Dervla MurphyDervla Murphy was born on 28 November 1931 of parents whose families were both settled in Dublin as far back as can be traced.  Her grandfather and most of his family were involved in the Irish Republican movement.  Her father was appointed Waterford County Librarian in 1930 after three years internment in Wormwood Scrubs prison and seven years at the Sorbonne.  Her mother was invalided by arthritis when Dervla was one year old.  She was educated at the Ursuline Convent in Waterford until she was fourteen, when, because of the wartime shortage of servants, she left to keep house for her father and to nurse her mother.  Dervla did this for sixteen years with occasional breaks bicycling on the Continent.  Her mother’s death left her free to go farther afield and in 1963 she cycled to India.  There she worked with Tibetan refugee children before returning home after a year to write her first two books. 

Full Tilt was published in 1965 and over twenty other travel books have followed. She still lives in County Waterford. Her daughter, Rachel, and three grand-daughters live in Italy and join Dervla on her travels when possible.

Dervla & Wurzel

Dervla at the Old Market

Dervla at the Old Market

Photographs by Paddy Barker, Irish Examiner, 2011