KNOX D’ARCY (1849 – 1917) The First Great Oil Tycoon See Turtle’s article on Knox D’Arcy, published in the Irish Daily Mail. Knox D’Arcy (1849-1911) was one of Australia’s greatest entrepreneurs. The only son of an Irish-born solicitor, he is regarded as the founding father of the oil and petrochemical industry in Iran. His company, […]
Search Turtle’s History Quarter
This considerable archive is updated and expanded on a daily basis. If the story you seek is incomplete or not in the archive, please email us and we shall investigate.
Kick Kennedy, the Marquess & the Earl
On 13 May 1948, a plane crash in southern France ended the life of both Kick Kennedy, oldest sister of Jack and Bobby, and her lover, Peter, Earl Fitzwilliam. This story recounts the series of events that led up to the tragedy, including Kick’s marriage to the Duke of Devonshire’s heir, as well as the remarkable Irish connections to each of the protagonists.
Holroyd-Smyth of Ballynatray
The Holrod-Smyth family were descendants of the Smyths of Ballynatray. Lady Harriette Holroyd-Smyth was a daughter of Charlotte, Countess of Mount Cashell, whose father was the last of the Smyths to own the property. Lady Harriette & Patrick Fleming Born in October 1849, Lady Hariette’s earliest memories were of an Ireland recovering from the cruelty […]
Kennedy of Johnstow and Bishopscourt, County Kildare
One of the most celebrated families of the Kildare hunting scene during the middle decades of the 20th century, the Kennedys were direct descendants of Sir John Kennedy, the Father of the Kildare Hunt. Indeed, for much of the 20th century, the area around Straffan was known as ‘Kennedy country’.
Finn of Drummond, St Mullins, County Carlow
The story of the Finn family who have lived in the townland o f Drummin, near St. Mullins, Co. Carlow, since at least the 18th century. William Finn served with the United Irishmen in 1798, while his son John, a farmer, assisted the Poor Law Commissioners in the 1830s. John’s son Pat was a forester who worked with Arthur McMurrough Kavanagh of Borris House, as well as a master of the divining rod. This history also encompasses local families such as Murphy, Keefe, Ryan Doyle, Rorke, Walsh, O’Neill, Phelan, Gladney and Corcoran.
Interview with Turtle Bunbury, March 2020 – The Irish-American Post
Conducted by Martin Russell of the Irish-American Post, this appeared in March 2020, coinciding with the launch of ‘Ireland’s Forgotten Past’ and the arrival of a certain irksome virus …
Bill Harrington, 11th Earl of Harrington (1922-2009)
This story followed my meeting with Bill in 2005 in which he told me he had personally arrested Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz, Hitler’s successor as President of the German Reich. Sadly the facts don’t add up but Bill, who was one of my grandfather’s greatest friends, nonetheless lived an incredible life.
An Interview with Bill Harrington, 2005
William Henry Leicester Stanhope, 11th Earl of Harrington (1922-2009) was second-in-command to my grandfather, Major the Lord Rathdonnell, aka Bill Rathdonnell, during the Second World War. They served with the 15 / 19 Hussars in northern Europe in the wake of the Battle of the Bulge. In October 2005, I took a train to Limerick and interviewed him about his wartime experience.
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.
Reviews of ‘1847 – A Chronicle of Genius, Generosity & Savagery’ by Turtle Bunbury
“1847” is, for me, the best thing Turtle has done so far. It is vivid, surprising, hugely entertaining; an unforgettable encounter with an extraordinary year.’ Oscar-nominated director Lenny Abrahamson and others weigh in on Turtle’s 2016 book ….
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.
Where I Work – Turtle in the Sunday Times, July 2021
A self-confessed hoarder, Turtle keeps an eclectic collection of curios in his Co Carlow garden studio. He spoke with Rose Costello for an interview published in the Sunday Times in 2021.
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.
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.
Barton & Childers of Glendalough, Co. Wicklow
BARTON & CHILDERS OF GLENDALOUGH, CO. WICKLOW FROM ‘THE LANDED GENTRY & ARISTOCRACY OF CO. WICKLOW’ BY TURTLE BUNBURY & ART KAVANAGH (IRISH FAMILY NAMES, 2005). “Fide et Fortitude” (By fidelity and fortitude) The destiny of the Barton and Childers families became entwined in the 19th century when tragedy brought the children of the two […]
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
Feudal Blues – In Praise of Betty Scott
Since I was a tot, I’ve loved a lass called Betty Scott. She always sends me a Valentine’s Card, confirming our mutual love. Betty is 76 years old. Never married. Lives alone in a small granite cottage about a quarter-mile east of the old Front Gates. Her sole companion is a young Jack Russell called […]
Last Word by Tom Sykes (Irish Examiner, December 2007)
LAST WORD BY TOM SYKES (IRISH EXAMINER, DECEMBER 2007) The home office is possibly civilisation’s finest invention. Especially when it’s in someone else’s home. My home office, for example is located in a chilly garret at the very top of my wife’s childhood home (we actually live among precarious piles of tottering baby clobber in […]
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.
UNIDENTIFIED BUNBURYS There are inumerable Bunbury references at the brilliant Registry of Deeds Index Project Ireland via http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~registryofdeeds/by_name/name065.htm and http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~registryofdeeds/by_name/name066.htm …. there seems to be enough there to keep me distracted for a fortnight so, with deadlines a-plenty in my life, I am going to pretend I didn’t see it for now! NB: Be sure […]
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.
Spot-On Interview – An Irish Executives Interview by Pascal Derrien (May 2013)
IEN: Who are you and where you based ? TB: My name is Turtle Bunbury. I’m an author & historian based in County Carlow, Ireland. My books include the award-winning ‘Vanishing Ireland’ series and, as a freelance writer, I’ve written for The Australian, The Irish Times, The World of Interiors, National Geographic, Vogue Living, The Financial Times […]
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.
The Gathering Ireland, 2013
LIVE IN THE PAST DURING THE HISTORY FESTIVAL Posted by The Gathering Ireland on 6 June 2013 For some of us, the word ‘history’ conjures up memories of school exams and seemingly never-ending memorisation of facts and dates. But one festival – yes, festival – is hoping to change all that. The History Festival of […]
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.
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.
Vigors of Old Leighlin, Erindale & Holloden
The Vigors hailed from Devon, England, and came to Ireland in the early 17th century when one of them became chaplain to the influential Boyle family. During the reign of Charles II, they were granted estates in County Carlow, where branches were established at Old Leighlin, Holloden and Burgage. Family members include a zoologist, an antiquarian and the writer Wilfred Thesiger.
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.
Rev. Alick McClintock (1775-1836) & the Tithe War
Alick – or Alexander – McClintock was the second son of ‘Bumper Jack’ M’Clintock, of Drumcar, M.P., and his wife Patience (née Foster). In 1831, while serving as Rector of Newtownbarry (now Bunclody) in County Wexford, he became deeply embroiled in the Tithe Wars when 12 people were killed during what became known as the Battle of the Pound.
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.
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.
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.
The McClintocks of Rathvinden, Co. Carlow
THE MCCLINTOCKS OF RATHVINDEN, CO. CARLOW COLONEL GEORGE MCCLINTOCK (1822-1873) OF FELLOW’S HALL ‘At Drumcar. Co. Louth, Lady Elizabeth M’Clintock (sister of the Earl of Clancarty), a son.’ So ran the first record of George Augustus Jocelyn McClintock, published in the Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette on Thursday 16 May 1822. The McClintocks of Rathvinden […]
The Musgrave Migration from Leitrim to Cork
THE MUSGRAVE MIGRATION FROM LEITRIM TO CORK A Report by Turtle Bunbury (2012) It was my ambition with this study to trace the Musgrave family of Derrinasoo (and by extension of Cork) back to the 18th century. The earliest forebear I’ve found is William Musgrave (1817-1876). Alas, concrete evidence still eludes me although there are […]
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 Journal of Rev. Hugh Usher Tighe & his wife Nanny McClintock (October 1827 – April 1831)
The diary of a future Dean of Derry, Dean of the Chapel Royal, Dublin Castle, and Rector of Clonmore, Co. Louth, (and husband to Nanny McClintock), gallantly transcribed by Audrey Arthure in 2021.
The San Patricios and the Mexican War of 1847
In the winter of 2001, I chanced to stay with friends of friends in the affluent suburb of San Ángel outside Mexico City. It was my first time in Mexico and, at my hosts suggestion, I went for a walk around the neighbourhood. My attention was drawn to a marble monument, emblazoned with a Celtic […]
La Touche of Marlay, Bellevue & Harristown
Arguably Ireland’s most prominent Huguenot family in the Georgian Age, the La Touche family descend from David La Touche, a refugee from the Loire Valley who served at the Battle of the Boyne and went on to found the bank of La Touche & Sons. His descendants were to be instrumental in the evolution of Ireland’s banking institutions over the 18th century, and spearheaded educational reform in the 19th. The Harristown branch included John “The Master” La Touche, a fanatical evangelist, and his daughter, Rose, whose tragic romance with artist John Ruskin resulted in her untimely death at the age of 25.
Sam Maguire & Liam MacCarthy – For Whom the Cups are Named
MacCarthy and Maguire are household names on account of the All-Ireland cups for hurling and football which are named in their honour. But few know just how intricately both men were linked with the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the assassination of Sir Henry Wilson in London and the meteoric rise of Michael Collins.
‘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 Sinking of RMS Lusitania, 1915
Raimund Weisbach followed the trajectory of the torpedo through his periscope from the U-boat where he was based. It shot off like a dolphin in a perfect straight line towards its target. And then the 19-year-old German watch officer watched as the gyroscopic torpedo struck home, sending a huge column of water and debris high above […]
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.
Humewood Castle, County Wicklow
Humewood Castle is without doubt one of the most eccentric buildings in Ireland. Built in 1868 for Fitzwilliam Dick, it later passed to his granddaughter, Mimi, who married General Maxim Weygand, commander-of-chief of the Allied forces in Europe on the eve of the German invasion of France. The castle is now owned by the American business executive and philanthropist John Malone whose extensive refurbishment earned Humewood the best conservation/restoration scheme award from the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland in 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.