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The Irish

Tales of Emigration, Exile and Imperialism

Turtle Bunbury


Explore the lives of over forty men and women – great and otherwise – whose pioneering journeys beyond the Irish shore played a profound role in world history

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The Irish have always been a travelling people. Since 1800 an estimated 10 million people have left the Irish shores, and today more than 80 million people worldwide claim Irish descent. In the centuries after the fall of Rome, Irish missionaries carried the word of Christianity throughout Europe, while soldiers and mariners from across the land ventured overseas in all directions.

In his inimitable fashion, Turtle Bunbury explores the lives of those men and women, great and otherwise, whose journeys – whether driven by faith, a desire for riches and adventure, or purely for survival – have left their mark on the wider world.

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'This fascinating assortment of case histories, spread across 1,400 years and six continents, is an impressive feat of research. The short biographies themselves are lively yet judicious, packed with vivid detail'
BBC History

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 19.8 x 12.9 cm

Extent: 304 pp

Illustrations: 29

Publication date: 14 March 2024

ISBN: 9780500296646

Contents List

Introduction – Emerald Exodus

The Biographies
Columbanus & the Merovingian Kings • Virgilius of Salzburg • The Carolingian Irish • Brendan the Navigator & The Monks of Iceland • Helias of Cologne • Jacobo of Ireland & the Mongol Empire • Luke Wadding & The Vatican Elite • Don Guillén - The Original Zorro • Lord Bellomont's Piratical Venture • George Berkeley – The ‘Irish Plato’ & Bermuda College • Richard Brew - Slave Trader • The Abbé de Firmont • Hercules Mulligan - Washington's Spy • James Hoban - Architect of the White House • General Gough - Conqueror of the Punjab • Pat Watkins – Crusoe of the Galápagos • Chile's Irish Patriots • John Field – A Muscovy Nocturne • Frederick Young - Father of the Gurkhas • Dr James Barry - Caesarean Pioneer • The Texan Revolution • Sir George Gore - Buffalo Slayer • Margaret of New Orleans • Children of the Famine • Little Al Cashier • Thomas D'Arcy McGee - Father of The Canadian Confederation • The Railroad Men • Eliza Lynch - First Lady of Paraguay • John Philip Holland - Father of The Submarine • Nellie Cashman - The Angel of the Wild West • The Grace Brothers' Conquest of Peru • Annie Moore - The First Emigrant Through Ellis Island • Margaretta Eagar – The Last Tsar’s Governess • The Moore Brothers - Hollywood Stars • Louis Brennan - The Wizard of Oz • Violet Gibson – Killing Mussolini • Don Patricio O'Connell – Barça’s Saviour • Lord Haw-Haw - The Voice of Nazi Germany • Brendan Bracken - Churchill's Spin Doctor • Patrick Gallagher - Vietnam Hero • The Irish in the White House • Epilogue – Reflections on Irish Identity

About the Author

Turtle Bunbury is an author, historian, public speaker and TV presenter based in Ireland. His previous book, Ireland’s Forgotten Past, was described by Sebastian Barry, the Laureate for Irish Fiction, as ‘a delicious and stirring atlas of Irishness’. His other books include The Irish Pub and the award-winning Vanishing Ireland series.