The second History Festival of Ireland is due to take place this weekend, the 15th & 16th June, in Duckett’s Grove, County Carlow.

Turtle Bunbury, best-selling author, historian, TV presenter is the brains behind the project. He is also the founder of Wistorical, an innovative concept launched in 2012 for promoting Irish history globally.

This year’s History Festival of Ireland will feature 50 leading historians and thinkers from Ireland, the UK and the USA and abroad in four venues within the grounds of Duckett’s Grove which, Turtle says, could not be a better setting.

“It was basically a Georgian house which was turned into this fantastic fairytale castle in the 1820’s, said Bunbury. “They stuck turrets and towers on it and made it gothic. It’s straight out of a Brothers Grimm movie.”

This weekend, the four venues at Duckett’s Grove will feature performances from actors and an interview with Nicky Byrne from Westlife, whose Byrne family history has been the subject of investigation for Turtle and his team the past few months.

Gerry Stembridge and Paddy Cullivan will provide a musical performance, while Mary Kenny has scripted the play ‘Allegiance: Michael Collins v Winston Churchill’, a piece which dramatises what turned out to be an allegedly boozy meeting between these two powerhouses of history at the time of the Treaty negotiations in London, reports The Irish Examiner.

Besides the entertainment factor, there will also be serious discussions and debates such as those on the future of teaching History, a debate on the Famine involving Tommy Graham of History Ireland magazine and a debate on Elizabethan espionage between between former head of History at Trinity College Dublin, Ciaran Brady, and author John Cooper. In all, there will be over 30 debates, discussions, readings and interviews.

In this time of The Gathering, the Irish abroad will also be discussed with particular examination of the Irish American relationship through such historical events as the American Civil War and the American reaction to such historical Irish landmarks as the Easter Rising.

The History Festival of Ireland is “100% to get more people interested in history,” says Turtle Bunbury. “And not just to broaden interest but also people’s understanding, because there’s so much spoon-fed baloney about it.”

You can follow the History Festival on Facebook, or access the website here.


The second History Festival of Ireland is due to take place this weekend, the 15th & 16th June, in Duckett’s Grove, County Carlow.Handout