto. Their story began with the Ryans of Cahir, County Tipperary.
|Madden of Bloxham Beauchamp (England) and Manor Waterhouse / Hilton Park (Ireland)|
Exploring the origins of the Madden family of County Monaghan and their connection to the Waterhouse of Manor Waterhouse (Fermanagh), the Butlers of Stotfold (Bedfordshire) and Belturbet (Cavan) and Black Tom Wentworth.
|The Abbey Rebels of 1916|
The Abbey Theatre in Dublin has long claimed to be the cradle of the Irish revolution. Belfast-based historian Fearghal McGarry explores this connection in his excellent book ‘The Abbey Rebels of 1916 – A Lost Revolution’ (Gill and Macmillan, 2016), which follows the lives of seven Abbey actors and staff who were involved in the Easter Rising.
|Thomas St. George MacCarthy (1862-1943) – The Rugby Star who Co-founded the GAA|
District Inspector MacCarthy was the most unlikely of all the people present when the Gaelic Athletic Association was founded in 1884. He was, after all, a member of the Royal Irish Constabulary, like his father before him. MacCarthy would have a controversial career in the police but he would also be airbrushed from history until 2009.
|Maxwell of Corduff (Lusk, Co. Dublin) & Finnebrogue (Co. Down)|
A very brief look at the Maxwells, as well as the Battersby and Waring families, in the context of a reputed link to Constance Markiewicz.
|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.
|Napier of Celbridge Park (Oakley Park), County Kildare|
In 1787, Oakley Park became the home of Colonel George Napier and his wife, the former Lady Sarah Bunbury (née Lennox).
|Swift of Kenagh (Longford), Streete and Lynn (Westmeath) and Swifte’s Heath (Kilkenny)|
This report from 2012 was my attempt to connect the Swifts of Kenagh and Streete to the family of Jonathan Swift, the celebrated Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I nearly succeeded but let's call it a work in progress …
|Rosie Hackett (1893-1976) – For Whom the Dublin Bridge is Named|
Perhaps the most remarkable women to serve in the Royal College of Surgeons during the Easter Rising, Rosie was a woman of such unbending resolve that Dublin City Council chose to name a city bridge in her honour in 2013.
|Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore (1829-1892) – No. 1 Bandmaster of the USA|
P. S. Gilmore was once the most famous entertainer in the USA. Born in Ireland, he spent 6 years studying music before emigrating to Boston aged 20. He excelled as a bandmaster, composer, conductor and showman. His band performed at the inauguration of six US presidents, as well as the ceremony to open the Statue of Liberty. He organised some of the biggest musical festivals in history and wrote the anti-war ballad, ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home’.
|Sri Lanka 2002 – Anyone for Tennis?|
It took my grandfather’s ocean liner a month to get to British Ceylon. He was going to see his sister who’d married a tea planter. The year was 1938 and his fellow passengers were prosperous Jewish refugees bound for Sydney and a new, safer life down under. As he disembarked in Colombo, his sister greeted him with solemn news from Kilkenny; mother is unwell. The siblings had just enough time to drink some tea and climb Adam’s Peak before the next liner set forth across the Indian Ocean and back down the Suez.
|Honest Tom Steele (1788-1848) – Landlord and Repealer|
The story of a graduate of Cambridge, a landed proprietor of Clare, an inventor of diving bells and a veteran of the Spanish Republican army who served as Daniel O'Connell's right-hand man for 24 years.
|Hermione, Duchess of Leinster (1864-1895)|
Hermione’s story forms the heart of an epic book by Terence Dooley, ‘The Decline and Fall of the Dukes of Leinster 1872-1948,’ which examines the lives of three dukes who succeeded in turn to the miscellaneous lands and titles of the FitzGerald family, including Carton House and Kilkea Castle. Sub-titled ‘Love, war, debt and madness’, the book was billed as Ireland’s ‘Downton Abbey’ when it published. It is certainly a gripping if tragic saga.
|Nova Scotia – Land of Lobsters|
Pondering some of the Irish links to Nova Scotia following a fabulous visit to the easternmost province of Canada.
|Wall (Du Valle) of County Carlow|
From the time of the Anglo-Normans through until the end of the seventeenth century, a large swathe of land running east of Carlow town in Ireland was held by the Wall family. Much of this property was subsequently subsumed into the estates of the Bunbury and Burton family. The area has been home to humanity since ancient times – Johnstown, one of the Bunbury’s principal houses, is only a mile or so from the Browne’s Hill dolmen and boasted its own bullaun stone.
|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 saloons for gold-miners 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 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.
|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 .