“For my tenth birthday my parents gave me a second-hand bicycle and Pappa sent me a second-hand atlas. Already I was an enthusiastic cyclist, though I had never before owned a bicycle, and soon after my birthday I resolved to cycle to India one day. I have never forgotten the exact spot, on a steep hill near Lismore, where this decision was made.
Half-way up I rather proudly looked at my legs, slowly pushing the pedals around, and the thought came “If I went on doing this for long enough I could get to India.”
Wheels Within Wheels: Autobiography, Dervla Murphy, 1979
Dervla Murphy, was born in Lismore Co Waterford in 1931. For her tenth birthday she received a secondhand bicycle and began planning her travels to India. In her 30s she cycled to India, Tibet, Nepal and Ethiopia, the beginning of a lifetime of travel and writing, resulting in over 20 books and journeys to Peru, Cuba, Israel, Gaza, Madagascar, South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Romania and Northern Ireland.
Dervla sadly passed away this year, on May 22 2022, in her home in Lismore.
Dervla’s father Fergus Murphy had been the first Waterford County Librarian; in recent years, she donated her beloved bike ‘Roz’ to the library at Lismore that her father had established.
“Roz” the bicycle is now on display in Lismore Library, as part of the Lismore Immrama Festival of Travel Writing taking place from June 16th – 19th. You are very welcome to visit us at Lismore Library to view “Roz” and find out more about Dervla Murphy’s life and work.
“I regard this sort of life, with just Roz and me and the sky and the earth as sheer bliss.”
Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle, Dervla Murphy, 1965
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