Turtle Bunbury

Writer and Historian

Random Quote
Random Date





General Applause.



Press Coverage.

General Applause.



image title

(Illustration by Derry Dillon)





'The Carlow History Fair was a highlight of my summer in Ireland. The varied and eclectic programs, the warm and enthusiastic crowds, the majestic and historic venue at Duckett's Grove – all combined for a festive and engaging weekend. I'm ready to circle my calendar for sure for 2014!' - Catherine Clinton, author of Mrs. Lincoln: A Life.

‘Three cheers for Carlow history fest with opinion, entertainment, controversy, and an excellent tea tent! Roll on next year’ – John Cooper, University of York.

‘It all seemed to work very well indeed. Great venue, great speakers, great crowd.’ – Myles Dungan, presenter of The History Show on RTE Radio 1.

‘Thank you for inviting me to the great jamboree. I really enjoyed it.’ - Ciaran Brady, Professor of Early Modern History and Historiography, Trinity College, Dublin.

‘Last weekend's festival was a huge success and immensely enjoyable. If the rain showers and cold breeze brought back memories of a pilgrimage to Lough Derg in 1961, it was a measure of the weekend's success that it was so enjoyable and so clearly appreciated by participants and attendees. I was honoured and delighted to be included in the programme. Every success to the 2014 festival.’ – James McGuire, Chairman of the Irish Manuscripts Commission.

‘Congratulations on a really terrific event very well organised and indeed an extraordinary and beautiful venue.’ – Pádraig Laffan, Chairman of the Foxrock Local History Club.

‘Great venue, great atmosphere, chatty audiences with loads of participation, superb and unobtrusive organisation. lovely history. Thanks all. Hoping you're thinking of 2014 already...‘ – Ida Milne, director of the Oral HIstory Network of Ireland.

‘Great day had! Heading into 4th year DCU history at 49 years of age! Had a great day thank you guys!’ - Siobhan O' Carroll.

‘Well done guys, great day!’ – Tom Halligan.

‘Many congratulations on a great festival. I bumped into a couple of friends who have nothing to do with the world of history and they were thoroughly enjoying themselves, and all the history people were clearly having a great time. Our panel worked very well. Lots of people said it had a really nice buzz about it - so congrats for that. It was certainly down to the enthusiasm of the three speakers.’ – Roisin Higgins.

‘Serious well done on the hist fest, I thought it was brilliant.’ - Faenia Moore.

‘Really enjoyed the Festival actually, it was interesting and the venue was great too.’ Frank Agnew, Big Mountain Productions.

‘Had a great day at History Festival of Ireland. Congratulations to @turtlebunbury for organizing such a successful event' - Dr. Charles Mount, archaeologist.

‘Thanks and well done, Turtle, to you and all your team. There was a really good atmosphere, and I enjoyed all the events I attended.’ - Dr Deirdre O'Byrne, Lecturer in English, Department of English and Drama, Loughborough University.

‘Great event and we all enjoyed it thoroughly, thanks again for the invitation, congratulations and well done.’ – Larry Breen, Federation of Local History Societies.

‘Well done, it seemed to go very well. There was a lovely atmosphere.’ - Nicola Morris, Timeline Research.

‘The whole experience was just overwhelmingly fantastic, I don't know what else to say. I really enjoyed mixing with plain-folk history enthusiasts at the festival and then chatting with literary luminaries’ – Glen Gendzel, San Jose State University, California.

‘I just wanted to drop you a line to let you know how much I enjoyed the event, which appeared a great success. I also enjoyed the opportunity to natter on about the American Civil War! Many congratulations on it, I will most certainly be penciling it in to attend next year, and if you find yourself in need of speakers don't hesitate to drop me a line!’ - Damian Shiels (www.irishamericancivilwar.com)

‘Just wanted to thank the organisers of and speakers at the History Festival 2013. My sister & I attended the Saturday sessions & really enjoyed every minute of it. It was very well organised, took place in a wonderful setting (hope it's there next year!) and everyone was hospitable and knowledgeable. Please pass on our thanks to all concerned & well done!’ - Rachel Neylin.

‘I greatly enjoyed the experience. I liked Ciaran Brady’s way of presenting history in an entertaining and lively way.’ – IrlandErlebnis.

‘Congrats on another successful festival. Best of luck for HFI #3!’ - Marc-Ivan O’Gorman.

‘Just a quick line to say how much my wife and I enjoyed the festival last weekend. We only managed to attend the Saturday afternoon phase but thoroughly enjoyed it, especially Myles’ lecture in the tent. It seems to have been very well attended and hopefully will continue to grow in future years. Congratulations to you and all your support for a great event in a great venue.’ - Peter O'Connor, Technical Director, OptiCal Sciences (Ireland) Ltd, Carlow.

‘We loved it all - it was a real honour to be honest and very informative, whilst also a real insight into what life must have been like for folk around those times.’- Nicky Byrne, former Westlife singer, who attended with his wife and family, including Bertie Ahern.

‘Well done last weekend; it was excellent’ – Mike Murphy, UCC cartographer & editor of the ‘Atlas of The Great Irish Famine’.

‘Turtle, just a note to say well done on last weekend's festival. I thought the whole weekend was excellent. I will certainly be back and I will be recommending to Notre Dame university that they send their students there for the weekend next year.’ – Conor McNamara, history lecturer in St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra.

‘Sorry to have missed you also, but was enjoying all the fascinating lectures before and after my own. I was hugely impressed with the festival and I hope that it was a success for you. Certainly all the comments I heard were highly positive. I also enjoyed meeting up with some Trinity colleagues I had not seen for some time while I was there.’ - Elaine Callinan, Lecturer, Carlow College.

‘A attended with my dear friends since university, Michael Laffan and James Maguire. We were all performing at the very enjoyable Irish History Festival in Carlow. They had been optimistic about the weather. I wasn't and I was right. Thanks to the festival's guiding spirit, Turtle Bunbury, for the photograph and a wonderful weekend.’ - Ruth Dudley-Edwards.

‘Congratulations on the weekend. An absolute triumph! Fantastic venue. The mix of topics & formats was perfect. Feedback all round was positive. A special word of thanks to all the volunteers on site who were invariably courteous & efficient.’ – Tommy Graham, History Ireland magazine.

‘Loved the festival and the fact that it got so cold at the end and everyone stayed there proved how good the talking was. Just wish I could have been in all 4 places at once I loved it all and learned a lot.’ – Katherine Doyle.

‘Thank you so much for a wonderful History Festival - lots have stopped to tell me how much they enjoyed it. Well done to you and your wife for putting so much work into it. Looking forward to next year!’ – Nuala Grogan, Chairperson at Éigse Carlow Arts Festival.

‘Definitely a hit with us’ – Shawn Day.

‘Despite the weather the festival was a great success.’ – Michael Laffan, past president of the Irish Historical Society.

‘Thank you all for a great day today!!’ - Bianka McDonagh.

‘Thanks Turtle Bunbury, really enjoyed. Ducketts Grove was a Fantastic venue, great variety of events and speakers. Mile buiochas.’ - Eibhlin O'Connor-Counihan.

‘Thanks for a great history festival.’ - Blaithin nic Giolla Rua.

‘Fantastic day at the festival! Thank you Turtle Bunbury!’ Lorna Davis.

‘Great day, very well organised.’ - Hilary Nic Iomhair.

‘Great Fathers day in Carlow at the History of Ireland festival where they provided me with my Family History’ – Nicky Byrne, formerly of Westlife, Tweet.

‘I enjoyed the occasion: a full house and good questions. All in striking contrast with the dozen or so who turned up to hear me in Warwick at the ungodly hour of 10 a.m. on Saturday. The sixties panel was also very lively which helped keep hypothermia at bay. The festival seems to have won plaudits all round, so congratulations and thanks for inviting me.’ - Ronan Fanning, Professor Emeritus of Modern History at University College Dublin.

‘Just emailing to say that I really enjoyed speaking at the Festival as well as being a member of the audience at some very interesting sessions yesterday. Duckett's Grove is a great venue (even in the rain!) and it was a great opportunity to speak about my book. I got some very interesting questions from the audience. Thanks for inviting me and I hope you get a chance to recover from it all in the days to come.’ – Cliona Rattigan, author of ‘What else could I do?’: Single Mothers and Infanticide’.

‘Just wanted to say thank you again for including me on the panel on 21st Century History. Really enjoyed it and thought it was a good debate. Great event overall with a lovely atmosphere, looking forward to next year already!’ - Neil Jackman, founder of Abarta Audioguides.

‘It was a really informative and fun weekend, and I thought the setting and the variety of venues were just excellent. It was also a very convivial atmosphere, I thought it was really cool that the presenters and the attendees interacted so much. It was such a breath of fresh air. I look forward to visiting next year. It was a great privilege to participate.’ – Meredith Meagher, History Dept., University of Notre Dame.

‘Congratulations on the event, it was well organised and appeared to be well attended also.’ - Aidan Lambert, National Graves Association.

‘Many, many thanks for the opportunity yesterday and it was for me and the Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore story a wonderful and marvelous success . The History Festival of Ireland is a wonderful event and a magnificent occasion for all who appreciate their past and will get bigger and stronger in the future.’ – Jarlath McNamara.

‘Excellent – very well run and interesting’ – Anne Holland, author.

‘A lot of work and organization - all of which I thought was exceptionally good. The cafe and shop were very good and the crafts facilities were of a very high standard. I hope it was a success overall. It was certainly a very interesting venue.’ – Marie Bourke, Keeper and Head of Education at the National Gallery of Ireland.

‘A very impressive festival’ - Thomas Ahern, Scoil Chonglais in Baltinglass.

‘Had one of best trips ever to Ireland, and due in no small part to taking part in the History Festival 2013. Loved the experience. The event was very well organized and had so much going, it was a smorgasbord. The Sound/Audiovisual tech team were excellent! If you ever need a speaker who won't shut up, I'm on the next flight! ’ – J. S. Dunn, author of the award-winning book ‘Bending The Boyne’.

‘It was a great festival. The atmosphere was lovely, the talks and discussion as good as any, the timetabling superb and the general interest and good humour of all involved made it such an enjoyable weekend that I can hardly wait for next year.’ – Vivien Hick.

‘Once again you made us all feel so welcome and I genuinely did enjoy myself. The festival is like nothing else I’ve ever encountered and the crowds who come are genuinely lovely people.’ - Manchán Magan.

‘The Festival is a fantastic venture, looking forward to next year already.’ – Kieran Doyle.

‘All the reports from my friends that visited the History Festival were positive. Well done on a successful event.’ – Trevor Clowry.

‘Really enjoyed it on Saturday -- great standard of debate and expertise - hope to see it return in 2014.’ – Dolores O’Shea.

‘Thanks a million Turtle and everyone else involved for the brilliant second annual History Festival of Ireland. I could only make the Saturday, but loved the 3 talks I attended and every other minute of it. And what a venue.’ – Arran Henderson.



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.