Devla Murphy – Ireland’s most famous travel writer

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‘Who is Dervla Murphy?’ | Official Trailer

Released in Ireland April 23rd 2016 Dervla Murphy is Ireland’s most prolific travel writer who for five decades has travelled the world mostly alone, and mostly by bicycle. A fiercely independent woman who turned her back on societal conventions at a time when few were as brave, she observed and recorded the world with wonder and curiosity, and an astute political sensibility. But who is Dervla Murphy? This special edition documentary explores the woman behind the words in an interview which shows her personal life to be as fascinating as her extensive journeys. The minutiae of life at home in Lismore and journeys abroad with her grandchildren provide an intimate backdrop to interviews with Dervla, her daughter Rachel, her publisher John Murray and fellow travel writers Michael Palin and Manchán Magan.

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‘Full Tilt’
Ireland to India with a bicycle

When Dervla Murphy was ten, she was given a bicycle and an atlas, and within days she was secretly planning a trip to India. At the age of thirty-one, in 1963, she finally set off and this book is based on the daily diary she kept while riding through Persia, Afghanistan and over the Himalayas to Pakistan and India. A lone woman on a bicycle (with a revolver in her trouser pocket) was an almost unknown occurrence and a focus of enormous interest wherever she went. Undaunted by snow in alarming quantities, and using her .25 pistol on starving wolves in Bulgaria and to scare lecherous Kurds in Persia, her resourcefulness and the blind eye she turned to personal danger and extreme discomfort were remarkable.


‘In Ethiopia with a mule’

Inspired by childhood stories of Prester John and the Queen of Sheba, in 1966 Dervla Murphy bought Jock, an amiable pack-mule in order to treck across the highlands of this awesome, but troubled land. She wandered south from the Red Sea shore to Sheba’s Aksum, and upto the icy roof of Africa, the Semien mountains. From there she descended to the ruined palaces of Gondar and skirted the northern shore of Lake Tana before crossing the drought-afflicted high ranges to Lalibela. Having exchanged the exhausted Jock (named after her publisher) for an un-cooperative donkey, Dervla completed her journey to Addis Ababa. Her real achievement, was not surviving three armed robberies or a thousand mile trail but rather the growing affection and understanding of another race.

Dervla Murphy: Traveller and Writer

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Isabelle Masters – A short documentary inspired by Dervla Murphy’s book, ‘Full Tilt’.

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