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Dervla Murphy - The Island That Dared

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Dervla Murphy’s first book, Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle, was published in 1965. Over 20 other titles have followed. Dervla has won worldwide praise for her writing and has been described as a ‘travel legend’ and ‘the first lady of Irish cycling’.

Now in her 80s, she continues to travel around the world and remains passionate about politics, conservation, bicycling and beer. http://www.dervlamurphy.com/



Murphy was 74 when she started these three trips to Cuba. The first in 2005 with her daughter and three grandchildren the other two visits were on her own. She hiked, hitch hiked, travelled by train, and bus and crammed into over full cars and lorries as she made her way around the island. Staying with local people in Casa Particlulares (Cuban equivalents of B&B, just don’t expect many with ensuite facilities – outside loos were common in some of the remoter areas) as always she eschewed the tourist hotels and went native.


Filled with her consummate prose, this depiction of life in a changing Cuba is a fascinating insight into the history and the then current way of life for many Cubans.  This is a fascinating overview of a nation that has suffered at the hands of the Americans and their obsession to see all countries reduced to their ‘Capitalism Rampant’, their I’m alright Jack, f... you attitude to the rest of the world. Murphy is an opinionated writer but she is one of the most experienced travel writers in the world who also reads extensively on the history of the region/s she is visiting. 


Both entertaining and informative, Murphy is an excellent guide to this island where socialism was tried, tested and survived.

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