Turtle Bunbury

Writer and Historian

Random Quote
Random Date





General Applause.



Press Coverage.

General Applause.



image title

(Illustration by Derry Dillon)






The Bronze Age: Eire’s first Gold Rush 4, 000 years ago.
J.S. Dunne (chair & author of award-winning ‘Bending The Boyne’), Colm Moriarty (founder of irisharchaeology.ie) & Charles Mount (Bronze Age archaeologist) ponder a world of megaliths, carving and precious metals.

Elizabethan Ireland: Explorations and Interrogations.
Ciaran Brady (former head of History at TCD) goes head to head with John Cooper (Tudor historian at University of York & author of ‘The Queen’s Agent’ about spymaster Francis Walsingham).

Leinster at War: Ireland in the 17th Century.
Myles Dungan (chair & presenter of ‘The History Show’ on RTE Radio One), Micheál Ó Siochrú (Associate Professor of History at TCD), Eamon Darcy (author of ‘Pogroms, Politics and Print: The 1641 Depositions and contemporary print culture’) & Jane Ohlmeyer (Professor of Modern History at TCD) examine the implications of maps, massacres and a fallen aristocracy in the wake of Cromwell’s conquest.

The Great Famine: A Series of Unfortunate Events or Genocide?
A History Ireland Hedge School with Tommy Graham (chair & founding editor of History Ireland magazine), Conor McNamara (history lecturer in St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra), Robert Ballagh (artist & organizer of the Irish Famine Tribunal), Meredith Meagher (History Dept., University of Notre Dame) & Mike Murphy (UCC cartographer & editor of the ‘Atlas of The Great Irish Famine’).

Ireland & the American Civil War: Selective Memory Loss.
Ciaran O’Neill (chairman & Ussher Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century History at TCD), Catherine Clinton (chair in U.S. history at Queen’s University Belfast,& consultant for the Spielberg film, ‘Lincoln’), Úna Ní Bhroiméil (lecturer in American history at UL), Damian Shiels (conflict archaeologist and military historian), discusses the 1860s Civil War in which over 200,000 Irishmen fought.

Easter 1916: The American Connections.
Michael Laffan (chair & former head of the School of History and Archives at UCD), Ruth Dudley Edwards (historian, satirical crime novelist & journalist), Meredith Meagher (History Dept., University of Notre Dame) and Conor McNamara (Keough-Naughton Centre for Irish Studies at University of Notre Dame) consider the way in which the Easter Rising shaped Ireland’s relationship with the USA & Canada.

The 1960s. Did Ireland swing or snooze?
A History Ireland hedge school with Tommy Graham (chair & founding editor of History Ireland magazine), Carol Holohan (Postdoctoral Fellow at UCD focused on youth and poverty in the 1960s), Robert Ballagh (artist & former bass player with the showband, The Chessmen), Tom McGurk (Journalist, radio presenter and sportscaster) + Ronan Fanning (Professor Emeritus of Modern History at UCD).

Is the Irish State Failing to Protect our Heritage?
Manchán Magan (chair, writer and documentery-maker), James McGuire (chairman of Irish Manuscripts Commission), Marie Bourke (Keeper and Head of Education at the National Gallery of Ireland) & Brian Crowley (chair of the Irish Museums Association).

A Future for Our Past: History in the 21st Century
Roisin Higgins (chair & author of ‘Transforming 1916′), Donal Fallon (co-founder of the Come Here to Me blog), Tommy Graham (founder of History Ireland magazine) and Neil Jackman (founder of Abarta Audioguides) on the way in which our understanding of history is being honed by technology.


Fatal Path: British Government and Irish Revolution 1910-1922. Ronan Fanning (Professor Emeritus of Modern History at UCD)

Richard Crosbie – Pioneer of Balloon Flight in Ireland.
Bryan McMahon, author of ‘Ascend or Die’, reveals the extraordinary story of the first Irishman to take to the skies.

Carlow in the War of Independence.
Elaine Callinan, history lecturer at Carlow College.

The Duckett Family.
American genealogist and Eustace family historian Ronald Eustice adds some colour to the story of those who built Duckett’s Grove, focusing on the impact of DNA.

The Adventures of Patricia Horne.
Ida Milne tells the story of a young Irish lady doctor’s working adventures in Africa in the 1950s

The Slashing Parson of 1798 – The Life & Death of Robert Rochfort.
A talk by Shay Kinsella, diarist for the online history magazine, ‘Scoláire Staire’.

Myles O’Reilly & the American Civil War.
Myles Dungan (presenter of ‘The History Show’ on RTE Radio One) talks about ‘Myles O’Reilly’, aka Charles G. Halpine, an Irish journalist and author who came to prominence in New York during and after the US Civil War.

Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore.
A talk by Jarlath MacNamara, focusing on the Galway-born composer & bandmaster, the development of America as a Superpower in Entertainment and its importance to the Irish and Home Rule.

Tom Maguire – An Irish Impresario in 19th century San Francisco.
Prof. Glen Gendzel of San Jose State University, California.

Mary O’Toole.
Jimmy O'Toole on the Carlow woman who became the first woman judge in Washington D.C.- Carloviana IV.

John Tyndall.
Norm MacMillan on the eminent scientist - Carloviana IV.

Peter Fenelon Collier.
Pat O’Neill (President of the Carlow Archaeological & Historical Society, on the encyclopaedia founder - Carloviana IV.

Frank O’Meara.
Marc-Ivan O’Gorman, the Taylorfest director, on Carlow artist - Carloviana IV.

Effects of the 70s.
With Gerald Stembridge (author, director & screenwriter) and Paddy Cullivan

Strike & Lock Out, 1913.
Francis Devine (Hon. President of the Irish Labour History Society) gives an overview, while Ida Milne and Mary Muldowney (co-organizers of the Lockout Alternative Visions oral history project) discuss collecting the legacy of the lockout and the memories it stirred.

Single Mothers & Infanticide in Ireland: 1900-1950.
Cliona Rattigan, PhD, author of ‘What Else Could I Do?’

Handling the Media and the Message.
Pat O’Neill, President of the Carlow Archaeological & Historical Society.

Talking about History.
Padraig Laffan, Federation of Local History Societies.

Mrs Duckett, evangelical Protestantism, social history & the Bethany Home.
Niall Meehan, head of Journalism & Media at Griffith College, Dublin.

The Ancestry of Nicky Byrne.
Turtle Bunbury and Nicola Morris (director of Timeline Research) reveal the Byrne family history to Nicky Byrne of Westlife, live on stage.


Allegiance: Michael Collins v Winston Churchill.
A dramatized account of a meeting at the time of the treaty negotiations in London, written by Mary Kenny.

Court Room Drama: The Piggott Forgeries.
Myles Dungan (presenter of ‘The History Show’ on RTE Radio One)and Turtle Bunbury (curator of the History Festival) take on the roles of Richard Piggott and Charles Russell for a spoken reenactment of the inquiry into Charles Stewart Parnell’s alleged criminal activities.

The Great Hunger.
Peter Duffy presents a one-man show of Patrick Kavanagh’s masterpiece. Inspired by the Great Famine, this epic poem follows the life and struggles of the anti-hero and small farmer Patrick Maguire. A narrative poem, fully of lyrical beauty and mystical insight, it offers an unsentimental portrait of small farm life in 1930′s Monaghan.

Joyce, Parnell & the Hearing of the History.
Readings of James Joyce on Parnell & other matters historical and comical A costumed performance by Deirdre O’Byrne (English lecturer at Loughborough University) and Brian McCormack (Nottingham Irish Studies Group), with accompaniment by the fiddler Micheál Bolton.

John Joyce in Fine Voice.
A 45-minute show of songs by John Stanislaus Joyce, the father of James Joyce, performed by the pianist Tom Cullivan and the tenor Bryan Hoey.

Bloomsday: Awakening from the Nightmare of History.
Gerry Stembridge (author, director & screenwriter) and Paddy Cullivan.


Am an Ghátair (Troubled Times) – God’s Tear.
The extraordinary story of a bleeding statue in Templemore which brought about a temporary ceasefire between the British and the IRA in Tipperary during the summer of 1920. The documentray won an IFTA award in 2013. (44 mins)

In Anim An Mhic (In The Name of the Son)
This 2013 IFTA award winning film examines the story of Josephine Brown who made a deal with the IRA to spy on the British in Victoria Barrack in Cork on condition they kidnap her son from her in-laws in Wales. (44 mins)

A Terrible Beauty.
The docudrama from Tile Films centers on two linked events during the Irish Rebellion of 1916, the battles of Mount Street and North King Street culminating in the massacre of fifteen innocent young men and boys.

Mother Teresa, 123 Springhill Avenue.
The controversial story of Mother Teresa's time in West Belfast in the early 70s and how, according to locals, she was forced to leave Belfast by the Catholic Church. (39 mins)

The Rocky Road to Dublin
70 minute documentary by Peter Lennon and French cinematographer Raoul Coutard, examining the contemporary state of the Republic of Ireland. The film commenced with a 30 minute film on the making of the documentary.


Sign up to the History Festival Facebook group.


“I take refuge in the past. I find it a comfortable zone because it’s already happened. It can’t be changed. It simply is. Only these days we’ve managed to harness the past and convert it into showbiz. And I’m delighted. It means historical bores like me stand a chance of making some cash”.
Turtle Bunbury, The Dubliner.