Turtle Bunbury

Writer and Historian

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Photo from Vanishing Ireland by Turtle Bunbury and 
photographer James Fennell. The book was the
No. 1 selling Picture Book in Ireland over Christmas 2006
and retained the No. 3 position at Christmas 2007. A sequel
is in motion for 2009.



Turtle Bunbury is a best-selling author, travel writer, historian, speaker and scriptwriter based in Ireland.

'Delightful' says The Irish Times. 'A brilliant history of the Irish pub' declared Country Life. 'Fascinating' wrote the Independent-on-Sunday. 'A masterpiece of pub porn' concluded Victoria Mary Clarke. Turtle's new book 'The Irish Pub' - his third with photographer James Fennell - has certainly been gathering the plaudits since its publication in October. It has been selected as Bookseller's Choice for Christmas 2008 by Hughes and Hughes and short-listed in The Irish Times Christmas Gift Special. The sumptuous hardback sold over 4,000 copies in its first four weeks and has generated considerable coverage on BBC News, BBC World, The Today Show (BBC Radio 4) and Saturday Magazine (BBC Radio Ulster), as well as Ireland AM (TV3), The Tom Dunne Show (Newstalk 106) and local radio stations nationwide. The book has also been a major feature story in The Guardian, Country Life, The Independent (UK), The Irish Times, The Irish Examiner, Sunday Independent, The Irish Mirror, The Daily Mail, Sunday World, The Dubliner and the Oct/Nov 08 issue of Cara. A review in the Irish Echo is imminent. Published by Thames & Hudson, the book offers a colourful tour of 39 classic pubs from across all 32 counties of Ireland. The book is selling in shops for around €30. However, it is available at a 10% discount price from Dubray Books for those in the know. Simply visit www.dubraybooks.ie/offer and enter the promotional code: irishpub

Turtle and James's previous book, 'Vanishing Ireland', was shortlisted for the Eason's Irish Published Book of the Year Award 2007. A second volume of their ‘Vanishing Ireland’ series is now in motion and will be published by Hachette in the autumn of 2009. Their 2006 book, 'Living in Sri Lanka', published by Thames & Hudson, helped earn Turtle the Travel Extra Longhaul Journalist of the Year Award.

Turtle is presently completing his sixth book, 'Dublin Docklands - An Urban Voyage', an illustrated history for the Dublin Docklands Development Authority. The book will be published in early 2009.

Turtle is a frequent contributor to the weekly ‘Curiosities’ column in The Irish Times Magazine. He is Homes Editor of The White Book. He frequently reviews hotels and restaurants throughout the world for international magazines and for the Alastair Sawday's 'Special Places to Stay' series.

Turtle lives in County Carlow with his wife Ally and daughter Jemima. He shares an office at Lisnavagh House with the writer Tom Sykes.


The eagerly awaited documentary 'John Henry Foley - Sculptor of the Empire' aired on TG4 at 9:30pm on Wednesday 26 November 2008. Launched in the National Museum of Ireland on 19th November, the film was short-listed for the Best Documentary BIFF Award at the 2008 Magners Irish Film Festival in Boston. Examining the life and works of the controversial Victorian sculptor, the documentary premiered at the 20th Galway Film Fleadh and will be screened on TG4 in the autumn of 2008. Directed by Se Merry Doyle of Loopline Films, Turtle was closely involved as both historical researcher and co-scriptwriter. Foley's best known works include the Albert Memorial in London, Sir James Outram in Calcutta and various statues commemorating Daniel O'Connell, Lord Gough, Henry Grattan, Edmund Burke and Oliver Goldsmith in Dublin. See 'Foley's Asia' for more. Turtle featured in TG4's 2007 series about the Presidents of the Irish Republic, weighing in with some family background on the enchanting Erskine Childers.


Aer Lingus passengers are presently reading up on the state of the Irish pub in Cara magazine. The story of a converted coach house in Bray makes one of the main features in Volume 9 ofThe White Book. Recent Irish Times 'Curioisties' have concerned the glory days of Ballroom Floor Gloss, scary children’s book 'Struwwelpeter', the bizarre Foxes Earth in County Kildare, Bindon Stoney’s Diving Bell and the passage grave on Baltinglass Hill. Anyone with further suggestions is encouraged to contact Turtle. Candida Taylor's Sotogrande hideaway was one of the lead features in the July 2008 issue of Homes & Gardens. An interview with Turtle entitled 'How I Got Here' appeared in the Irish Independent on April 24th. An article on three Irish villages at a Crossroads (Borris, Co. Carlow, Clogh, Co. Kilkenny and Grangecon, Co. Wicklow) featured in The Irish Times Magazine on April 5th. Meanwhile,Turtle's verdict on Ireland's oldest pub is Visitor. Other articles by Turtle on the shelf at present include a look at Huntington Castle in County Carlow for Wealth, a review of Temple House in County Sligo for Objekt and a review of a County Louth sea lodge in 25 Beautiful Homes. An extract from 'Vanishing Ireland' formed a major feature in both Country Life and the Irish Independent before Christmas.


‘Vanishing Ireland’ was one of the best-selling books of 2007. The first volume featured photographic portrait interviews with sixty characters of senior vintage from all across Ireland. The book was short-listed for the Eason’s Irish Published Book of the Year and was the No. 1 selling Picture Book in Ireland for Christmas 2006. The book, which has now sold 25,000 copies in Ireland alone, was declared 'a triumph' by the Daily Mirror. 'Vanishing Ireland' is available from Amazon and all good bookshops nationwide. Work has now begin on 'Vanishing Ireland - Volume 2', due to be published in 2009.


Turtle's book, 'Living in Sri Lanka' (Thames & Hudson, 2006), again with James Fennell, was widely acclaimed for its positive portrayal of post-tsunami Sri Lanka. The Financial Times declared it 'a sumptuous portrait of an unforgettable architectural landscape', devoting an entire page in pink to the book. The Australian applauded 'page after glorious page of airy villas with colonnades'. The Essential KBB declared it Book of the Month. In Style nominated it The Hot Read. Elle Decoration proclaimed it a Hot Summer Read. Over 8000 copies of the book have sold since.


Turtle's other recently published books include The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of Co. Wicklow (IFN, 2005) and The Landed Gentry & Aristocracy of Co. Kildare (IFN, 2004). James Fennell's latest book on 'Irish Furniture' was launched by the Irish Georgian Society in May 2007.

FLAT LAKE - 23 & 24 AUGUST 2008

The brainchild of BAFTA-nominated director Kevin Allen and two-time Booker Prize nominee Pat McCabe, the Flat Lake Literary & Arts Festival 2008 took place at Hilton Park, Clones, Co. Monaghan, on Saturday August 23rd and Sunday August 24th. Seamus Heaney, Canadian Poet Laureate George McWhirter and Paul Brady led the field, while others on the bill included Barry McGuigan and his band, Jinx Lennon, Rowan Somerville, Edna O'Brien, Dylan Moran, Paul Muldoon, Ciaran Carson, Medbh McGuckan, Bernard Louchlin, Little John Nee, Adrian Dunbar, Dermot Healey, John Maher, Sean O’Reilly, Eoin Mcnamee and Ailbhe Slevin. Pat McCabe’s ‘Radio Butty’ broadcast live from a biscuit tin receiver throughout. The X -Tractor Talent Contest witnessed all manner of singing ‘n dancing to general buffoonery and old style recitals. (The ‘Flat Lake Interviews’ of 2007 saw literary heavyweights Colm Toibin and Eugene McCabe one day; film maverick Neil Jordan took the hot-seat alongside Stephen Rea the next. The nail biting Damien Hirst Auction thrilled spectators as bidding figures spiraled out of control).


Turtle's articles have been published in Vogue Living, The Financial Times, The New York Post, Country Life, The Guardian, The Irish Times, Irish Examiner, South China Morning Post, Scotsman, Sunday Express, The Australian, The Independent, House & Garden, International Homes Magazine, Homes Worldwide, Sunday Independent, International Homes Magazine, Hong Kong Standard, Objekt, Serendib, Magill, The Dubliner, Cara, Identity, Wealth, Irish Tatler, Social & Personal, Prudence, Visitor, iMode and Abroad.


Main Site Sub-sections

Old Globe History
- Irish History, Write around Ireland, House Histories, Family Histories and Heros & Villains

Dutch House, Sri Lanka Published Works
- Books, Interiors, Travel, Features, Columns & Book Reviews.

Woodstock Tree Family History
- The history of the McClintocks, Bunburys, Drews, Colleys and other families..

Flying Turtle Interviews
- Meetings with Remarkable People..