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The cover of her book Full Tilt Aoife Barry

Irish adventurer and travel writer Dervla Murphy dies aged 90

The Waterford writer wrote many books about her journeys abroad – often travelled by bicycle.

THE IRISH ADVENTURER and travel writer Dervla Murphy has died, aged 90.

Murphy was the acclaimed author of numerous books about her travels, including Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle, and Eight Feet in the Andes. For decades she had written about her journeys (usually by bike) across the world.

Born in County Waterford, she got her first bike at the age of 10 and became an avid cyclist. Her first book, Full Tilt, and the story of her epic journey by bike to India cemented her reputation as a brave and witty traveller, able to deal with almost any situation thrown at her. 

Her daughter Rachel accompanied her on some of her trips, captured in books like On A Shoestring to Coorg and Muddling Through in Madagascar. 

President Michael D Higgins paid tribute to Murphy today, saying:

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.
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.


The President said he 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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