Ireland’s Forgotten Past

Thames & Hudson are publishing the latest book by prolific Irish historian, Turtle Bunbury – Ireland’s Forgotten Past.

His account charts the history of humanity in Ireland over 11,000 years. The Roman geographer Ptolemy, for instance, located a tribe of Brigantes around Wexford almost 2000 years ago. They are thought to have been close kin of the people of Brigantia in present-day Yorkshire.

Turtle also gives a succinct overview of William and Isobel Marshal, the power couple who ruled the Lordship of Leinster 800 years ago, building the port at Clonmines, the Tower of Hook (now the oldest intact lighthouse in the world), New Ross (‘a lovely city on the banks of the Barrow’) and the Cistercian abbey at Tintern, as well as extending the castles at Ferns and Enniscorthy.

We also learn of the Irishman who created the uniform for Oliver Cromwell’s redcoat army before the brutal massacre at Wexford.

These stories are integrated with the accounts of some 36 tales from the annals of Irish history.

Why did the Romans never try to conquer Ireland? Why did the King of Spain give his name to an Irish county? And how did brandy change the course of Irish history?

There is barely a square foot of Ireland where something of historical importance has not happened at one time or another. This book looks into lesser known stories from the history of reland, reaching back to prehistoric times to make sense of the strange Stone Age monuments and ancient mines that dot the island, as well as more modern anomalies like the disused railway lines that run through the west of Ireland.

Turtle Bunbury explores unexpected corners of the past to offer an informative and entertaining glimpse into 36 lesser-known tales from Irish history, from the eruption of a massive volcano in County Armagh sixty million years ago to more recent events, including the side-effects of plantation and conquest, that have made Ireland the vibrant place it is today.

In his inimitable sparkly style, Bunbury explores the people and events from high to low that played major roles in Ireland’s fascinating past but have since been overlooked and is remembered. These alternative annals include tales of spymasters and scientists, battlefields and brothels, tailors and traitors.

Turtle Bunbury
He is a best-selling author, historian, public speaker and TV presenter based in Ireland. His books include the award-winning Vanishing Ireland series, Easter Dawn, The Irish Pub, The Glorious Madness – Tales of the Irish & the Great War (shortlisted for Best Irish-Published Book of the Year 2014) and 1847 – A Chronicle of Genius, Generosity & Savagery, which Oscar-nominated film director Lenny Abrahamson described as ‘vivid, surprising, hugely entertaining.’

As well as appearing on TV shows such as The Genealogy Roadshow on RTÉ television, BBC1’s Wogan’s Ireland and the 2018 US series of Who Do You Think You Are?, he has spoken at events such as the Chalke Valley History Festival, the Festival of Writing and Ideas and All Together Now in Ireland, the St Patrick’s Day Festival in Savannah, Georgia, and the 2016 IBAM Celebration in Chicago.

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