Historian and author Turtle Bunbury, who also co-presents The Genealogy Roadshow, has launched a new project called Wistorical.
It's an initiative that aims to raise awareness of local history and of the characters that lived around and about. Interviewed on RTE Radio 1's John Murray Show on Monday, Turtle explained that he wants Wistorical to help bring local history to life and increase people's engagement with the wealth of stories around them.
He says he want people who are driving through Banagher in co Offaly to think of Charlotte Bronte, who spent her honeymoon in the town; when they are in Edwardstown, co Longford, he wants them to think of local man Henry Edgeworth, who gave King Louis XVI the last rites before he stepped up to the guillotine; and when they're in Hacketstown, co Carlow, he wants them to think of one William Presley who was beaten up by ruffians in 1775, prompting him to leave for America; his descendent was none other than Elvis Presley. He wants these and many more historical events involving or connecting historical figures to Ireland to become better known.
The project is still in its early days. It has its own facebook page, where Turtle is posting one or two stories every day, along with an illustration or portrait. You'll find the Elvis story there, along with a growing number of other fascinating snippets. It's proving popular. In less than two weeks, it has a following of more than 1,000.
Eventually, Turtle plans to create a dedicated website for the stories, and to map out the connections to the relevant places.