With 22 townlands covering almost 10,000 acres, the parish of Rathvilly has a history that stretches back to earliest times. In this talk, Turtle provides an overview of this rich tapestry, documenting everything from dolmens and ringforts to the 1980s band In Tua Nua. From the contested theory of Rathvilly’s sacred tree, said to predate Christianity, he traces the events leading up to St Patrick’s supposed conversion of King Crimthan Mór in Rathvilly,and sheds some light on how the introduction of Christianity sowed the seeds for centuries of religious devotion and conflict.

The saga continues with the arrival of the Normans, incessant medieval conflict and Silken Thomas’s Rebellion, a potent symbol of Ireland’s tumultuous relationship with English rule. The Tudor conquest and the Cromwellian invasion represent pivotal points in Rathvilly’s story.

1798 brings us to the United Irishmen uprising, a defining moment of Irish rebellion against British rule. The arrival of the railway opened Rathvilly to new horizons, connecting it with the wider world and ushering in an era of modernity. The construction of the St Patrick’s Church will also be highlighted a symbol of the community's enduring faith and unity. Turtle will recount how Rathvilly echoed with the ensuing calls for independence, an echo that reverberates in the tales Michael Collins, Michael Fay and Kevin Barry, who shaped the nation’s fight for freedom.

Turtle will also take in the Tidy Town awards and the creation of the new Rathvilly Heritage Interest Group. This talk promises to be an enthralling journey through time, one that honours the past’s legacy.

Join Turtle as he delves into the depths of Rathvilly’s history, revealing how this parish encapsulates the heart of Ireland’s storied landscape.

Turtle Bunbury is an award-winning historian, author, and podcaster, known for his extensive work in documenting Ireland's history and its diaspora. Turtle, who grew up at Lisnavagh, near Rathvilly, made his breakthrough with the critically acclaimed ‘Vanishing Ireland’ book series. His other books include ‘The Glorious Madness: Tales of the Irish’, ‘The Great War’, ‘Easter Dawn – The 1916 Rising’ and ‘Ireland’s Forgotten Past’; revealing lesser-known chapters of history. He is also well known for his work as a podcaster, working with Waterways Ireland and Guinness, and TV shows such as ‘Nationwide’ and ‘Genealogy Roadshow’; Over 1,000 of his stories are available on his website: turtlebunbury.com

This talk will take place in Lawlors of Rathvilly on Wednesday 17 January @ 8pm. All are welcome and admission is free.

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