Tributes to trailblazing travel writer, Dervla Murphy, 90

Dervla Murphy died today. She took her first cycling holiday abroad when she was 20, travelling through Wales and the south of England. The following year she embarked on a five-week continental tour
Tributes to trailblazing travel writer, Dervla Murphy, 90

Travel writer Dervla Murphy at her home in Lismore. Picture: Dan Linehan

President Michael D Higgins has led the tributes to travel writer Dervla Murphy who has died today. 

West Waterford-based travel writer, Dervla Murphy, travelled across land to countries including India, Nepal, Tibet, the Himalayas, Cuba, Siberia, the Russian Far East, the Balkans, Transylvania, Laos, Rwanda, South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Peru, Gaza, and Israel, among others.

She documented her journery on her bike across Europe and the East in her 1965 book Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle .

President Higgins has said: “People throughout Ireland, in her community of Lismore and far beyond to the many places in which she travelled, and they were many, will have been saddened to hear of the death of Dervla Murphy.

While known as Ireland’s most famous travel writer, such a description barely captures the fullness and deep understanding captured in her work. Her contribution to writing, and to travel writing in particular, had a unique commitment to the value of human experience in all its diversity."

He saluted her 'vital social conscience': "From her 1965 book Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle — which documented her remarkable journey on her bike through Europe, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India — to her many works detailing her experiences in locations as varied as Northern Ireland, England, the United States, Russia, Cuba, the Himalayas, the Middle East and across Africa, always an ethical visitor she brought a vital social conscience and respect for those she wrote about.

She retained a strong interest in those who were suffering throughout the world even up to recent weeks and brought an insightful perspective to matters of politics, environmentalism and the crucial importance of peace.

I would like to send my deepest condolence to her daughter Rachel, with whom she shared so many of her adventures, her grandchildren, and to all her family and friends.”

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