Turtle Bunbury

Writer and Historian

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General Applause.



Press Coverage.

General Applause.



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(Illustration by Derry Dillon)





The second History Festival of Ireland 2013 was curated by author and historian Turtle Bunbury and took place in and around the splendid ruins of Duckett’s Grove in County Carlow on 15th & 16th June 2013.

Fifty leading historians and thinkers from Ireland, the UK, Canada and the USA contributed to a dazzling array of over 30 debates, discussions, readings and interviews. Confronting subjects from a Bronze Age gold rush to the 1970s, the History Festival consistently teases, confounds, resolves and inspires. There were acclaimed stage shows on both the Great Hunger and Winston Churchill’s private encounters with Michael Collins, as well as musical recollections from the 1913 Lock-Out and the world of James Joyce, and a cinema showing a series of epic historical documentaries, and the revelation of the family history of special guest Nicky Byrne of Westlife.

One ticket gave visitors access to the entire gamut of talks, lectures, performances and debates for the whole day. Food and refreshments were also availbale throughout the day and parking was free. The event was curated by author and historian Turtle Bunbury with huge support from Hugo Jellett, James Grogan and the team at Eigse. Other partners included the Federation of Local History Societies, Timeline Research, Carlow Historical & Archaeological Society, RTE Radio One, Carlow County Council, Wistorical and The Gathering Ireland.

According to a report by the Gathering Ireland on 6th June 2013: ‘The History Festival of Ireland is bringing the past to life …The man behind the festival, historian and author Turtle Bunbury, says that he is “trying to bring history a little bit out from the classroom, and make it funkier and more fun”. So, he is gathering academics and more “media-friendly” speakers, and combining them with summertime weather (hopefully), music, theatre, cinema, food and drink for a weekend of learning and fun. The History Festival is all about taking a look into the past in a friendly, approachable fashion. Bunbury says that he hopes attendees “will feel a stronger connection to the past both personally and geographically.’


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“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.